Let’s Play Catch-Up

In News & Updates by Daniel M. ClarkLeave a Comment

Last June, I wrote here about writing and a decision to focus on writing. It was all very lofty and well-intentioned. I was full of vim and vigor and rarin’ to go. Let’s do this!

Last July, I published a story called Dragonwatch. It’s a little flash fiction or vignette that I thought was fun to write. Mostly, I wanted to see if I could set up a couple of characters, get readers to click with them, and then pull the rug out and reveal that they weren’t who the readers thought they were. Based on the feedback[1], it was successful. Go me.

After that, I went back to focusing on podcasting for about two months. I diddled around a bit with some story ideas and told anyone who asked that I was working on a few things, but I wasn’t making any progress with fiction. Out of the blue, a great opportunity fell on my lap. I was contacted by New Media Expo (the Artist Formerly Known as Blogworld). NMX wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing a guide to podcasting. I’d been writing articles for their site for a while, and they considered me a good fit. The ebook was to be an in-depth look at podcasting, and they’d pay me.

This was me.

This writing took about two months in late 2012 and The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Podcaster was released on November 30th. It was very well received. And they paid me! Real money! Someone, a real company, paid me to write a book.

I am officially a published author.

And I put a page up about it at QAQN, but didn’t write about it here. There’s no good reason why I didn’t, but I think that, at the time, I felt that this site was supposed to focus on my original fiction.

Fast forward to early 2013. Something happened that I wasn’t expecting. I was getting burned out on podcasting. I stopped writing for NMX. In addition to some larger personal issues, I started to feel that the weekly task of producing a podcast was becoming a chore. After the book I hadn’t written a word, and that was frustrating as well. I decided to put the podcast on hiatus. April 10th was the last episode for the foreseeable future. I turned back to writing.

I started getting organized. I organized my computer’s hard drive. I organized my notes. I organized my Scrivener projects. An idea for a story called “The Dwarves of Kun Xilas” started taking shape. Another idea for a trilogy of novels crept in.

In May, I attended Comicpalooza 2013. The educational sessions for writers were fantastic, and I came away with many new ideas and inspirations. I decided that I would write a story spanning three eras involving time travel, which is always risky, but I think I can handle it. I also decided that by Comicpalooza 2014, next May, I would have finished work under my belt. Not necessarily published, but finished. I mapped out a very aggressive plan.

In the space of one year, I intended to write three novels and nine tie-in short stories. I know, right? Talk about zero to sixty in 0.5 seconds. Naturally, that would prove to be impossible, but I’m getting to that.

I had everything mapped out on a calendar. I’d work on the first novel until November, then I’d write the second one during NaNoWriMo, then write the third until May 2014. Each short story would get about a month, not including November. It was a great plan.

Turns out, I’m not a great planner.

The first month, June, was fine; I did write and finish (but for the polish) my first short story. I did work on the first novel. July, I crumbled. I was overwhelmed, I felt like the first story (“The Secret Tunnel” is the working title) wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t progressing the first novel (The Last King of Avven is the working title) as well as I needed to if I was going to stick to the plan. The only sort-of-upside was that I had a solid idea about the second short story, “Ghost Stories”, and work on it was moving along fairly well, but not well enough for the plan.

So I ditched the plan. I’ve spent the past month making a new plan. The goal date is still Comicpalooza 2014 next May, but I’d finish one novel and however many short stories I can reasonably come up with. I may or may not participate in NaNoWriMo. I gave myself breathing room.

The Last King of Avven is still the first novel, but after attending last month’s Houston Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers Meetup, I settled into a really great idea about that trilogy I wanted to write. I was able to nail down the characters and the story. The world-building that I’d completed, coupled with the notes and backstory I’ve written since the meetup, totals about 30,000 words and a number of maps. My universe has been set in motion.

I’ve written 7,105 words for Avven so far. Only about 93,000 to go.

No problem.

After all, I’m a published author.

  1. Granted, the feedback was from friends, family, and acquaintances, so it was hardly unbiased, but still. I’ll take it.  ↩

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