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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

World Enough, and Time

End of the Year/Beginning of the Year Edition

It’s that time of year again.  Yes, it’s time to look back over 2011, counting blessings, learning lessons, and getting ready to start anew.

Nano Post-Mortem

It’s a personal November tradition that I try my hand at Nano.  I’ve entered for seven years running now.  It’s also a December tradition that I post a “Nano follow-up” of some kind, either to my blog or here on the Friday Challenge.

Unfortunately, it’s also a personal tradition to burn out whole banks of brain circuits trying to complete my Nano novel, and leaving myself without enough spare IQ points to write a grocery list, let alone articles and blog posts.  So, my Nano post-mortem is a bit late.

But, I can announce that I have broken with one very solid personal tradition--the annual Nano failure.  I have finally--on the seventh try--managed to crank out fifty thousand words of novel in the month of November.

Word of advice:  If you want more time to work on your Nano novel, land a temp contract doing phone tech support on a quiet overnight shift.  

Oh, and one more piece of advice.  Double-check your word count, because the Nano word counter doesn’t count the same way the Google Docs word counter does.  It’s very surprising to reach 50,073 words (per Google Docs), only to upload your novel into the Nano website and discover you’ve really only written 49,436...with forty minutes left before the deadline.

I have a very strong suspicion that those last seven hundred words or so will be cut from the final draft.  In fact, I’m pretty sure those last seven hundred words don’t make any sense at all.

Now, I still need to finish the novel.  I’m only about halfway through the story.


I had a girlfriend once who convinced me to join a writer’s group.  I had not written anything in over a decade, though she had read some of my really old stuff, and wanted me to start writing again.  When that writer’s group announced their annual Halloween short story contest, she pushed me to write something for it.  I wrote two stories.

The second one was called Screwy Lewis and the Rabid Ferocious Undead Overstuffed Poodle.  You’ll have to wait for Five for Frightening to come out to read that one.  

The first one, though, was called Quill, and it won the contest.

Thanks to Bruce, and the whole staff at Stupefying Stories, Quill has a home.  The story I wrote solely because my girlfriend asked me to write again for the first time in over a dozen years has been published by someone, and I wanted to take the time to send out a sincere and honest “Thank you!!!” to the Stupefying crew.

Oh...and that girlfriend...?  I married her.


Which leads to...

...what are your goals and challenges for the year...?

That former-girlfriend-now-wife has challenged me to hit some publishing milestones this year.  Top of the list is Five for Frightening, which has been “nearly done” for some months now.  After that, I have a humor compendium lined up called “Nickel at a Time” just waiting for some humorous illustrations before it’s ready to go live.  After that, I’m looking at a sci-fi collection, and I think I’ve got enough horror stories for a second set there, too.

I want to quit missing Friday Challenges because I’m too busy to write, and I want to see a dozen of my short stories published this year...which of course means I need to actually submit them--and submit them to other places besides the Stupefying Stories crew (no offense intended; you guys already get lots of stories, no sense my piling more on you!).

All of which ties to one key factor--and one which Bruce has hammered home on more than one occasion--”Go Thou And WRITE!”

I’ve grumbled about not having enough time to write.  I’ve complained that “real life” interferes with my writing goals.  Heck, I started writing this column to work out these issues inside my head, and entertain (or annoy?) the rest of you with my meaningless meandering nonsense while I did so.

But, a long time ago, I came to the conclusion that “if you could write fifty thousand words in a month, you can do pretty much anything.”

I can write fifty thousand words in one month.  

Not only that...I *DID* write fifty thousand words in a month.

So...what else can I do...? And what else are all of you going to do...?

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