Monday, April 30, 2012

Getting back on the horse!

Hey there. It was a crazy April that didn't see much writing get done. We're living in the main floor of a house down the street while our house undergoes a major renovation. Moving out this past weekend was crazy, simply crazy. I'm getting old. Still sore and tired from the two-day move. We're getting pro movers when we move back in.

I'm trying to get back on the horse and get some writing under my belt, but it's tough. I'm tired and don't feel like doing it. And I have more excuses, but that's all they are. I'm going to give myself a bit of slack, but I want to try do a bit of writing. I think my goal for tomorrow night is to look over what I want to get done for the month of May. I've got a lot of writing commitments and need to clear those off my plate before I can get to my novel writing.

However, I'm definitely more inspired to write about Trevor Galloway. I've stopped worrying about how to shape my novel and will try to break down the ideas I have into more digestible parts and write those. Right now I have two main story chunks, Galloway's origin as the Black Knight Tow Truck Operator and The Wendigo.

If you're reading this and are a writer, you might have run into something similar. How did you get back on the horse? Any advice?

Some great advice from Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig's novel, Blackbirds has recently been published and he shares some lessons he's learned along the way. An advance warning for the language that Chuck uses, it's raw...

- The book isn’t real until it’s done. It’s perhaps the most important lesson: before you can do anything else, before you rewrite, edit, query, publish, whatever, you have to finish your shit
-  Sometimes to fix a broken pipe, duct tape won’t do. You gotta rip that shit out. You gotta put in new pipe. I destroyed Blackbirds to save Blackbirds.
- Writing — and querying, and publishing, and marketing, and loving, and hating — a book takes a lot out of you. It feels in some ways like a great gym workout, in other ways like a weird (not bad, not good) breakup. You’re left flapping in the wind, your little book-baby all-groweds-up, out in the world doing things without you. You can only hope the book doesn’t embarrass you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finding the motivation

It's such a strange thing. I feel compelled to write. I have stories racing around in my head that itch and wiggle and squirm until I put them down on the page. But, why is it so easy to find an excuse not to do that. It's work. Being a writer is fun, but writing is still work, hard work. We have an upcoming renovation where my wife has told me to lower my expectations in terms of my time to write, which is fair, but also give me an excuse. That's an excuse I don't want to use. I still want to strive to get something written each day, even if its nothing, at least it keep the writing muscles limbed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Borderlands Press Boot Camp

What is the Borderlands Press Boot Camp?

"You will be expected to log in many hours of intensive analysis and criticism from your peers and the three guest instructors who will be guiding you through all the major elements of writing fiction. 
You will be required to read (in advance) the submissions of your fellow workshop participants. (ALL OF THEM) Your weekend will comprise of: 
- lecture (not a lot)
- round table critiques (definitely a lot)
- analysis by the instructors
- Q&A panel discussion
- readings (of your work)
- a special exercise or maybe more... 
Think you’ve heard enough?
In addition, you will receive a general understanding of the state of modern publishing—that is where and to whom to submit your material, the real deal on editors and agents, the characteristics of the genres, the perception of the difference between mainstream and literary fiction, and even a few words on marketing and publicity. Have your questions ready.
You will learn all the basic elements of writing and the processes needed to finish your manuscript and have it ready for submission to the market place. But more importantly you will get the much needed FEEDBACK that is often the missing factor which contributes to the success (or failure) of many writers.
Each instructor has a specific area they will be emphasizing. If you’ve never experienced a piece of fiction deconstructed (especially your own) and analyzed in a high-intensity workshop setting, be prepared to learn things about you, your writing, and  your ability to tell a good story.
You will discover this workshop is primarily concerned with analysis and criticism—
that is, learning how to give it out, and more importantly,  how to take it. Professional writers learn early on the ability to receive and implement critical feedback is the most important element contributing to the improvement of their craft. 
When writers learn to EDIT their own work with a critical eye, they discover the ultimate key to their success."

Sounds intimidating and like a lot of work doesn't it? Well, as much fun as I have writing, it is work. Hard and solitary work. But there are great rewards. Like getting paid for your first piece of fiction!

The qualification is now open and if you're accepted (and they only accept 24 students), your work-in-progress needs to be in their hands by September.


If you don't know what Duotrope is, stop right now and head over there ( and register. It's a great webpage that advertises writing markets. Sign up for their weekly email as well, I find it a great source of inspiration, even if I just read through the broad variety of markets and themes. Duotrope also has a handy feature that track publisher's response time which can be quite handy when you're sending out your stories.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

First post of the year - 2012 writing goals

Yes, it's April, but that's okay. It's actually a perfect time to review my writing goals for 2012.

My goals to kick off the year were:

[  ] published 4 short stories
[  ] write a new short story each month
[  ] get two Back Issue! assignments
[  ] write my novel
[  ] contribute to Black Glove magazine

Revisiting them now:

[ 1/4 ] published 4 short stories (1 slated for publication this year)
[ 1/12 ] write a new short story each month (1 new story so far)
[ 1/2 ] get two Back Issue! assignments (1 out of 2 so far)
[  ] write my novel (hacking away at it)
[  ] contribute to The Black Glove (ongoing)
[  ] contribute to Biff Bam Pop! (ongoing)

As writing my novel is my primary focus this year, I'd like to break that down a bit more. Originally I started out with the following schedule aimed at getting my novel written for World Fantasy Con 2012 here in Toronto.

Mar - write 17,000 words
Apr- write 17,000 words
May- write 17,000 words
June- write 17,000 words
July - write 17,000 words 
Aug - Revision
Sept - Revision
Oct - Revision
Nov 1 - World Fantasy Con

So where am I now? I have about 19,000 words written, but I'm really struggling with putting together the overall plot.

I had a great chat with author Ian Rogers over the weekend and he reaffirmed that there was a market for good dark fiction set in Canada. So I'm mulling over whether to press on with my novel or to grab some pieces from the novel to flesh out something in the 10,000 word range as a chapbook.

I'm not sure where to go, but I guess for now, I can try and do both! We'll see how successful that is.

A tip of the hat to Daniel Huber for encouraging me to continue this writer's blog.