Wednesday, January 8, 2014


2013 was Not a Year of Much Writing. That has of course been mirrored here by a lack of updates.

Gonna work on this, this year (writing and blogging). I have continued to read a lot, and listen to many writing podcasts. More on those in later posts.

Life continues to be complicated. One of my resolutions for this year is to exert more control over my life and attention. I continue to hang with the Magic City Writers Group, and I'm on the hook for a chapter of some sort by the end of the day, January 18th. I'll have a few updates for the Works in Progress sidebar, and possibly a WIP post between now and then.

More to come!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Glad that year's over!

Man, was 2012 a pain. Not that good things didn't happen, but lots of bad, distracting and draining things did. The less said or dwelt upon about it, the better.

With that out of the way, on to the future! The plan for this year includes much work on Darwin Colossus, which received a radical restructuring recently that has me excited. The plan is to get it out on Amazon Digital Publishing this year sometime, which might be aggressive, but hey, no guts no glory.

Not much else to say at this point, other than keep watching this space: I'll be posting some work in progress excerpts and other commentary as I go.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Been Quiet Around Here Lately

Life has been a complete bear of late. Not in the negative sense (though there's been some of that), but in the sense that there's been so much to do and deal with in my personal life that there hasn't been much writing time, or indeed time to blog here.

Let's see, short list:

  • Changed departments at work
  • Ripping out carpeting at the house (long overdue, especially since we have pets)
  • One of our cats had six kittens
  • Two of the kittens died after much care (probable birth defects), causing my wife and I no small amount of grief
In the process I've read a fair amount and produced a couple of chapters of Darwin Colossus for Magic City Writers, but sadly writing has gotten pretty short shrift. Luckily we may be nearing the end of both the near-term floor refurbishing work and the kitten drama. 

In other news, Brant from Magic City Writers has had the entirety of his novel At The Lady's Behest Comes... workshopped by the group, so congratulations to him! Thirteen chapters, and more than 150,000 words, revised in full twice. The raw achievement of this has inspired me, so I'll be working to make more progress on Darwin Colossus from here out.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Congrats to Nancy DiMauro on her New Release!

Nancy (author site; blog) is a friend I've known since college at the University of Richmond. She's a lawyer and a mom, and has had her nose to the writing grindstone lots longer and more consistently than I have. I'm bitterly jealous, Nance. Way to go!

Here's her new book, Paths Less Traveled! Click to see her announcement, which in turn links to the publisher's site.

(Click to View)

I've read it, and it's awesome. Nancy has a way with compelling female characters that goes beyond their simply being interesting: instead of (like so many writers male and female) her characters acting sexless, or worse, like male stereotypes in dresses, Nancy's portrayals of Vonna and Falcon are unique, uniquely their own people, and uniquely, powerfully feminine.

Nancy has a story in the Women Writing the Weird anthology as well, and a short-story collection Shots at Redemption coming out in June.


Monday, April 30, 2012


It's the bane of most yet-to-be-published writers: with everything else going on in my life, how do I make space to write?

I'm hardly an exception. Between requirements at the Day Job and personal obligations like heading to the gym, spending time with the spouse, taking care of household chores and the like, it can be hard to block out time for writing. Worse, when I've finally sat down with some writing time to use, sometimes there's just nothing left to pour onto the page.

This really comes down to priorities. If working on the novel is important enough, making time becomes simpler (if not necessarily easier). But there's a subtler level, too: none of us is infinite. We all have to marshal our time and our energy. Just because I've managed to score some free time doesn't mean that I'll be able to use it effectively. If I've been shorting myself on sleep (and I frequently do) or failing to take care of myself in some other way (eating well, exercising, keeping my personal life as drama-free as possible), I won't have enough left to do anything like a good job, or to get any sort of fulfillment out of the experience.

The temptation is there to gut it out, to stay up until all hours and bleed onto the page--damn the torpedoes! sleep is for the weak!--but I know that I don't accomplish much by clawing a few hours clear if my brain is tapioca and all I can do is stare at the screen or write journal entries about how I'm so tired and nothing's coming to me. People at work have a right to the best you can do for them; why is your novel worth anything less?

Summing up: one mark of having your priorities in order is carving out the time you need. Another mark is spending yourself wisely: if writing is important, do what you can to make yourself--your best self--available for it.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Plotting and Scheming

I haven't posted here much lately because I've been focused on making progress on the Darwin Colossus rewrite. I gave an introductory scene to the Magic City Writers group for critique, and it was universally seen as an improvement. This is great news. I still have plans for horror novel The Work, but I'm giving Darwin Colossus priority for now, because A) I think it's a more complete concept right now, and B) there are a few steampunky movies debuting in the next few years, and since I enjoy writing it anyway...

I may or may not use much actual prose from the original short story in the novel, but I've been characterizing, plotting and analyzing the material I have and want to add to a fare-thee-well, working toward a Big Novel-Writing Push. I do, however, need to expand the scope and complexity of the plot to support a novel-length treatment. I think I have a handle on that, as of this evening: I have six major arcs identified, a three-act structure roughed out, and a theme of sorts to bring it all together.

Next up is a detailed series of milestones. I'd normally call it an outline, but I've come to realize that I split the difference between strict outlining and "discovery writing": I come up with goals for each scene and/or chapter to accomplish, and then in the process of writing each scene or chapter, I tend to find and figure stuff out about the characters and story that I might not have known going in. Thus, rather than easily calling myself an outliner or a discovery writer, I call myself a milestoner.

In any event, I'm excited about the story and writing marathon to come. As they come, I'll post interesting work-in-progress excerpts (WIPs), as I did during this past NaNoWriMo. I've got a visit with the parents coming up this weekend; I'll give myself until then to get my prewriting done, but after the visit, it's Damn the Torpedoes: nothing but work, sleep, exercise and hard-charging drafting.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Back After a Hiatus

Hey, everyone! I'm back!

Sorry for taking off without notice, but I decided to try switching to a very aggressive exercise program analogous to CrossFit at the end of January, and after a month's work at it (and the attendant exhaustion, recovery fatigue, immune-system depression and dietary chaos), I've decided that doing it amounted to writing a mental and physical "check" that I had no business trying to cash. Nothing whatsoever wrong with the gym or its program: it's just not a fit for me where I am physically, and where I need to put my energy in terms of my other commitments (writing among them). I'll be returning to Planet Fitness and my previous resistance-training workout this week.

Ambiguous enough? Good! Back to writing, now.

Novel-length redrafting on Darwin Colossus is the Project in Question at the moment, so I'm taking that back up this week. This weekend has been devoted to good success in catching up on neglected errands and dubious success in staving off a creeping sore throat. Sleep awaits, tonight, and resumption of a more reasonable schedule tomorrow.