May 2010 - Posts

First Draft Complete
Friday, May 28, 2010 6:30 PM
With three days to go until my self-imposed deadline and the Memorial Day Weekend looming, I wrapped up work today on the first draft of my novel. Weighing in at 154,549 words and thirty chapters, I'd like to offer this blog's readership the first glimpse into my creation. The first of a science fiction saga entitled Star Song, this book is called Detour on the Alkan Run and chronicles the adventure of a young individual named Chevall whose father was a human and mother is of an alien race called the Mohpein, an unimposing people who live on a frigid world. Chevall never knew his father and his mother has kept him away from humans as best as she can but after a fight with her he runs off to discover the heritage he never knew and is taken in by a rogue historian who promises to show him what it truly means to be a human. Chevall becomes embroiled in her mysterious quest and the dangerous lives of a group of off-beat freight runners and criminals. He finds himself fighting for his life when their mundane cargo run to the planet Alkan and the historian's mission clash on an unexpected detour.

Well, that's all nice and exciting, but the fact is it is a very rough first draft. I need to read the whole thing straight through and take in depth notes and then start rewriting. I know a lot of things I need to change already, some pretty small, some very very big. Make no mistake about it, this won't be light editing and revision, this will be rewriting. I may need to set another deadline a few months from now just as I set this one to make sure it gets done on time. Should make for a nice summer project.

My wife and I are heading to Miami for the weekend to be with some college friends which will make for a fun and relaxing reward after this lengthy endeavor (not sure the Zelda II thing is gonna happen). Before I sign off I'd like to thank my wife for how incredibly supportive she has been. I'm intensely thankful for everyone in my life and how helpful and encouraging my family and friends have been, but I'll save the Oscar speech for later and for right now just say thank you to my wife who has come home everyday and asked me how my writing went and put up with the nights where I wanted to keep at it and was always willing to read my work and give it an honest assessment. I love you Mary. Thank you.

Until next time, and there will be a next time because this is far from over, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.
by DMI | with no comments
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I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...
Friday, May 21, 2010 2:55 PM
10 days to deadline, 27 chapters complete.
by DMI | with no comments
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Duotrope and a Step Forward in Rejection
Monday, May 17, 2010 9:24 PM
Today I discovered Duotrope Digest. Well, not like Columbus finding America or anything, a lot of wanna-be (that's me) and emerging writers use Duotrope as a source all the time. Well in that case, maybe it was a bit like Columbus finding the new world, what with the Native Americans already living here and the vikings have gotten here first. I'm just here to talk the place up. Duotrope is absolutely free website that allows you to track your submissions to magazines as well as fine places to submit your new work through advanced searches of a wide catalogue of 'zines. It has also compiled a list of information about these magazines that puts the copy of Writer's Digest setting atop my desk to shame. Not only does it have information about what kind of work individual 'zines want to see, but Duotrope can tell you how and when to submit and has accurate information (not just what the mags submission guidelines try to ball park) regarding percentage of pieces accepted and rejected as well as how long response times are. It's a gold mine. Now, I was already keeping tabs on my submissions via a table in a word document but their system is fair bit better and I'm going to start double logging them and maybe eventually switch over. This is a must-use for aspiring writers, especially those struggling to move into the internet age of online submissions.

I was got another rejection today. "What's new?" You might ask. Well, besides the fact that I used it as my first response report to Duotrope, this one was a bit different from the others I've received from this magazine. Flash Fiction Online is the premier place to read smartly written flash stories that never miss their mark and I never miss an issue (its free!). Plus they pay a professional rate. What better place to be published? Well for the first time I got a rejection that said I made it passed the preliminary round which eliminates more than 75% of their submissions and though some of the editors liked it, not enough of them did. Yes, it's still a rejection, but it's a step forward.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.

14 days to deadline, 25 chapters complete.
by DMI | with no comments
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Down to the Wire
Friday, May 14, 2010 1:17 PM
Nothing much insightful to report at the moment other than the fact I am writing like a maniac. I managed to churn out over 10,000 words this week and that was with me not writing much of anything on monday or tuesday because I was busy with stuff for my new, soon-to-start job as a GED, adult-ed instructor. I think it is going to start sometime in June which means my book deadline could not have been set more perfectly (why, yes, I do believe in a higher power). However, that doesn't mean I'm going to get it done on time without really bearing down hard. I finished two chapters and, after penning this blog, will start on the next one.

But with time ticking by, I may need to pick up the pace even more, or at least try to avoid any distractions. Fortunately, some of the last few chapters are already worked out (yes, I skip ahead sometimes, shoot me). Unfortunately, I've only got ten days left if you don't count weekends. I may need to put in some extra hours on saturday and sunday while the wife is busy elsewhere. It'll be a push, but I know I can do it. Even if don't though, on June first I'm not just going to give up, yell "Khan" and go sulk with a book only a few pages from completion. The point of doing all this was to make myself do it and not just saying I'll finish the project in some nebulous future. Close, on-time, whatever. It doesn't matter. What matters is, I'll have written an entire novel!

The only really writer insight I have to offer is that, as a catapult into the exciting, action-packed, revelatory conclusion to my novel, I am writing a hell of a lot faster. Partly because of the impending deadline, yes. Partly because of that last burst of speed you get when the end is in sight, no doubt. But mostly I think, because what I'm writing is just plain fun and interesting. This is of course, a glass half empty, glass half full situation. Positively speaking, this means the end of the book will definitely be a page turner. Negatively, I may need to focus extra hard on making the beginning and middle better so my readers get to the end.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished author.

17 days to deadline, 24 chapters complete.
by DMI | with no comments
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Making the Final Push
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:55 PM
I've never written a novel before, so most of my experience has been a series of firsts. However, I have written some fairly long stories before (one of which is currently awaiting review at Asimov's, a short story whose word count actually, according to that magazine, garners it the classification of a novelette) and toward the end of those first drafts a very distinct feeling set in. One that could almost be described as desperation. It's the same feeling you might get at the end of a run. Somewhere in the middle of the run you get tired and probably thought about quitting but, once the finish line is in sight, even though you're still in pain, you push forward because you can't let yourself stop when you're that close. I know personally I was able to even put on a little extra speed at the end of a run sometimes. 

The same goes with writing a long story. As the end of the first draft nears you start to see the piece as a whole and start to see what ways you can improve on it. I've learned that it's important to save those revisions for the second draft or you could end up with a big mess of almost finished versions of the same story, so tired and anxious to be done, I push myself forward to finish.

Despite the unfamiliar landscape of novel writing, that is the familiar feeling that has set in now that I'm in the last section of the book and have less than a month until my deadline. I find myself having a lot of ideas about what to do with the next draft and I often have to fight the urge to look back at previous chapters. To satisfy my itch, I've opened a document where I can list these potential revisions and new ideas. That way I save them for later and save now for finishing the first draft. I can only hope I get that extra speed and vigor in my final push.

Until next post, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished fiction writer.

27 days to deadline, 22 chapters complete.
by DMI | with no comments
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