The Downside of Pantsing

As I’ve announced before, a good bit of Last Tomorrow was written on the fly. Like the US  Navy in WWII, I simply went around difficulties. That’s fun, but at some point, you have to force those little hidden Japanese jungle plot holes (I’m getting all the elasticity this metaphor has, thank you very much) to surrender. And I just hit a big one in the second chapter. Something happens and I don’t know who caused it to happen. It’s not super-important plot-wise, so I could just get rid of it, but it’s kind of important thematically, so I don’t want to.

And I need to decide who caused it to happen, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. And I’m really not sure who it would be that did it. So I’m going to have to figure it out, or rework the event so that it makes sense.

Whatever, I’ll figure it out.

Here’s a post at Live Write Breathe that may have been useful to me when I was in this process before. Ah well. it’s never too late.

Back to Work

I don’t just write and Dad (and Play Crusader Kings) all day, I also work for a living. And the end of summer means the resumption of the daily sweat to earn my bread. Which is fine, because it doesn’t put a halt to writing.

Specifically, it doesn’t put a halt to editing Last Tomorrow. I’m aiming for the end of this month as a release date. As I have for Void, which comes next.

And of course, The Sword, which will be drafted, hopefully by EOY. It’s going to be the next big thing after Void comes out, and the one I’m going to put the biggest push on.

In the meantime, here’s a perversely relevant historical argument I pose on Medium: Yes, the Civil War was About Slavery.

A lot of people seem to think otherwise, but they’re wrong. And I have the historical documentation to prove it. Plus, some rad Shakespeare quotes.

More posting will happen later.

 

Pre-Vacation Update

A bunch of merry business has gone by. Allow me to fill you in:

  • The Party At the Last Tomorrow is finished. Drafted, anyway. I’m going to go back in the summer and give it a thorough edit, tie down some loose threads, establish the things in the early chapters that I pantsed in the later ones, but you can read the existing draft on Tablo. Since my due date for finishing this draft was Easter, I’m pretty pleased with myself.
  • Unnamed Journal put it’s ninth issue out, and it’s full of WWI-related shenanigans, plus some other fine fare. You’ll never look at scarecrows the same way again.
    • Included in the above is the first piece I wrote using Scrivener instead of Microsoft Word or the Tablo app. It took some adjustment, but I really do like the way Scrivener works. I look forward to using it for the Summer Novel (I NaNoWriMo whenever I damn well please).
    • Also included is the fifth Chapter of Void. It’s the shortest chapter so far, but I like what I did with it. It sets up the actual thing that made me want to write this in the first place. Read it on UJ exclusively for the next few months. Get caught up with previous chapters on Tablo.

Oh, and Void has a new cover:

Void

 

Not bad. I’m not sold on it, though…

WriteTip: When You Get Stuck, You Just Keep Going

last-tomorrowWriting -any creative endeavor, really – is all about giving yourself permission to fail.

Now, in one sense, that’s idiotic and ridiculous. The purpose of art is not to make something that’s bad. It’s not to allow something that’s bad to enter the market. The purpose of art is to make something that people respond to in some way, either by giving you money for it or by offering criticism on it. Creating something that will do neither is a waste of time and energy.

So I don’t mean that. What I mean is, when you’re working on something, and you’re not sure if you have a way forward, and you start looking at it like it’s some wriggling obscene bastard creation of hubris and wishful thinking, you may be tempted to scrap the thing and move on.

This is what you should not do. You should finish it. You should keep going. You should say to yourself the magic words:

Continue reading

The Year of the Three Novellas (which are probably novelettes, but whatever)

First, update to The Party at the Last Tomorrow (Click image to go to Tablo and read it)

last-tomorrow

I am now 4 chapters and about 8500 words into this one. That’s the least amount of progress on any of the things I’m working on right now, which is surprising because it’s the one I conceived earliest. I chalk that up to pantsing, or “discovery writing”. Other than a bare scene outline and it’s inspiration (Poe’s Masque of the Red Death), I am making this one up as I go along. This is both freeing and frustrating. But progress is progress, and progress pleases me.

Of course, I should probably talk about what I’m progressing towards. I decided sometime before the New Year to make 2017 The Year of the Three Novellas. The Three Novellas are the books I’m currently writing on Tablo, and they’re on my Books to Preview page, but basically:

The latest Chapter of Void is exclusively available in newly-arrived 8th issue of Unnamed Journal for the next month. Did I mention subscriptions are free?

Unnamed Journal Issue 2, Volume 2

Anyway, the plan is to finish Devil this month, Last Tomorrow sometime in March/April, and Void by June. Then I’m going to give them each a deep edit, and put them on Amazon and iBooks over the second half of the year, while I’m writing the next project, which will be a bigger novel. I’ve got a couple of ideas started, and I just need to decide which way to go.

Right now Devil is sitting pretty at about 11,000 words and one more chapter (possibly two) to go. I should round off at about 15,000 words. Last Tomorrow and Void are about the same in terms of word count, and have the same number of finished chapters. My guess is Last Tomorrow will end up slightly longer than Devil, and Void longer still.

I’d originally conceived Void as being 6-7 Chapters, and I’m starting to think I’ll go as high as 8. The story is taking it’s time. I’ve got more of an outline with this one than with Last Tomorrow, but the exact nature of antagonist is demanding a slower reveal. Which is all to the good, in my opinion, because any good author should like it when characters start making their own demands on you.

Of course, according to Wikipedia (by which I of course mean, according to what Wikipedia sources), anything between 7,500 – 17,500 words is really a novelette rather than a novella. But two of the three might just qualify, so nyah.

challenge_accepted

Changes and Additions

First off, I’ve ditched the custom URL. Decided it wasn’t worth the cost. I’ll keep the address as plain andrewjpatrick.wordpress.com, unless I decide to buy a custom Content Blues. Which I might do.

Secondarily, another theme change! Last one was too artsy. The content was getting hid, and I was never satisfied with the typeface on the background.

Third, I’ve added a page to link all my Tablo books. Those are where all the production is being done now, anyway. Both Void and Party at the Last Tomorrow have been updated since I last posted.

I think an Unnamed Journal page may be necessary as well. Back later!

 

Free Fiction Fest

Some stuff I’ve been working on.

Here’s a free chapter to The Party at the Last Tomorrow, my post apocalyptic homage to Edgar Allen Poe:

Party

Muse staggered her way along the Last Call Causeway, amid the broken rocks and occasional bones. Her brain was screaming at her to sleep. With each step the saccharine synth ploddings and weird blue lights that was part of Hard Harry’s new performance faded, leaving only a dull ringing in her ears and heaviness in her eyes. The granite between the Last Tomorrow and the old dead world didn’t absorb sound well, but it did leave that noise feeling faraway and foreign, like it had happened to someone else.

Muse wondered again what things sounded like under the sky. She remembered the sky. She was only a little girl when the world died, when Darker gathered the Party into the Last Tommorrow deep underground, and closed the Last Gate, but she remembered sky. Sometimes it was blue and sometimes it was red and sometimes it was gray and wet, but she remembered it. And when she felt as badly as she did right now, those memories of a world under the sky instead of under the rock came to her.

It had been forever since she’d felt this bad leaving the Grotto. One time she’d let a junior cutter do her party dose, and she collapsed after a dim memory of dancing on the Grotto floor. It had taken her two full shifts to even regain consciousness, and another to feel ready enough to resume grinding. After that she only let Cutter John dose her.

Read the rest and the first chapter for free at Tablo.

I’ve also got the first Chapter of another novella called Void on Tablo. If you like that, there’s a second chapter in the sixth issue of Unnamed Journal. You can buy a dead-tree copy of UJ #6 at Lulu, or a digital copy at Amazon.

Also available in the Issue:

  • A Freeform rant by Thomas Fitz on the Ghostbusters remake
  • The Djinn and the Daesh, by Alfred Underhill, in which terrorists and genies have it out.

Read and enjoy, read-and-enjoyers.