UJ9 Upcoming, Outlining LT6

Books, Publishing, writing

In the past, I’d finish a chapter of something and let it marinate, let my juices recharge, get back to the next chapter when I’ve a mind to.

That approach, it no worky.

So the fifth Chapter of Void is finished. I’m not going to post a link to it, because Void chapters are spoken for by Unnamed Journal. When Issue 9 of UJ goes live on April 1st, Void 5 will be available for viewing.

The next issue will have some WW1-related shenanigans in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Doughboys going Over There. Plus, Scarecrows. Subscriptions, they are still free. So what have you got to lose?

So, that’s a deadline I’ve got to meet. I also am still holding to the deadline of getting Last Tomorrow finished/drafted by Easter. Which means I have two more chapters to write. Which means I really need an outline or some kind of methodology of getting me to the ending I want. So I’m working on that, or at least a collection of beats.

So that’s two chapters and a short story for UJ9. I can do that. That’s totally doable.

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

Books, Publishing

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

Blog, Books

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!

 

Progress on the Writing Front

Books, writing

Chapter 3 of Void got finished last night (I’ve made some minor edits to the first few chapters). It will be part of Unnamed Journal, Issue 7, which is supposed to be out November 15th. That will be our year anniversary issue, so check the Facebook Page. Big changes will be afoot: a free back issue starting tomorrow, an omnibus, and a new design from a new platform. It will be rad. .

I’ve also laid down some good outline material for The Devil Left Him, so some new material should be out on that soon as well.

That’s all. Just what I been onto.

 

Prepping vs. Pantsing, Outlining vs. Discovering – Where I come down on the Great Writer Divide

Books, writing

In the minds of many authors, there are two ways to write a piece of fiction:

  1. Outlining (“Prepping”). You figure out what’s happening, who the characters are, the arcs, everything. You do this before you’ve “written” a single word. Then, when you do sit down, you have a plan.
  2. Discovering (“Pantsing”). You sit down and let the story come out of you. You figure it out as you go along. You let nothing stand in the way of pure creativity.

Most authors who discuss the distinction, such as Larry Correia here, don’t say that there’s one best way to do it:

There isn’t really a correct method. Either one method works for you, or it doesn’t, or you use a combination of the two. Whatever. The important thing is you write a good, sellable book. Here is my usual disclaimer about anything related to writing, despite what your English teacher told you, there aren’t really any rules to this stuff. The only rules are 1. If your readers like it, you can do it. 2. If your readers think it sucks, take it out. For every rule you find, there’s a bunch of writers who violate the hell out of it and sell a lot of books. So the following is just my opinion about what has worked for me.

My experience goes along with this. I’ve done both ways, and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing I ever wrote, which will not see the light of day for a long while (if ever), was a long bit of swords & sorcery fantasy called The Island Prince. I spent three years on that, because it was pure Pantsing. I made up every chapter as I went along, with a very vague idea of where the plot was going to go. Keep in mind, I knew the world extensively, as I’d been putting together the backstory of this kingdom, that dynasty, etc. since I was about 14. I knew where I wanted it to go. Still took three years. I laugh when I think of it now.

On the other hand, I’ve got an entire mystery novel outlined, scene-by-scene, character-by-character, beat-by-beat. I put the outline together in an afternoon. This was years ago, and I have one chapter and part of another drafted. Because I’m now bored of it. I know it so well that I have nothing to learn of it, so sitting down and writing it interests me very little. I’ll get back to it someday – maybe.

You might infer a lack of discipline here, and I certainly won’t argue that point very hard. But I find some combination of the two has enabled me to actually finish things.

Solar System Blues was the result of some initial pantsing, some basic freewriting to establish the world and the idea, and then a very workable outline that I was able to adjust as needed. It hasn’t sold magnificently, but it got a few favorable reader responses on Goodreads, and SelfPublishing Review liked it.

Right now, I seem to be operating under a “Pants it until you can’t, then outline your way home” philosophy. The first two chapters of Void were pantsed, and there will be things tweaks I want to make as a consequence. But now I’m at the point where I need to sit down and figure out my next several moves. I’m almost done with Chapter 3, which will appear in the next issue of Unnamed Journal before it gets posted on Tablo. I’ve hit the same point with The Devil Left Him: two chapters in, and I now need to plan my next moves.

This gives me the thrill of discovery, of building a world out of will, while at the same time organizing my work so I can actually finish things and ship them. Void and Devil will be the next works I complete and publish, and I feel very confident about that.

Time in Space

Books, Uncategorized

One of the sci-fi novellas I’m working on right now, Void, has a theme about space travel and the hell it plays with time. When I wrote Solar System Blues, I avoided this by making the ship in question travel at below-light velocity, and deliberately making the voyage a long one. Even then, the fact that Burton had been in space for 30 years straight had consequences for his character.

But ever since Einstein, the idea has been that faster-than-light travel would warp time around a vessel, so someone would seem to travel to Alpha Centauri quickly would discover upon his return that many years had transpired on Earth.

In such a system, people who traveled in space professionally would be a breed apart from the rest of humanity, quickly cut off from their familial roots. They’d have to develop their own culture merely to have any sense of themselves. That’s part of what is animating the ennui that Lang, my protagonist in Void, suffers.

I’m not hitting this too hard, because I’m not well-versed enough in space-time physics. It’s just there in the background, humanity cut off by the cold empty distances from its home.

Why it’s called Void should be clear. Read the first two chapters for free on Tablo.

void2.jpg

 

Free Fiction Fest

Books

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.