I always seem to choke when I get to the climax of this story. One reason is that I haven’t got a good grasp of the setting where it all takes place. Another is that I haven’t really solidified a good character arc for the protagonist, so the climax is lacking emotional punch.
I haven’t done anything about the second problem, but for the first, I sat down and I drew a map, which you can now see. It’s a palace on an island, based on the Korean palace Gyeongbokgung. I have to say, I was very excited to see that Korean palaces had ponds in the middle of them, as my main character can control water. Now he doesn’t have to go all the way to the seashore in order to wreak havoc!
- Started January 5, 2015
- Finished January 23, 2015
- 10,136 words long
- 24 pages
- 108% the size of v 1
There are a couple myths about writers that go around. 1 – All writers are starving artists and 2 – all writers are millionaires. To combat these myths with actual facts, some authors, like Jim C. Hines, have been disclosing the amount of money they have been making from their writing.
In the interest of science, I also want to provide a peek into my books to show what my experience has been, and what I have learned from it.
- Infant Insomnia – short story – $.99 – published January 2014.
- Curelom Riders – flash fiction – free – published July 2014
- The Best of the Rice of Life – cookbook – $3.99 e-book $9.99 print – published September 2014
Number Copies Sold/Downloaded 2014
- Infant Insomnia – 30
- Curelom Riders – 466
- The Best of the Rice of Life – 24
Net Monies Earned 2012 – 2014
- Infant Insomnia – 2013: -$6, 2014: 8.25, Total: $2.25
- The Best of the Rice of Life – $55.35
- Sarimanok Feather – -$1.61 (mail submission)
- blog (Amazon affiliate link) – 2012: $11.99, 2013: $.58, 2014: $14.05, Total: $26.62
For a first year of publishing, with pretty much 0 marketing, I think this is par for the course. I haven’t done much marketing mostly because the gains right now are so little with short stories. And with my son outgrowing his allergies, I haven’t felt a need to connect with that niche community as much.
I guess you could say I am now 3 years in on the 10 year path to being an overnight success. Better keep working!
So it’s time for me to plan out what I want to work on in the coming year.
- 2 drafts of “Settling With Sea Serpents”
- 1 draft of “Sarimanok Feather”
- 1+ drafts of “Changestone”
- Finish “Treasure of the Gods” v 2 and write v 3
- Another draft of Lightning Born
- Tweak covers for “Infant Insomnia” and “Curelom Riders”
- Figure out how to get my stuff on Google Play
Again, Lightning Born is a stretch goal. I think my main focus this year is going to be polishing and seeking publication for my short fiction. “Changestone” is 1+ drafts, because I think it needs a major overhaul, as it’s just not working as a flash fiction. Too much stuff needs describing.
For the cover tweaks, I’m not happy with the typography on “Infant Insomnia” and the black and white version of “Curelom Riders” has no contrast between the dragon and the background. So I want to fix those up. It shouldn’t take long. I just need to figure out how to do it.
Now to get to it.
Time to look back at the year and see how I did on my writing goals for 2014.
What I Did That I Planned
- Published “Infant Insomnia” as an e-book single
- Wrote 2 Drafts of Silent Scars
- Published an e-book (and POD) cookbook with recipes from The Rice of Life
What I Didn’t Do That I Planned
- Wrote another draft of “The Treasure of the Gods” (Now “The God’s Blessing”) I did get over half way done with this.
- Wrote another draft of “Lightning Born” (I knew this was a stretch anyway)
What I Did Instead
- Wrote 4 drafts of “Sarimanok Feather”
- Wrote and published “Curelom Riders”
- Wrote 1 draft of “Settling With Sea Serpents”
- Wrote 4 drafts of “Changestone”
Total number of rejections received in 2014: 6
All in all, it was a quite productive year.
I entered “Sarimanok Feather” in Q4 for the Writers of the Future Contest. This is a prestigious international writing contest, open only to those who have not published professionally (definition given in the contest rules). The results are in, and “Sarimanok Feather” is an honorable mention, meaning it placed in the top 10%.
This is pretty much what I expected with this story. “Infant Insomnia” placed as honorable mention in this contest before, so I knew my writing was at least that good. Also, the judge has said that longer works do better than shorter, due to the fact that longer works just have more time to “wow” the judge. Since “Sarimanok Feather” is on the short side, I didn’t expect to get finalist. I did at least hope for a semi-finalist placement so I could get judge’s comments on the story.
Ah well, it only takes one “yes” for a story to find a home.
This month’s writing went really well! It was great to see my word count jump on “The Gods’ Blessings” to triple what it was when I started. I am a bit concerned that I’m not going to hit the 70K that I thought I would with this draft. I’m cutting a few chapters I hadn’t anticipated on. But it’s for the good of the book, and there’s still room to expand it further, as some of the new chapters need a lot of fleshing out.
The days I missed my writing goal were due to my son breaking his arm, and then traveling for Thanksgiving. The stretch goal was nice, but I think I would have written more if it wasn’t so far above the minimum goal. There were several times when I just stopped writing after hitting 600 because I didn’t think I would reach the stretch goal. In the future, I would probably just set the stretch goal at 2x the minimum goal instead of the over 3x this goal was.
Here’s the stats for the month.
- Minimum Daily Goal: 600 words
- Stretch Daily Goal: 2,000 words
- Minimum Monthly Goal: 15,000 words
- Number of Days Missed Minimum Goal: 6
- Number of Days Hit Stretch Goal: 6
- Total Written: 24,154
I have never been able to complete NaNoWriMo. This year, I have no desire to start a brand new novel. But I do have a novel (“The Gods Blessings”) that needs a lot of work. It may be v 2, but I am still rewriting every single word. Even if my writing hadn’t improved in the time since I worked on v 1, there is a lot of description to add, and lots of scenes that need to be ripped out and replaced. So I think this could count.
However, I honestly don’t think I have the time to hit 50,000 words in one month. My 3 kids take up a lot of time. I don’t write on Sundays, so I’d have to write an average of 2,000 words a day. I have a hard time seeing that happening.
But I think it’s good to stretch. So, here’s my plan. My absolute minimum goal is to write 600 words per day. I feel comfortable with that rate. What changes this month is I won’t let myself get on Facebook or Twitter until those 600 words are in. If I don’t hit it, I have to make up the deficit the next day before I can get on social media. For every day I manage to hit the 2,000 words, I will reward myself with $1 to spend on music.
I’ll report back at the end of the month with how it went.