Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks

Monday, December 29, 2008

Year in Review

     This is a little bit early, but I tend to get flaky towards the end of the month (yes, November's word count was up clear throughout December), so I thought I would do this now while the thoughts are there. Over a year ago this blog and keeping track of my word count was an experiment, and I have to say it was an unmitigated success. By and large I have stuck by and become disciplined enough to write at least 1,000 words every day, which produces a staggering amount of text throughout the year (the yearly count is below). I have written a fantasy novel, which I may or may not pursue follow-ups, a PI detective novel dealing with the supernatural, of which there should be many follow-ups, and most of a second PI novel (see, told ya).
     I'm not sure if it was so much the genre change that really got me excited, but looking at a fresh idea. I had been working my fantasy series to death in my head, and it just seemed stale. I couldn't add anything new to the genre that hadn't been done to death. It's not that the story was bad, but it didn't have anything new or original to hold a reader's attention, which I know editors are looking for. With my PI, I'm putting a new twist on an old idea, and hopefully doing so in an interesting way with an interesting cast of characters. Time will tell, I suppose.
     Now, I have said it before, and I will say it again. My weakness is in revision. I need to start looking at what I write and fixing what's wrong with it quickly. While I don't think I can emulate Burgess, from whom I took inspiration for this method (see Clockwork for more on this), I believe I can take some time to examine what I wrote the day before, both to revise it and to refresh myself on what I have written.
     I think another of my weaknesses is that I do forget what came before. I will frequently have to look back at what I wrote to remember the sequences of events I've covered, and remember the placement of clues for my PI to pick up on.
     I have learned that I can't plan these out, either. Overplanning keeps me from being able to move through the story. With Blood and Stones I didn't even know "whodunit" until near the end of the story. I knew basically for awhile who my top three suspects were, and even after I decided the culprit, I had to come up with a way for my PI to figure it out. Certainly there were many clues out there, but, from reading Chandler and Hammett, there always seems to be one or two key clues that will convince the PI on which person to settle on. With Vampire Shadows I am currently tackling the latter as I figured out the "whodunit" quite some time ago. I feel good about the direction its going, and hope to finish it soon.
     The setting for my PI has been difficult. I could have written about a real location, but there were two difficulties with that. The first is that doing so requires an intense amount of research to adequately know and write about a location. The second is that I could write about my own location, but I don't really enjoy this location as a setting, nor does it feel like the sort of place my PI would reside in. I certainly know some places of local color that could breathe life into this setting, but I would prefer breathing that same life into a place of my own choosing. I decided to create my own city---which is still unnamed---and want to breathe life into it. I've had a good primer on such with the wonderful comic Astro City, which I recommend anyone pick up who has an interest in what I deem the best writing in a superhero comic; not only that, but Brent Anderson's artwork and Alex Ross's covers are amazing, making these comics shine both as art and literature. Astro City is their own creation, with elements of several major cities built into it, but it still manages to be unique with its Astro City Bank, Mt. Kirby, and Shadow Hill. I hope that my own city will have this kind of life as well, and have already created neighborhoods such as the Grind, Fairhaven, and Badon Heights, and locations such as Tony's Bar, the Blackthorn, and Kairos's Gyros. I hope to have some kind of map to the city soon, complete with neighborhoods and places of interest (the Blackthorn and Kairos's at the top of the list, obviously), and will post it up when I get something definitive. If anyone knows of a decent software that will make creating a city easier, I'm all ears.
     Aside from editing work of the previous day, I need to really dive into Blood and Stones to make it presentable to an agent. I've already purchased a guide to literary agents, but I want to make sure that my manuscript is as polished as I can make it before taking that step. To all my friends, I offer thanks and apologies for imposing on your time and talents in revising my opus.
     Well now, I've ranted for as long as I think I should, and it's time to present my year in review. Oh, and to say that I've revamped my spreadsheets and charts for the coming year to provide better and more specific information about what I'm writing. So, everyone can look forward to seeing that beginning in January.

1001 Nights (4) Abraham (11) Adonis (4) Aphrodite (18) Apocalypse (6) Apollo (5) Arabian (4) Ares (2) Artemis (5) Arthur (12) Athena (7) Bard (1) Ben Slater (13) Bible (88) Boxing Day (6) Celtic (2) Character File (2) Chinese (1) Christian (6) Christmas (1) Conferences (30) creation myths (15) Criminalelement (11) Dark Business (61) Dark Winds (22) Demeter (10) Diomedes (6) Don Iverson (4) Eden (5) Enchanter (16) essay (9) Exploding Storm Rider Mystery (1) F3 (632) (2) Fairhaven Club (6) Fairy Tales (20) Family (2) Flood Myth (8) Flynn (84) Greek (96) Greeks (1) Guest (1) Hades (10) Halloween Fall Formal (6) Hercules (9) Hestia (2) Hindu (2) History Prof (22) Holiday (12) Holiday Myths (6) Incan (1) Iranian (2) Jacob (13) Japanese (1) Job (21) Joseph (18) Judges (12) Knowledge Myths (3) Levite (12) Library (8) Life (123) Love Gods (4) M3 (253) (1) map (13) Matt Allen (268) Medieval (7) Metamyth (5) Misc Flash (36) Mom (1) monthly chart (21) Movies (6) Myth Law (2) Myth Media (4) NaNoWriMo (22) Noah (5) noir (9) Noir Tales (1) Norse (10) Odyssey (8) Persephone (15) Perseus (14) Persian (1) Poseidon (1) Prometheus (8) publishing (24) ramble (113) Red Riding Hood (6) Review (1) Sam Faraday (53) Samson (14) Santa's Helper (3) Scavenger Hunt (20) Sci Fi (15) science (1) Serial (84) short story (14) Spotlight (8) Storm Riders (139) Teaching (136) Tech (18) Transformation (5) Travel (27) TV (10) TV Myth (1) Underworld (6) Unhappily (2) Vacation (15) vampires (18) W3 (11) WIP (20) Writing (166) Writing Tools (16) Zeus (21)