So here’s my big announcement: my fantasy novel The Wedding of Earth and Sky has been sold to Red Adept Publishing, and will appear sometime in 2014.

I’m really excited about this. Red Adept is a small press with a focus on ebooks and audiobooks, and I’ve been very impressed by the quality of their product and the professionalism of their editorial staff. Here’s hoping for big things.

It’s January 2. Am I too late to get in on the year in review parties? Did you already tear down the decorations and put away the confetti? Really? What about the rum punch?

Well, never mind. I guess I’ll have to drink my own rum.

So what actually happened this year writing-wise?

  • I finished my second draft of The Wedding of Earth and Sky and had it reviewed by two writer friends. Final draft will come out in 2013.
  • I finished a total of eight short stories.
  • I sold two short stories: The Typographer’s Folly and the The Suffragette’s Election. Both of these are going to appear in the early months of 2013.

This was hardly a breakout year, but it was decent, steady progress. The most remarkable event of the year was the fact that The Suffragette’s Election sold on its first submission, after lingering for four years in my pile of unfinished stories.

For 2013, the biggest thing that I regret is the fact that it takes me so long to finish a novel. Consider that Wedding was drafted first in 2011, second-drafted in 2012, and won’t be considered finished until 2013… which seems a little slow. In 2012 I pushed myself to finish at least 6 short stories (a target which I exceeded), and I think in 2013 I’ll be focusing on getting novels done in a reasonable time. I’m going to push Wedding through its final draft and start sending it to agents, and then I’m going to work on getting my next WIP all the way to a final draft in the same year.

The next thing that I intend to write is a novella rather than a full-sized novel, so this should be doable. We’ll see how it comes out.

Oh, and additionally, I joined Twitter just today. Content will be random and possibly nonexistent.

Here’s to 2013!

I’m about halfway through my current WIP, which means (naturally) that I’ve spent the last hour reading about placental abruption. This is what happens when you reach the point in your novel at which things must move from Bad to Worse: you get online and you try to find the worst thing that could possibly happen to your characters. Because you love them.

On the one hand, it’s amazing that I can ask Google to please tell me about complications in late-term pregnancy, and a few minutes later I’m looking at pictures of detached placentas. On the other hand, gawd this is going to be hard to write about. Really, really hard. And this isn’t even the worst thing that might happen in this novel.

But it’s like they say: Kill your darlings. Kill them with a detached placenta if you have to. Don’t flinch.

Let me direct your attention to Terrible Minds, which has the list that you need to study. It’s great. Here’s my favorite tip:

Say it five times fast: momentum-momentum-momentum-momentum-momentum. Actually, don’t say it five times fast. I just tried and burst a blood vessel on the inside of my sinuses. The point remains: writing a novel is about gaining steam, about acceleration, about momentum. You lose it every time you stop to revise a scene in the middle, to look up a word, to ponder or change the plot. It’s like a long road-trip: don’t stop for hitchhikers, don’t stop to piss, don’t stop for a Arby’s Big Beef and Cheddar. Just drive. Leave notes in your draft. Highlight empty spaces. Fill text with XXX and know you’ll come back later.

I’m working on revisions for the current novel, the one that I finished last fall for NaNoWriMo. My main character grew up on a generation ship in orbit around a gas giant, which set me looking up information about the atmosphere of Jupiter so that I could describe what the planet looked like from the ship. It looks something like this:

Can you imagine having this as your “moon”? My writing skills are completely inadequate to describe something so profound.

I gave the first chapter of the novel I’m working on to critters today, and most of them say the same thing: too many unexplained terms and concepts introduced in a very small space. But hasn’t Gene Wolfe has made an entire career out of Not Explaining Things? There were things in the Book of the New Sun that are introduced on the first page, but which aren’t explained until the final pages of the fourth book. Why can’t I do that? Are you trying to tell me that I’m not Gene Wolfe?

In all reality, I’ll probably change it (especially since some of the unknowns are gratuitous bits of worldbuilding that aren’t actually necessary to the story). But still, when I’m rich and famous I’ll confound and befuddle my readers whenever I dang well please.

So you remember my NaNoWriMo novel? The one I wrote approx 55K words of in under a month? The one whose count is still shown on the sidebar?

It’s DONE.

I put the last period on the first draft this afternoon. I had to spend a few minutes after that stitching some things together, as the last chapters had been written with drafts on two different computers, but that’s done, too. The version that I just saved is now officially Draft One. Celebration time!

Here’s what it looks like:

The Failed Apostle

Letters: 471,988
Words: 82,587
Pages (manuscript format): 378
First sentence: The dossier called him a difficult case.
Middle sentence: “I’ve never seen a device like this one.”
Last sentence: “We should move,” he said. “We got a long ways to go.”
People intentionally killed by the protagonist: one
Fictional animal species introduced: three
Stab wounds inflicted on major characters: four
Pages of tedious exposition that will be cut from the final draft: Oh, probably twenty or so
Pages of repetitive dialogue that will be cut from the final draft: At least ten
Most overused synonym for said: “whispered”
Most inexplicably popular adjective: “yellow”
Level of irritation with current draft: high
Required vacation time from writing before returning to revise: about a month

In the meantime, bottoms up!

Two long days of writing, and a big push for the end. I didn’t really even plan to cross the finish line yesterday: my goal was 47,000 words, but I hit that at around 4pm. Then I realized I had the whole rest of the day, and nothing else planned–so I went for it. And a huge thanks to Larisa, who literally cheered me on as I was getting my way across the goal line.

So! Here’s the finish-line celebration breakdown:

First sentence: The dossier called him a difficult case.

Winning sentence: “I’m glad you’re awake,” he said. (I find this amusingly appropriate given my state at the time I finally finished. Did I mention that the night before Larisa and I were up eight times with the baby?)

Best sentence of the night: But on every side, thick cables like severed tendons slithered across the floor.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the novel itself is done. My private goal is to reach 60,000 words by Nov. 30, then finish the first draft (estimated at 75,000 words) by Dec. 13.