duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
"It is not much good, transcribing part of your autobiography into your story . . . , it seldom fits, the ends don't mesh; but what you have read and what you have done and what you have felt and what you know are, after all, the only things you as a writer have to sell, and in some way they gurgle through the sloshy pipes of the brain, losing an amino acid here and picking up an enzyme there, and what emerges is part of you. Probably the best part of you. The best part of all of us is in what we write."

--Frederik Pohl.

How I reply to comments at this blog.


SUNDAY: My Muse continues to wander off to stories I *didn't* ask him to write

I woke this morning with another contribution to [livejournal.com profile] 50_darkfics in my head: an Eternal Dungeon/Life Prison crossover. Only when I'm half asleep can I write crackfic.


TUESDAY: Writer's block continues; layout hell begins

The writer's block is frustrating, because there's so much I can't do this summer till I've finished writing those two remaining scenes in "Hell's Messenger" (and hopefully also the Life Prison short story I want to submit to e-zines): editing, proofreading, reading nonfiction, sorting my belongings, gardening, shopping . . . It all conflicts with keeping my mind on fiction-writing.

The one thing I can do - which, fortunately, very much needs being done - layout. I'm creating the covers for all my e-books for the next two years, because the computer my copy of InDesign is on is on the point of no return, and I can't afford to buy a new copy.

I'm also redoing the layouts of my current e-books. I'm dropping the "omnibus" from the titles so that, when I recite my e-book titles in bios, it won't look as though I'm stammering. I had some qualms about dropping the omnibus, until the brilliant thought occurred to me: I could add subtitles with the word omnibus in them. So that's what I'm doing.

The only other major change is expanding the "more writings by Dusk Peterson" section of the e-books. So this task should be easy, right? Um, no. It's layout hell, because every small change I make I have to make to both the DOC file I'll upload to Smashwords and the HTML file I'll upload to Amazon. Multiply that work by five e-books.

Also finished re-laying out the home page of my domain. It'll be much simpler, now that I've put all of my short fiction series into two e-books.


THURSDAY: Life Prison research (actually, Triad research)

One long scene (which I'll probably split into smaller scenes) left to go in "Hell's Messenger 3: Initiation." One short scene and two short half-scenes left to go in the e-zine story. I'm hoping to get everything wrapped up before the Fourth of July.

In the meantime, I've located Starke's home. I don't actually need this information for Life Prison, but I do need it if I ever get to the point of writing the follow-up series/novel, Triad. What's lovely about this particular manor - aside from the fact that it's still in the center of 892 acres of land, and is still owned by its original family ("Only God, the Indians and the Carrolls have owned this land," as one family member put it) - is that it's within a reasonably short driving distance of me. I gather that the manor and estate are off-limits to visitors, but there's a very interesting eighteenth-century town nearby that I've long wanted to visit.

Also, there are pictures online of the manor's interior, in the exact decade that I'm writing about. I do love the Internet.


FRIDAY: June wordage

I wrote for 19 days in June. Excellent. I haven't written for that many days in a month since May 2004. Here's my highest-days-per-month scores, since I started keeping track in July 1995:

* * *

May 2004: 23 days.

October 1995, January 1996, and March 2002: 22 days.

August 1995, September 1995, and November 1995: 21 days.

June 2002 and June 2011: 19 days.

* * *

So June really was an outstanding month for me, in terms of worktime.

Unfortunately, my words-per-day totals aren't nearly as good as they've been in past years. That's not due to lack of daily hours; each day, I've been spending nearly the entire day on writing and supporting activities. I just don't have as much zip as I used to have, in terms of getting words down on paper. You can see the decline in my writing powers most clearly this way:

* * *

September 1995: Wrote 22 days. Produced 88,250 words.

June 2002: Wrote 19 days. Produced 50,445 words.

June 2011: Wrote 19 days. Produced 33,520 words.

* * *

Ouch.

But still . . . 33,520 words! Man, after last year's fiasco (44,270 words total in the last ten months of the year), I wasn't sure whether I'd ever again be able to produce a decent monthly wordage. I can live with 30,000 words per month for eight months a year; that works out to about two novels a year. (My forthcoming annual schedule: 8 writing months plus 3 publishing months plus 1 month of holiday breaks, scattered throughout the year.)


SATURDAY: Writing and publishing and research trips, oh my (Waterman research, among other things)

I fiddled again with my upcoming story schedule. Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is my highest priority. (The Three Lands is high priority as well, but I have enough finished, not-yet-edited novels in that series to last me through summer 2013.) Once I've finished The Eternal Dungeon (two novels to go) and Michael's House (one novel to go), I can spare some time for non-Toughs series.

And, of course, I have to write side stories to market to e-zines, but it's easy enough for me to do that whenever I'm working on a particular series. Once I finish with this writing year (please god, let it be this weekend), I'll have written two Life Prison side stories this year while I was working on finishing "Mercy's Prisoner" and "Hell's Messenger." The side stories don't take much time, since e-zine submission requirements mean that each side story needs to be under 10,000 words - preferably under 6,000.

Here's my extremely tentative research and writing schedule for the next couple of years. (I have to think about the two in conjunction with each other, because once I've done a research project, it's best for me to write down the results as soon as possible.)

* * *

Late summer 2011: Waterman research - boarding schools.

Fall 2011: Waterman writing (Second and Third Landstead stories).

Winter 2012: The Eternal Dungeon writing.

Spring 2012: Life Prison writing.

Summer 2012: Waterman research - 1960s, retrofuture, and a trip to St. Mary's County in Southern Maryland. (No, I haven't figured out yet how to get there, since I now lack a car. But I know I have to get there.)

Fall 2012: Waterman writing (First Landstead stories).

Winter 2012: The Eternal Dungeon writing.

Spring 2013: Life Prison writing.

* * *

So essentially, my schedule is:

Summers: Waterman research.
Falls: Waterman writing.
Winters: The Eternal Dungeon writing.
Springs: Life Prison writing.

I'll continue that way till I've finished The Eternal Dungeon; then I'll spend my winters working on finishing Michael's House. I'd rather do it that way than take a long break from one of the other three series to finish Michael's House, since those three series are currently fresh in my mind.

As for publishing: as most of you already know, I aim to publish all of my edited stories (including the newest Life Prison stories) as multiformat e-books this summer. Next summer I'll tackle "Law of Vengeance" (The Three Lands), as well as any stories I've written during the composing portion of the year. "Breached Boundaries" (The Three Lands) is scheduled for 2013.

To relieve the tedious bits of publishing, I'll prepare challenge fic and nonfic during the summers. But again, those have to be worked around my main goal, which is to publish as many Toughs novels as possible during the next few years.


RECOMMENDATIONS AND OTHER LINKS

For those of you who haven't seen it already: My recommendation of DevilC's "The Story of a Mouse", fan fiction for my Eternal Dungeon series.


REPLY TO COMMENTS

@Rose Red asked, concerning a word I used in "Twenty Thousand Gold Stars":

"What does 'semester' means? A half of school year, like in the uni?"

Yes, exactly. Most American schools - all the way from kindergarten to college - divide their year into a fall semester and a spring semester.

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