Week in Review for 2/20/2012 - 2/26-2012

on Sunday, February 26, 2012

It was a pretty good writing week this week. I finished The Ashen Destroyer, clocking it at ~35,000 words. Now I'm onto A Straight Cut, my YA fantasy novel set inside a massive canyon that spans an entire world. We are already selling kids into slavery and branding them with magic brands, so we know this book's gonna be good.

Here's the stats for this week. I haven't written yet today, so I'll count it on next week's.

Words Written: 10,892
Daily Wordcount Average: 1815
Current Project: A Straight Cut
Next Up: Death's Aria edits

Currently Reading: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Page: 60 / 350

I'm not too talkative this week, but we are doing a critique of Death's Aria in writing group this week, so expect edits after A Straight Cut. 

See you next week.

Novella Finished: The Ashen Destroyer

on Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Guess what? I wrote another thing! Glorified fan-fiction...I mean a prestigious novella based on Effulgent Corruption: The Ashen Destroyer!

Guess who the star is. 

This was written as an ease-in while I planned my next book, a sort-of-YA-but-it's-looking-more-like-adult-all-the-time fantasy called A Straight Cut, which uses ideas from the "Canyon Story" blurb I wrote a few years back.

Even though it's glorified fan-fiction, it still gets some stats.

Total Words: 35,782
Days Written: 18
Average Words a Day: 1988
Chapters: 10

Now for some zany stats!

New Characters (not in Effulgent Corruption): Two
Ones I want back in the EC Sequel: One
Main character cameos: Four
Deaths: Seven (but most are in the intro chapter)
Cities Visited: One (Reneta, which we don't see in the main book)

Now that this is done, that means tomorrow I have to start on A Straight Cut, and I'm excited! My goal is to finish the whole book by the end of March, and since the more I plot the longer it seems to be getting, that might actually be a difficult goal. Good thing I finished The Ashen Destroyer early so I have some extra days.

I'm also getting more alpha readers responding back for Death's Aria, and the response has been both positive and extremely helpful. Thanks to all those who are Alphaing it, and if you still want in on this action just shoot me an email or a comment.

That's all from me. Look forward to another Wordle at the end of March!


on Monday, February 20, 2012
It seems I did a "Weekly Word Count" back in the Paradise Seekers days (I was so young and stupid back then!), so my idea isn't actually that original after all. I even made a graphic.

Well, cool. I like how my weekly word count from Paradise Seekers days is way the crap better than my current one. Well whatever, I'm still writing a lot.

Also, after seeing that I dug up my old LJ accounts I had for Brandon's class back in 2010/2009 and...I really hope I'm writing better than I did then, because...it wasn't very good at all. And I was so proud of it, too.

Just wait, two years from now and I'll look back on Death's Aria with horrified embarrassment.

That's it.

Writing Week in Review: 2/13/2012 - 2/19/2012

on Sunday, February 19, 2012

So on my other blog I do a sort of "Week in Review" every...week (duh) that sums up all my reviews for the week and gives a sort of blurb for what I'm going to do (or plan to do) in the upcoming week.

And today I thought "Hey! I could do that for my writing blog, too!" So I'm gonna.

Rather than reviews, since Jason was kind enough to make a google doc that has all my wordcounts, I'll give you some wordcounts, stats, and other fun stuff I decide on.

Words Written: 14,542
Time Spent: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Daily Wordcount Average: 2077
Current Project: The Ashen Destroyer
Next Up: A Straight Cut (YA, fantasy, "canyon story")

Currently Reading: Mistborn: Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson)
Current Percentage: 72%
Percent Increase: 56%
Next Up: The Golden Cord (Paul Genesse)

This week I plan on finishing The Ashen Destroyer, probably on Monday, and then spending most of my time staring up A Straight Cut and planning specifics. Death's Aria is also currently out with Alpha readers, so that'll be the project once I have sufficient feedback. I'm really enjoying writing The Ashen Destroyer mostly because 1. I'm glad to revisit the Effulgent Corruption world and 2. Since it's a novella that probably nobody aside from myself will read, I can just burn through it and not care of it is written like garbage. A note on #2 though: I like the story quite a bit. Minerva has been an interesting character to explore, and while we all know nothing is going to end up good for her in the end, getting there had been a treat. This actually has a character arch and decent twist in it, so it's got that going for it.

So that's me this week. See you next Sunday!

100,000 words is a lot of words

on Thursday, February 16, 2012
What a hi-larious pun

Despite being really, really sick all day (I slept most of the day, and the times when I was awake were spent blowing my nose, hacking, wishing I was dead, or all of the above) I actually managed to do a lot of planning for the next part of The Ashen Destroyer (which happens when you spend most of the day rotating between lying on the couch, lying on the loveseat, lying on the recliner, and then repeating the cycle). So when I sat down to write tonight, I was going to just burn out my minimum of 500 and call it good, but instead I really got into the story (I think that hitting around 2,000 is my breaking point; after that it's really easy to just keep going) and churned out only a couple words shy of 5,000. Which is impressive in its own right (though it doesn't beat Death's Aria's 7200 words on January 28, or Where Gods and Mortal's Dance killer book-finishing blitz of doom that was around 15,000 words in a day), but what I feel is more important is the landmark goal it surpassed.

I made a goal at the beginning of the year to write every day, no matter what, in 2012. Even in this month and a half since then, it hasn't been easy. I've often been really busy, gone to cons, gotten sick, had other plans (I also will write one game review a day minimum, which takes time as well), and more, but I kept at it. I haven't missed a day yet, and my current daily average is ~2,100 words for the year.

The point of this is that, as of tonight, I have written a total of 100,000 new words in 2012. This is not counting any words on my game reviews blog, which I'd bet would add at least 10-20k to that number (I should total those up sometime, just for fun). This also doesn't count any editing that wasn't complete rewriting (aka, I counted rewriting/merging three chapters in Death's Aria, but didn't count the paragraph by paragraph changes I made when editing the rest of it). So yeah, in 47 days I wrote 100,000 words. Not too shabby.

Of course this is only the start. According to my brilliant math skills, if I keep up at this pace I'll churn out ~ 780,000 words in 2012. This beats my 2011 estimate of between 500,000 and 600,000 words (depending on how much of the Steelgods edit I count) which means I'm improving so we'll take it (assuming I can keep this up). My writing word count hasn't been as consistant this year as it was last year, with last year me running about 2000 words a day every day, while now it usually goes from between 1000-1500 every day followed by a massive spike of 5000-6000. So we'll see if I can smooth that out a little (aka write 5000 words every day! Yeah, that isn't going to happen unless I quit my job).

Since this is already a self indulgent post, I'm going to toot my own horn just a little more: initial alpha readers of Death's Aria are starting to give back feedback, and the consensus has been very positive. Granted, none of them are in my current writing group, who I'm certain will tear the whole thing to shreds, but having people say it's their favorite out of all my books is encouraging. As I said before, I wrote it after listening to the pigeon-holed Writing Excuses podcast in an attempt to mix up genres a little, and I ended up liking it a lot more than I expected. Current goal is to get feedback sometime early March, run some hard edits in March (while writing A Straight Cut) and then submit it in April. Hopefully that works as planned.

That's it from me, fellas. Thanks for tolerating me talking about myself for a whole blog post. :D

Abusing your characters

on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
A google image search for "killing characters author" has like six pictures of George R. R. Martin. Makes sense. 

I'm pretty sure I posted on killing characters a while back, but I can't for the life of me find it, and most of my old posts were garbage anyway so it's probably for the best.

Anyway, at LTUE a member of my writing group pointed out that all my stories are depressing. Which isn't fair, it's just all the stories recently have been depressing. That's different.

Pat Rothfuss is frequently quoted for saying that "There are much worse things you can do to your characters aside from killing them." This is very true. We often see death as the "end all" for ruining a character's life, but in truth tormenting them can have a far greater impact. Like killing their family. Or ruining a hope or dream. Or setting stuff up to look like everything will end nicely and then having the worst possible thing happen.

I do this a lot. It's called drama, anonymous writing group buddy. Look into it (I'm kidding, obviously).

Anyway, George R. R. Martin is a great example of this, because often when people are killed they are probably better off for it, because crap just keeps getting worse for everybody else. Yeah, there are a few characters I think should have lived and who died unfairly (the injustice was more offensive than the actual death), but as a whole it's the ones that live that have the worst problems. It keeps the tension constant and staggering, which is also why I've started to burn out at A Feast for Crows (great title, sloooow book).

Also the tension of nobody being safe really keeps the reader on his or her toes. In a Brandon Sanderson novel I know that most of my main viewpoints will probably make it to the end, and the ones that don't will at least die with dignity. Martin doesn't do this. Many, many characters die dishonored, shamed, and unjustly. As Rothfuss said, there are worse things than killing them. Killing them without honor could be one of these.

So that was just my thought as I was writing The Ashen Destroyer. Now go make your characters' lives hell!

Nathan vs LTUE

on Friday, February 10, 2012
Like this, only a convention

So I like LTUE, actually, if only because it tends to have the funnest panels of most cons I've gone to. I'll admit that nothing beats WorldCON for sheer lack of awesome people being there, but for a small Utah convention LTUE really pulls no stops in providing an interesting and informative experience.

What I'm saying is I actually learned something this time, which is better than a lot of other cons I go to where I've heard everything a thousand times already.

It's also fun because most Utah (or Mormon, or both) authors are very sociable and love both their fans and aspiring authors. This makes most of them both approachable and amiable, resulting in a positive culture. Yeah, it can be hard to catch your favorite author when he isn't busy with his 80 billion other fans, but as a whole it is an extremely positive experience.

I also have been actually recognized by people (which also happened at World Fantasy) which makes me feel special. Though it probably just means I'm a world class harasser. I've also had some fun conversations and enjoyed most of the panels (which are heavily writing-oriented) which is also good.

So...yeah. I've been sort of burned out on cons recently (especially panels; I enjoy the socializing aspect when people will actually talk to me. I should probably cut my beard so I look less like a homeless dwarf) but LTUE has been fun. Added bonus that's its local and cheap, so if you are in the Utah valley area: there's still a day left! Come on down! I'll buy you a caffeinated drink! (maybe)

Those of you with Kindles: It's bombing time.

on Tuesday, February 7, 2012
For those who know (or don't know) Larry Correia, I wrote a review of his Monster Hunter International book a while back and quite liked it's. He's a Utah author who specializes in crazy B-movie monster-killing novels that are somehow both incredibly corny and amazingly fun. It's hard to write a B-movie that's actually funny and not garbage, and harder still to do it in book form, so it's impressive that Larry has done this like six times and pretty much hasn't failed yet.

But this isn't about Larry. Well, not really.

Larry is book bombing someone tomorrow, and those unfamiliar should know that Larry has a massive blog following, and he always wants to help out both new or down-on-their luck authors by encouraging his blog members to all buy a copy of a particular author's book at once. When he found out Robinson Wells was diagnosed with severe panic attacks and was laid off from his job, for example, the Larry Book Bomb Brigade (or whatever they are called) managed to buy every single paperback copy of his (great) YA thriller Variant from Amazon.com in one night, pushing it to nearly the top of the charts. It didn't beat out the Hunger Games individual books, but it did beat out the compilation, which is nothing to sneer at.

But this isn't about Robinson Wells either. It's about Paul Genesse.

Paul Genesse is one of my favorite local authors and speakers, mostly because he's just so damned nice. Often times when you go to conventions there are plenty of famous authors and artists that are more than willing to politely tolerate you for a short while, entertaining your visions of grandeur and giving you decent but sometimes repetitive advice. That's all well and good. But something that's stuck out to me about Paul is the fact that he has always been extremely genuine with every conversation I've had with him, be it about ebooks, writing, or whatever. Where others have blown me off or again, simply tolerated my harassment, Paul is an amiable person through and through who has both given advice and listened to what I've learned during my "career" as a poser writer.

He also loves A Song of Ice and Fire, which admittedly puts him in a big group but hey, that's always a plus.

His kindness and patience is especially worth noting as we've (myself and Jason Secrest) run in to the poor guy at nearly ever convention known to man at this point (be it LTUE, CONduit, World Fantasy, or WorldCON) and every encounter Paul has taken the time to introduce us to his friends, colleagues, fellow authors, agents, or editors. Last World Fantasy we even ran into him when he was in the middle of a conversation with other people who are, you know, actually published, but instead of just waving and hoping we'd go away he invited us to just come hang out with them like we were one of the guys. It may sound stupid, but it really makes you feel more confident when you find out other authors are awesome, friendly people, and it helps build that social network everybody blabs on about.

But most importantly it's just being nice, regardless of whether or not you are annoyed that these two punk wannabe authors (one with a big red beard and the other gloriously absentminded) you are still willing to stick your neck out for them because you care, and I think that shows something Paul has that few do: he cares about the industry, he cares about other authors, and for that I applaude him and also stand in a sort of reverent awe.

I realize this is a super-mushy post which probably sounds like me going all fanboy in some attempt to glean recognition, but I honestly really think this way about Paul, and I wanted you to know that because of one simple reason:


The details are on Larry's blog, but basically poor Paul has been sitting on the third book of his series in a sort of limbo. The publisher didn't really want to put it out but they also didn't want to give him the rights to his series back, seeing as the first two still sold a hefty amount of cash. So it was a Catch-22 of sorts. Luckily Paul has gotten all those rights back and is blasting Amazon with all his books, so you should go buy them as stated above and help support an author who cares.

Also his Crimson Pact anthologies are really good, too, so buy those while you're at it. And now in an attempt to scrape the layer of mushy corny cheese off this fluff-filled post, here is a hilarious picture about grammar and baby seals.

Edits, Side-Stories, Fun Times

on Monday, February 6, 2012

I survived "Hell Week" (aka last week) fully intact, and with a lot of productivity to boot. I wrote 6k on my new short-story-now-novella The Ashen Destroyer, churned out 15 reviews on my video game blog, worked 6+ hours a day except the day I spent the whole time in Salt Lake at my internship, figured out what I was going to do for grad school, started up writing group meetings again, and edited 50% of Death's Aria, which included rewriting/condensing the entire first 1/4 of the novel. So hey, it was a reasonably productive week. Now I'm ready for the lazy one, where I only work two days this entire week and am going to LTUE. Yay!

The Ashen Destroyer was finally what made me buckle down and write an Effulgent Corruption timeline, since the novella takes place eight years before the start of the book and twenty years before the bulk of the novel. Though I'm intentionally placing it in a city that was not visited during the main book, there are still a few cameos planned, as well as a few interesting facts that will be fun to write. I'm writing this thing solely for my own personal pleasure: Rook was my favorite character to write in Effulgent Corruption, and I felt that Minerva never really got enough screen time for being another Corrupter. Following her when she was 14 and explaining how she both got her title (The Ashen Destroyer) as well as how she ended up working for Brutus is explained in this side story, so that'll be a fun warm-down. Even if it might end up being 50-60k.

Death's Aria has had some pretty hefty cuts. I lopped off 4-5 scenes at the start of the story, and have seriously decreased several others further on. I've been just basically tightening the story and fixing consistencies overall, rather than doing a severe word-cut (that can happen later) so I can get it out to writing group this week.

Speaking of writing group, we have a massive amount of dudes (and ladies) in our group now, which is pretty good. We've infused it with some much needed new blood, so hopefully everything will move smoothly from here on out.

That's all on my end. Expect some updates for both The Ashen Destroyer and Death's Aria shortly!

And now, fun times with Lantuna, the dead god in Minerva's head. There will be no spoilers for the main book in this novella.

“You are my daughter now.” Minerva could hear the smile in Lantuna’s voice. “Come now, Corrupt him. You know you like the feeling. It’s the same feeling you have when you see Rook only more…intense.”
“Shut up.” Minerva ordered, opening her eyes and looking down at the man. She bit her lip, then slowly eased off his back.
“What are you doing?” Whatever softness had permeated Lantuna’s voice was gone in an instant. “Corrupt him!”
“I’m going to get that information.” Minerva said slowly, wiping the dirk off on her bloodstained shirt and putting it back in its sheath as she ignored Lantuna. “Then I’m going to go to Reneta. You’d better not be here when I leave the camp.”
“You will kill him!” Lantuna was starting to get hysterical; Minerva hated it when she acted like this. “I command you!”
“I…you are sparing me?” The man sputtered. Minerva frowned.
“If you are out here when I’m done digging, then it’ll probably change my mind.”
“But I…I can’t even walk!”
“Then you’d better start crawling.” Minerva stepped over him, heading into the center of camp.