18, March,2013

Well it’s been 2 years of boom and bust (but more bust).

I’m up to 36,000 words.  I’ve checked my daily progress on yWriter and this time last year I had 18,000.  At this rate I’m looking at another 3 years to a first draft of 90,000.

The PC slate is working well on the train, but to get the best from yWriter I find I need to be on my desktop.  I need to have 2 monitors so I can bounce from the chapter I’m writing to my notes and to other scenes.

Here’s a bit of a break down of my output.

  • 20,00 to 25,000 took about 2 months.
  • 25 to 30,000 took nearly 6 months.
  • 30 to 35,000 took a month  and half
  • My biggest day was 1300 words, but the next biggest was 600 words.
  • My daily range when (when I actually start) is 100 to 250 – this is mainly on the train to and from work.

Given this will most likely be another ‘trunk’ novel I’m thinking I might lower my target to 60,000.   I need to go through the process of polishing and completing an entire project.  I don’t want to get into the same cycle of endlessly scratching for more words and fiddling about.  I know 60,000 is in writing no-man’s land, too long to be a novella and too short to be a novel, but I think that might be how long the story is.

If I’m happy with it, and I get good feedback, I might dump it in the seething epub ocean so friends and family can access it.  If I’m really happy with it I might do the Podiobook thing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I’m going to try for a minimum of 150 words a day for at least 5 days of the week, that potentially gives me 3000 words a month and potentially gets me to 60,000 words by November/December.

So let’s be realistically optimistic and aim for a first draft by the end of January.


I’m still at it.

I have abandoned the iPad (for writing).  I picked up a Samsung Series 7 Slate.  Core i5 runing Windows 7.  The interface isn’t as slick as the iPad but I don’t have to fiddle around with a cobbled collection of apps that don’t work as well as one application on a PC.

I can now use Y writer on the train and at home.   I have all the Ywriter files in Dropbox and it’s working well.

I have slowly crept up to 30,000 words and I’m thinking I might aim at making the story a novella rather than hunt around for extra sub plots.  I suspect when I get the main arc done and start revisions they will make themselves known.

Technology driven stagnation

9, November,2011

I have stalled.  I was skipping along until I had a mismatch of technology.

On the train (where I get a lot of writting done) I use Evernote on my iPad, but at home I use Ywriter (free- thank you Simon Hayes who has a YA Spacejock book out).

I got the structure right but transferring files and managing versions became a pain.  I started looking for a different solution, then kind of just stopped.

What I am waiting for is a good cheap Win 7 tablet to replace the iPad

Horray for imagination

7, March,2011

For me, characters and beginings seem to come fairly easily.   At the moment I have some ideas for the middle.

But ends are always a struggle.  I can get them into trouble, but how do I get them out of it.  How does my hapless main character get strong enough to win without changing into something he’s not.

Today it came to me.  I was looking at the main character and I thinking about his arc, and I suddenly realised that the main joke in his back story provided the answer.  I have no idea how that happened. 

I suppose that’s the trick, finding the balance between following process and trusting imagination.

Anyway back to the process.

Insane Optimism 2 – Movies

17, November,2007

I’m in a quandary. I’m not sure how I’d feel about someone making a movie from my (perpetually unfinished) book.

I recently watched the movie version of Vonnegut’s, Breakfast of Champions. Big name cast. It followed the story pretty closely – a brave move. It was utter crap. I don’t think it even came out on DVD in Australia.

I also remember watching Dune (the version with Sting) . Big budget effects, good cast, completely botched screen play. A total mystery for those who hadn’t read the book and almost as bad for those who had. Total flop.
Then there’s I Robot. Big name actor, big budget. The screenplay bore no resemblance to the book. Big hit (not huge, but big).

On a recent podcast I heard a published author compare selling your movie rights to selling a car. “When it leaves the curb it’s no longer yours.”
But what if it’s a car with your name emblazoned on it, that’s being used for something evil, like transporting underprivileged children to a mime school.

Bad luck!

So perhaps it’s better to forget integrity and go for the big bucks.

With that in mind, I’m thinking Scorsese in the directors chair. The over the top, comedy bad guys could easily be vicious, Afghani terrorists, and I suppose my alternative dimension could be swapped for Las Vegas. We’ll bring Arnie out of retirement to play the scrawny, bumbling public servant. As for the dog, that could be replaced by a customised V8 Harley.

When my legion of fans complain, I’ll just blame my over priced New York agent.

What’s your Geek Rating?

20, December,2006

I write Fantasy Humour and I have been looking at whether it is worth attending some of the Fantasy Sci-fi cons, but they seem a bit geeky.


My wife’s comment was along the lines of “so what’s stopping you?”


But I’m not a geek am I?

Ok, I have watched the original Star Trek and all of the spin offs, including Enterprise.  I am also watching Battlestar Galactica and Stargate.  I loved Babylon 5.

The landmark movie of my life is Star Wars Episode 4.

Why I think I am not a full geek.

  • I do not own any Star Trek jewellery.

  • I cannot name a single episode of any Sci-fi series.

  • I do not know any Klingon grammar. 

  • I don’t care if the original series of Star Trek is better than Next Generation.

  • I have no movie action figures (although I could be tempted by a Vegas years Elvis).

  • I have only read Lord of the Rings once.

  • I have never played Dungeons and Dragons or anything similar.

  • I have never played a networked computer game.

  • I have never thought of Laura Croft in that way.

  • I did not put my religion down as Jedi Knight in the last census (I nearly put down Pastfarian, but my wife stopped me).

My brother agrees with my wife.  He cited as evidence:

  • A 500MB MP3 player, a portable MP3 CD ROM and a 30GIG Iriver.

  • I own a PDA and my first PDA was the original US Robotics Palm Pilot.  

  • I have a Web cam, a Skype account, a Second Life avatar (a free one which I almost never use).

  • I subscribe to 21 podcasts, 20 blogs and 2 vlogs.

  • I paid cold hard cash to hire the videos, Buckaroo Bonsai, Battlefield Earth and Starship Troopers.

  • I am prepared to stay up until after midnight to watch all of the previously mentioned TV shows.

Ok, I will cop to being on the bottom end of the Geek spectrum (Rating 1 on a 7 point scale). 

Rating 1 – Geek-like tendencies that do not interfere with normal human interactions i.e. no outward physical manifestation, does not intrude into day to day conversation, does not make people move away when you sit next to them on the train.

What’s your rating?

Like you care!

The short answer is I don’t really remember.

I remember where the first idea came from. I used to work in an Intensive Care Unit and we had these really noisy laminar flow units (air curtains) which also served as the air conditioning for the unit. On night shift we regularly turned a few of them off, but we were told if we turned them all off, water (from somewhere unexplained) would back up and flood the ICU. I had this vision of the ICU becoming a huge ornamental lake with a tasteful hospital ward motif.

I didn’t have a story yet, just this scene, which I later transposed into an office flooded by a dope hydroponic system set up in someone’s cubicle.