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Between LJ malfunctioning and my family visiting (which was gratifying and tiring), I have been kept busy.

Finally got into the head of my narrator for my Yuletide story and wrote an exceptionally gratifying first line.

Sent in my Cthulhu for Christmas story, which was definitely and finally titled Gift of the Magus, and received my paycheck for it, which was immensely satisfying. You guys, people are paying me to write things! And I have been published! Now if only I can unite the two and get people to pay me for publication...


Nov. 28th, 2011 02:50 pm
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Rough draft of Spirit of the Season / Gift of the Magus is done. If you have already volunteered to beta, it is on its way to you. If you have not volunteered but would like to beta-read, this is your last chance, ;-) !
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Coffee with eggnog: still delicious!

I have already written 562 words today. For those of you keeping track, that's 134,254 words so far this year.

More importantly, I have finally cracked the problem of the Cthulhu Christmas story. It's only about 20% finished, but I know exactly how it progresses, what its twists and turns are, and how it ends. I don't need to keep working on all four drafts, I have one that will work, solidly, splendidly, and pretty terrifyingly.

I have watched The Phantom of the Opera three times in the last sixteen hours, and let me tell you it is a marvelous tool for inspiring a proper sense of drama, if that's the sort of mood you need in order to write.

I also created a second Twitter account so I could try some different storylines in Echo Bazaar, and I have already exhausted all my turns for the day in both accounts.

Maybe I should ask for some Fate for Christmas?

How are all of you today? My weekend is looking up.
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Stalled at 300-something words for the day right now.

Actually writing That Thing I Am Being Paid To Write, version 3.

Time to see if more coffee will break the creative stalemate.

I'm back!

Oct. 23rd, 2011 09:10 pm
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I got 2447 words of fiction written, mostly on the next couple chapters of The Hellion Prince, but also including three (mutually exclusive) openings to my Cthulhu Christmas story.  I also read a lot, though I didn't nearly make it through all 17 books.  In fact, I almost exclusively read graphic novels, but some of them were big enough to take up novel-length stretches of time.

I read:

Amulet, Volume 3: The Cloud Searchers
by Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Volume 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

This series continues to be fantastic and far more nuanced than a first glance at it appears.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Volume 2, Flashpoint  This was a re-read, because I can never keep track of which volumes of this I have read and which i have not, but it was still enjoyable.

Superman: The Wrath of Gog  Like most Superman stories, this was one was crap.  In my not-so-humble opinion, Superman stories are only worth telling when the author puts an ethical dilemma center-stage:  the kind of problem that power cannot solve.  Otherwise, Superman has a tendency to turn into a blustering slugfest finished either with a Dramatic Punch or a deus ex machina.

Kill Shakespeare: Vol. 1 by McCreery, Del Col, and Belanger.  I've heard a lot of good things about this series, and it's intriguing to me, with its metafictional concept; but the writers are frankly sloppy at crafting good Elizabethan dialogue, especially when it comes to grammar, and in other ways the execution is imaginative but so far fairly directionless.  Still, I'd read the next volume in the hope that it improves.  They better stop mixing up thee, thou, and thy; however.  That shit is unforgivable.

Justice League of America:  When Worlds Collide.  Written by Dwayne McDuffie.  Meh.  Not great, not terrible.  not one of McDuffie's better efforts.

Castle Waiting, Volumes 1 & 2, by Linda Medley.  Frankly fantastic.  An entertaining but original remix of folklore with a spectacular and diverse cast of characters (and boy are they characters) and an intriguing, if slow-building, plot.  The plot moves well through Volume I and nearly stalls entirely in Volume II, but watching the characters interact with one another was well worth my time.  Still, when I get my hands on Volume III, a little more better happen.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.  Actually the second book in the Mistborn trilogy, and I have not read the first, but it does a good job of standing alone.  I was relatively impressed by the worldbuilding, very impressed by the magic system and the plot twists.  Some of the characters were one-dimensional but others were incredibly nuanced, and the prose was uneven but better than average on the whole.  I'm definitely going to track down the first book in the trilogy, and almost certainly the third as well.  'Original' is not something I say often about epic fantasy series; but I'll say it about this one.

Alex Rider:  Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz.  This series is more or less equivalent to James Bond, but centered around a modern teenager; and this is apparently the final title in the series.  The series as a whole is a great adaptation of the unique Bond blend of action-excitement, techno-gadget porn, cheesy names and plots, and genuine drama; and the last book fully lives up to the promise of the series.  At times, certain scenes were so evocative that my brain actually conjured the James Bond soundtrack to play in my head.  I can only hope that Horowitz will get Conan-Doyled into continuing these books.

Seven titles to go, and I expect I'll get to them later this week.  With luck, I may even review them...

matt_doyle: (boom de yadah)
Part of this is because I'm in between the spans of a pharmaceutical study, and can therefore gleefully resume my caffeine consumption.  Part of it, however, is that I've just received my second paid commission for fiction.  [personal profile] necromommycon needs a short story to go out with her Christmas letter this year, so between now and December I have to write 2000 words of Christmas-themed Lovecraftian fantasy.   My intention is to hammer myself out a rough draft before November comes around, and then spend a comfortable month revising, so if anyone has any particularly entertaining notions for how to combine Cthulhu and Christmas, I'm open to suggestions.

She is, in this case, buying exclusive rights for a one-year timespan, after which the story will revert to me.   This means, yet again, that the story will not be posted on my blog, but I will discuss plot and process as I go along; so anyone who wants to be added to that filter will see snippets, and anyone volunteering to beta-read for me will get to see the whole thing.

In other news, I owe another Scum and Villainy update and another Broken Road update, if anyone is interested in seeing those.  They rarely get comments, so I'm not sure how much good posting the summaries is doing anyone, though certainly it helps me to remember what the Hell is going on so I don't muddle my own campaign canon.

I have written exactly six words of fiction so far today -- four words in one chapter of The Hellion Prince, and two words in a different chapter.  Heh.

Not much to report from the rest of my life, except that I just returned ten library books which I read over the past week, and have now checked out another eighteen.

Haven't been blogging my reading as much as I intended to, but binges like this are part of the reason why; :-).

I have every non-winning piece for McDonald's Monopoly, as well as three free Medium Fries.

And now, to fiction.


Aug. 29th, 2011 03:49 pm
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Sent in two drafts of The Shepherd's Rule to [personal profile] hradzka at 3:48 PM Central Time. One is 6,995 words long, but sounds a little too terse for my taste -- much as I like The Old Man and the Sea, my intent was not to produce a Hemingway pastiche. The other version, which I called the "Director's Cut," is 9,208 words long; and I feel it's stronger... but somewhere in between would be better.

And of course, being my long-winded self, what I'd really like to do is trim down the Director's Cut a little, then add three scenes that are in the outline, but never got written. I think they'd add a lot of nuance, but since I was already running far too long, and they were not necessary, I let them drop. The economy of short fiction has always been tough on me.

Either way, I think it's a story that can stand on its own merits. As I look for another market to sell to, I will continue to tweak it until I get it right.

Special thanks go out to my heroic betas: Megan, Teresa, Thomas, and Vynessia. Without them this would not have been possible.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.
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Wordcount: it's UNDER NINE THOUSAND!
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Sent off to betas. What a monster. Trimming 3300+ words off this story won't be easy, but it is do-able (and the story will benefit).

Tomorrow sometime I will post that filtered post I mentioned with world-building, plot, and character details that seem interesting or relevant. And I'll let you know when my editing is through and I have submitted the story for approval.

In the meantime, rest.
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Megan is typing up the handwritten ending now. Should be in your inboxes in about an hour, definitely in under two. Sorry about the string of delays, guys.
matt_doyle: (Default)
Wrestling with the end of the climax and the denouement. My deepest apologies to my faithful betas, but ETA is now 7-8 PM. Life is also throwing scheduling obstacles in my way. As noted before, I'm still happy to give you a full day for a thorough sweep - it just means I won't likely have time to send it out to you for a second review.

I have to admit, there's a big part of me that still cannot believe that I have actually managed this wordcount in this timeframe. That little critical voice all artists of any stripe have thought that it would take me years to achieve this sort of output, if ever. That voice has received a body blow. I would never have attempted this now if not for receiving this challenge. I'm strongly considering shifting my daily quota upward again when all this is done.

I am also, very definitely, still willing to offer commissioned fiction of any length up to 10k at a rate of 5 cents per word. If there are any interested takers feeling charitable, who want anything from drabble-length on up, let me know. I'll have it done within a day + 1 day per thousand words. And if my current story is a representative sample, then i firmly believe any customers/patrons/donors will get their money's worth.
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LAST CALL FOR BETA-READERS, if anyone else is interested. I expect to be sending this out at 2 or 3 PM, about 9000 words of flavorful dark fantasy. Working title, unless or until my betas have something better for me, is The Shepherd's Rule, and it's cut for brief, spoilery summary )

I need to cut between two and three thousand words of it by Monday, and there's a lot of world-building weirdness, so more veteran beta-readers are always appreciated. It will not be going up on my journal once it is done, as the electronic rights will hopefully no longer be mine, so for my usual reading crowd, remember that beta-ing this may be your only chance to see it for a long time.
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Ugh. Tough call, but I think right now the story is going to benefit from me getting four hours of sleep more than me soldiering on in caffeine-addled dementia through the climactic scenes. Betas, sorry for the delay. I will get the finished product to you ASAP tomorrow, hopefully before noon, and will not expect feedback in less than the initially-promised 24 hours (though if you can get it to me more quickly, that would be great -- but I'd rather have a thorough review Sunday afternoon than a rushed one Saturday night).
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It's going to be 9000 words in rough draft, but there is a lot of fat for me to trim. Writing The Hellion Prince has made me prone to stylistic excess in my verbiage, which works for the decadent, baroque feel of the novel, but is the antithesis of what I am trying here.

And I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a lot of words left, but I know what they are. I'll be able to finish it tonight. And it's working for me.
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Writing longhand at the moment and getting a wordcount too good to interrupt it by actually counting. Betas, don't stay up waiting; but it will definitely be there in the morning. Current ETA is 4 AM.

It's getting better as it goes. After a couple of editing passes, I am confident that it will be of the quality needed. And that I can trim it down to 6k words from the projected 9k right now, as every 400-word segment I have outlined is turning out to be 600 words.
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Not quite halfway done, but I've done the hard stuff. i've done the set-up. Everything from here on out is conflict and conflict resolution (and a little denouement). Honestly at the moment my biggest worry is that I have spent too long letting things build and not getting to the meat, the action, the source of the tension. I may shoot for 7000 words rather than 6, and try to trim 1000 words of fat off what I have written thus far -- painful, but do-able.

Beta-readers, unless you are night owls, expect the story in the morning -- at my current rate of writing, estimated finishing time is about 2 AM.
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Well. It's been an interesting day, writing-wise. Things are working out the way I intended... more or less. Two characters have had major revisions to them -- one in a trivial sort of way that utterly shifts my world-building; another in a way that makes all my earlier notes on her personality obsolete and worse than useless (but made her a much stronger and more believable character. I had some dumb notes.

I don't know if I'll get my total up to 3000 tonight, but I should be able to manage another 550 or so. My current goal is to send a finished first draft off to my betas ( I have enough but would like more) sometime in the middle of Friday night; and hopefully to hear back before midnight Saturday(is that cool, guys?). Sunday I'll revise and send it out again, and do as much further editing as I can on Monday, whenever I get second-round feedback, right up until an hour or so before my deadline. Then I'll submit it.

I kind of want to make a post or two actually talking directly about my plot and characters, but I don't want to spoil anyone (and especially not either my betas or my patron/challenger). In public posts, I think I will continue to be coy and circumspect, but if anyone would like to be let on a filter where I discuss directly, I can do that (and then unfilter the posts once this whole challenge is done).

Thoughts? My fiends-list has honestly been a little quieter than I expected about this whole thing (though I have very much appreciated the feedback i have gotten).
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Tomorrow I'll shoot for another two thousand. Camina's voice is strong and clear, but some of the other characters are still being a bit coy with me. I've cut one of the cast as superfluous (in a longer story, they'd be downright necessary, but at 6000 words they'd be nothing but a distraction -- in 6000 words you only need Rosencrantz OR Guildenstern). Thinking about adding at least a couple of walk-on parts, though, because there's a point that I need more and different people on-scene for to properly illustrate.
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Those new 500 words are the product of less than an hour's worth of work. The story's rolling now. A third of my cast has been introduced (sadly a couple of them will move offscreen, barring flashbacks, within the next 2-400 words).

I'll report back tonight.
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Plus 435 words of outline and notes on character, setting, theme, and so forth. Still going much more slowly than I want it to, of course. But it's picking up momentum as it goes, and I'm still confident. I'd keep going, but I'm falling asleep. Camina and her friends and family will just have to wait until tomorrow.


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January 2014



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