Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Writing Life: February’s Epic Fail

Last month I mentioned my goal of a 500,000 word output in a single year. I think a report card like this every month will keep me honest and accountable. February was a short month, and I was starting a new project. How did I do? Let’s go to the stats:

Projects completed: 0

Projects I was trying to complete: 1

Words typed: 24,963

Target number: 38,356

Shortfall: 13,393

So, basically, February sucked. I’m not making excuses, or anything like that, because I did write something every day. It may have been just a paragraph, but I kept writing every day, despite a couple of catastrophic setbacks in my personal life that all but took me out of the game for about ten days. I’m better now, but the damage is done.

LegendaryGorilla Man Charles Gemora.
I’ve modified my March schedule to allow me time to finish off this project I started in February. It’s called Replacement Gorilla, and it’s a mystery novel I’ve been carrying around in me for ten or more years, now. It’s been made worse by two previous attempts to start it, both ending in failures. The first time out, I had the tone all wrong, and the second time around, I had the voice all wrong.

The good news is this: third time is a charm. I’ve got the tone and the voice just right, and I’m well past my last attempt. Plot is plotted, story is storied, and now all I really need to do is get it out of my head. It’s been tough at times, but my energy high and I’m ready to have this out in the world so people can see it.

I might, if anyone is interested, put some samples up for folks to read. Just a taste, really. A sliver. Throw me a comment or a PM if you want a sneak peek or two.

ConDFW: A Report of Sorts
Part of what got me back on track again was my now-annual pilgrimage to ConDFW. I like this convention, a lot. It’s a great way to shake off winter and gear up for the spring and summer shows. They do good programming and I know a lot of the Dallas SF scene, both fans and pros. But there was something about this year that was a little different, and very cool.

I’m getting a reputation for being a good moderator on panels. It’s not that hard to do, really; you need the confidence and command of the topic to be able to pose interesting questions, and the force of personality to dictate what shape the conversation will take. Acting ability helps, as well as public speaking. Oh, and you have to resist the urge to take over the panel and plug your own stuff, ad nauseum. Okay, come to think of it, maybe there’s more to panel discussions that a lot of people think.

Regardless, I’m good on panels. This year, I had some big crowds, and I also sold several copies of my new book, Empty Hearts, to people I did not know. This was very gratifying. It tells me I’m either: reaching an audience at these shows, or I’m finally putting some stuff out that people want to read. Or maybe both.

I do have a small sect of folks who attend all of my readings. If they are at the show, they are at my reading. Nice people, all. I give good readings. But this was the first time that my reading partner and fellow author, Patricia Burroughs, yielded some of her reading time to hear me read more stuff. She also bought a copy of Empty Hearts, prior to the reading. It was extremely flattering.

This ConDFW was about connections, more than any other. I ended up talking to fellow authors and establishing (and in a couple of cases, re-establishing) connections. To put it another way, I’m finally starting to feel like I belong there. It’s taken some time, and I’m not always the best about putting myself out there, but going to ConDFW and FenCon and making the effort to participate was one of the best decisions I ever made.

The 100th Post
I’d hoped for something more monumental than a state of the union address. Oh, well. What can you do? I’ll get back to posting more Writing About Wonderbook soon. I’m halfway through the book right now. The short answer is this: it's great. If you are on the fence about it, get off the fence and go get a copy.

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