I Was Only Pretending to Procrastinate

I just finished my first real read-through of the first draft of book three of The Songbird River Chronicles, The Fount of Magic.

I finished writing that draft… um… a while ago.

And while I did, in fact, beat myself up over the fact that I was spending all of this in-between time NOT editing it and preparing it for publication, I find now that the distance has actually been extremely helpful.

First off, I had a chance to forget some of the story. Oh, I remembered the big overarching skeleton of the piece, and lots of chunks of the flesh, but some of the details had escaped me. I actually went back and reread books 1 and 2 as well to get back into the story.

Second though, and more importantly, I’ve had time to grow as a writer between finishing the draft and now. I’ve been reading a whole lot for pleasure lately, as well, something I haven’t had time to do since I was in high school, really. I’ve been critical of the books I’m reading, picking out things that I think work really well and things I can see don’t work at all, and I’m analyzing them as best I can. It’s been really fun going through my own work now and using those skills to see how I can make the second draft actually work.

That isn’t to say that the draft is broken, currently. It works, the story is there, and it’s pretty decent. Pretty damn good in lots of places, to be honest. It’s just the bits in between those “pretty damn good” chunks that need some reworking.

And that’s where this whole distance thing is coming into play. Because, when I first finished the draft and immediately turned around and read through the thing again to attempt some clean up, I floundered. I knew it needed something, but I just could not tell what it was. I knew particular chapters flagged, but for the life of me, I had no idea how to make them crackle the way the other chapters did.

So I got frustrated, and I put the draft aside.

And now, many, many months later, when I opened it up and read through chapter one (which needs some not insubstantial work, though is by no means the worst offender) the answer immediately snapped into place in my head. The same thing happened when I got to my other trouble chapters.

Two chapters will need heavy rewriting, and I mean total scrapping, tossing out the window, light those suckers on fire because just GAG me already they sucked. Most of the rest need some light reworking to adjust the information flow, or to adjust for the major changes in those rewrite chapters.

But there are some that I’m just not touching, because as far as I can tell, they are in exactly the form they need to be. Those are the chapters that I was reading along, and suddenly realized I’d forgotten I was editing them. They’d sucked me in, and I’d just been going on a ride with them.

Like I was reading a real book! An entertaining one! With plot and characterization and pacing that worked properly!

And when that happened, I stepped aside, patted myself on the back (because, as writers, we don’t acknowledge our own good work often enough. I say, if your own work carries you away like that, let it! That’s the whole point of writing, after all!), and made myself reread the section more critically.

So, long story short, I no longer feel so guilty about the procrastination. Well, I do, but I feel it worked out for the better this way.

I’ve got the house to myself this Saturday. I’m planning to make some decent headway into this thing, now that I’ve got my edits outlined. Maybe I can even wrap it up before we leave for our Germany vacation in a week?

So long as I don’t start procrastinating again…

Second verse, same as the first

So in my last post, I told you all about my first short story publication in the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and how that was awesome due to a number of factors, including the fact that both me and my dad have stories in it. If you haven’t taken a look at that anthology yet, you really should, especially if you have middle-grade kids who might enjoy reading some science fiction aimed at them.

But today, I have to apologize for what may seem like a repetitive posting.

Two days ago, the Fiction River anthology Pulse Pounders was published. This anthology is really cool, because not only does it mark my second short fiction publication, it also marks the second anthology in which both my father and myself have stories! (Could this be an emerging trend? Is there more Collins take-over to come? Stay tuned, loyal readers!)

Pulse Pounders also features a never-before published original Frank Herbert (Dune) story, so that’s really super cool. Here’s the cover for your enjoyment!

FR Pulse Pounders ebook cover web

Yeah, my dad’s name is on the cover, and that means that half of mine is, too! This is how I know I’ve “made it,” my friends. *self-deprecating laugh*

Another sweet thing about this anthology is that, if you pick up the Kobo special edition, you’ll get some extra stories that aren’t in the print or other e-versions! How cool is that?

This anthology is full of exciting stories, from action to thrillers and lots of stuff in between. My story, “Frostburnt”, is a traditional fantasy, but the stories cover a range of genres. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be bored reading this collection, so check it out!

Published!

It’s official! One of my short stories, “The Sugimori Sisters and the Interplanetary Concept Clash”, has been published! And what’s way cooler is that my dad has a story in the anthology, too.

The 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is available now on Amazon in e-format, and will soon also be available in print. It’s full of science fiction stories aimed at middle-grade kids, and especially focuses on inclusion of girls. There are tons of great stories in here, and I’m honored to include my own beside them. Give it a look!

 

Also, I will be speaking on a few panels at ConFusion 2015 next weekend. I hope to see lots of people there and talk about lots of fun stuff!

An Article About ME!

I recently went to my hometown of Columbus, IN to visit my family and to attend a local festival. We had a lot of fun, both with the family and the festival, but I also took a little time out to be interviewed by a writer for a local publication that focuses on women in the community. The publication is called SHE Magazine, and features articles about how women from the Columbus area are doing their own special things. My special thing, of course, is that I write and have published two novels!

The article came out earlier this week, and I thought I’d shamelessly share it here with all of you. Because I’m awesome, of course, and everyone deserves to know that!

The article about ME starts on page 26. You should check out the rest of the magazine, too, since it’s pretty cool in general.

Obviously, this means that I have achieved “famous” status. The money should be rolling in by the truckload now, right? I’ve “made it,” now, right? RIGHT?


I’m chugging along on a new short story, having achieved 1,000 words on it so far. The finished product should be no more than 6,000, so this is good progress. I’m really enjoying this story, and I’m excited to figure out the best way to tell it. After all, often times the way we first envision telling a story is not the best way to go about it IT ALL. This results in frustration, of course, (especially in longer pieces) but it’s a good kind of frustration, the kind that lets you tear your hair out for a little while, but then sits you down and makes you work to turn something that’s good into something that’s really great (or, at least, better than what it started out as, right?)

And, even though there is frustration, there is satisfaction, too, once you know what needs to be fixed and have an idea of how to go about it. After the hair has been torn and the head bashed against the wall.

Writing is fun! Remember, I’m famous now. You can trust me.

 

New release announcement, and reflections on Detcon1

So, my new book is published! The Southern Dragon is available now through Amazon, Kobo, NOOK, Smashwords, and Google Play, both in print and ebook formats! You can find links to it in my Books and Stories page above. The price on Singer has dropped, as well, in celebration! Check it out, and if you like it, please leave a review in your preferred reviewing location. It’d be much appreciated!

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As I mentioned, I had some plans for this past weekend’s Detcon1 surrounding my promotion of the book. While my sweepstakes to win free copies of my books didn’t pan out, I did manage to pass out a number of my business cards. I’m hoping to see some results from that at some point, though we will just have to wait and see. The con itself was fun, with lots of interesting and useful panels surrounding aspects of the business. Of course, there were lots of whimsical panels as well, but I kept myself to the business oriented ones. I listened to Neil Clarke (the publisher/editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, to whom I have been furiously attempting to sell my short stories) speak on two panels, one about the state of Science Fiction magazines today, and one about what sorts of things editors and agents are looking for in stories and submissions. I heard another panel talk about the economics of self-publishing, though I can’t say that one was particularly useful to me, since I’ve been doing this for a little while now and have already experienced a number of the things they talked about. I also attended a panel discussing covers, which was interesting from an artistic standpoint.

It’s definitely interesting to listen to other people who are essentially trying to accomplish the same thing as you are talk about how they have been going about it, or what else they plan to try in the future. The debate on whether or not to go full indie publishing or to hold out for a traditional publisher’s notice still rages, with both sides giving good arguments. For now, I think I intend to remain an indie publishing author, but I am trying to keep my mind clear and unbiased as I go forward with this venture.

Anybody else have Detcon experiences to share? I’d love to hear about them!

Wearing the Publisher Hat

I’ve been working for the past week or so on things to get ready for publishing The Southern Dragon. It’s getting really close now! I’ve got the proof copy in my hands, and am pouring over it to make sure it’s up to snuff before hitting that ‘publish’ button. I’m hoping to publish in time for Detcon next weekend. I already have some tweaks I want to make to the cover, and we’ll see how the interior goes as I read through it. Hopefully there aren’t too many mistakes!

In the mean time, I’ve also been working on some other business-y things, such as getting more organized with my finance tracking and putting together some promotional plans. I’ve got these snazzy little business cards that I’ll be handing out at the convention. They have information on my two books and my publisher website, including a QR code to it. They’re meant to be easy hand-outs, and I’m hoping to get them printed up sometime early this week. I’ll also be running a sweepstakes, I guess? I’ll have a sign-up list and be giving away three free e-copies of Singer and The Southern Dragon to randomly selected participants. The hope there is that these lucky people will read and review my books, thus bringing me more publicity.

I’m considering doing something similar on twitter, once I can figure out how the logistics will work.

I also have plans in the works to set up a newsletter soonish. Still working on that, but would like to have it set up and the first issue out this week if possible.

I did manage to get some bits and pieces of writing in during this time, and actually finished the first draft of a short story yesterday, but to be honest, the publisher stuff can be distracting sometimes. It’s got its own sort of fun-ness to it, and it feels hella productive, but when it comes down to it, doing your publishing duties is necessary, but not a substitute for writing. I’m still learning how to balance my time between the two. I’m in a scramble to be all publisher, all the time right now due to the upcoming con, which I think is okay, but once it’s over, I’ll be returning to more focus on writing for a while. I had been hoping to start on my next novel earlier this month, but it will probably end up having to wait until after the con just because I’m so busy getting ready for it.

 

In other news, it’s the last game of the season for Detroit City FC today, unless we make it into the tournament… I dunno, I’m not the knowledgeable one on soccer in my family. But we’re going to the game and screaming and shouting to push them to a win today. I know a lot of people who aren’t ready for the season to be over yet.

 

Finishing

Today, I finished the first draft of The Fount of Magic.

Yay!

This one came with a five-week long hiatus, a segment of the “mid-book blues” as some call it. That time was painful, because I felt like I just wasn’t being a good human being. I wasn’t writing, so I felt like a failure in everything else I did, too. Like I was just wasting time.

But I got over it, and got back to the writing. Those first few days back at the keyboard were painful. I had pitiful word counts. I hated everything I wrote. But I did it.

Eventually, the pace picked up, and it became easier, because it was fun again.

And now, I’m finished with the first draft.

While I’m definitely glad to be finished (it means I can move on to all of the other projects I’ve got stacking up in my to-write list! Yay!!!) a part of me is not looking forward to NOT having the novel to come home to after work. It had gotten to the point that I would walk in the door, pet the kitty, and then sit down to say hello to the novel. Sure, there’s still editing to do, and that’s fun, too. But it’s not the same as when you’re sitting there, pushing yourself to just put thirty more words on the page. Only thirty, and you’ll break 3,000 today!

Obviously, since I’ve already stated I’ve got more projects, new novels will come along in the near future.

But now this one is done, and I will miss it.

We had our laughs and our hard times, and in the end we came out with a pretty good draft. But now it’s time to move on.

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