Monthly Report: April and May 2013
Posted by Abhinav Jain
And once again it appears that I have failed to get one of these (or two rather!) out on time. The first couple of weeks in May were pretty tight since I was both working on edits for the novella while also working on the prequel short story, so that never happened. And once again, I just go too lazy last weekend to work on this. Weekdays just aren’t that good for me generally to do one of these things. Takes too much time. But can’t putit off forever, either, so here it is.
Lots has happened in the last couple months and this is how the writing and reading went down in both April and May. You can find the March Report here.
2013 Writing Challenge
1. Dharmayoddha: Warrior of Faith
I completed the edits on the novella towards the end of April, doing some big marathon sessions (relatively speaking, since editing I find to be much more involved than the writing for some reason, possibly because now I have to think about everything!). It certainly wasn’t easy, but I managed to get around my various plot holes quite a bit, making it all that much more plausible so nothing stands out in a negative way.
I’m actually quite happy with it at this point and I’ve started sounding out the market a little bit to see where I can get it published. As I discussed with a friend, a small press is the best way to get the novella noticed. There’s always self-publishing, but to be honest, I don’t want to go down that route just yet. Not without exhausting the traditional publishing avenues first.
Will see how it goes. Suffice to say, the novella is complete and is as good as I can make it at the moment.
2. Dharmasankat: Crisis of Faith
To be honest about this one, I completely panicked towards the end of April. I had left this off too long, and with only 20 days left on the deadline (15th May), I was pretty much stressing out over this. But, soon as I completed the edits on the novella, I jumped on this, and began writing as fast as I could, hoping in between that it would all make sense by the time I was done. And it wasn’t all about just getting the writing done, since I had to do edits as well, to make sure that the story had the best chance of getting accepted, even though the anthology already had a stellar line-up.
Get it done I did, and in the process also deleted ~1,800 words in one go and rewrote all of it in two rushed (and panicky!) nights. I got the edits barely done in time as well, but managed to send it off before the deadline, leaving it all in the hands of the Holy God of Words.
And the God was kind and the harvest was bountiful. It has begun. I will be published in Manifesto UF: An Anthology in September alongside some great author friends and I’m really looking forward to it. You can add the book to your Goodreads shelves here.
3. Ragnarok Chronicles #1: Cloak of Secrecy
Been a real quite 2 months on this, or 3 I suppose since I haven’t done any actual writing on this since February or thereabouts. Problem is that I’ve reached a point in the novel where I’m writing some tough scenes that I just can’t get straight, and so far all that I have is extremely mediocre. I considered rewriting bits and pieces of it, but that would, honestly, be far too disheartening.
But all the same, I do like the direction I’ve gone, so I’ve decided to keep it all for now, and am working on getting myself out of that funk. I did manage to get down about 600 words last night and finally closed a most troublesome scene, in that it was a very cliched scene and will most likely make any readers go “WTF is this?” if they read it.
Fortunately, I have the benefit of not having even done the editing on it :D
4. Black Library
Again, no news of any windows coming up, and no word on the last year’s window either. Quite disheartening.
5. Sons of Corax FanFic
Nothing on this as yet.
6. The Blog
April was a busy month for “Names: A New Pespective” – I had Brian McClellan, Christian Schoon, Michael J. Martinez, Evie Manieri, and Nathan Long stop by first of all. Then, I also put out a new schedule of posts, which you can find here. I’ve a really good line-up this time around, and lots of fun authors as well, some of whom have already stopped by for May – Jean Johnson, John C. Scott, Stephanie Saulter, Scott Lynch, Robbie MacNiven, C. L. Werner, James Maxey, Patrick Hester, and, Francis Knight.
I’ve said it before: putting all these posts together and conversing, however briefly, with all these authors is just great. Getting some of my absolutely favourite authors like Nathan, Jean, C. L. Werner, Brian, Michael and James is even more of a thrill. Not to mention my writing buddies John and Robbie. So much good fun.
There were a few editorials on various topics that also went up in April, namely my thoughts on DC’s proposed but now-cancelled plans to kill off Green Lantern John Stewart, attending the 2nd Middle East Film and Comic Con (with lots of pictures!), and my second Publishing & Marketing column, on Night Shade Books and their proposed asset sale to Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing. As things currently stand, the deal has been completed and Night Shade is being reformed as an imprint under Skyhorse who will have all the print distribution rights and will directly manage the imprint while Start will have the digital distribution rights.
May was just as busy on that front, as it turned out. I posted my thoughts on my first ever Free Comic Book Day that also included a slight updated on the novella and the short story. There was my editorial about empires and kingdoms in fantasy that last for thousands of years “without change”, inspired quite heavily by a blogpost from Rachel Aaron. The discussion, both on the blog and in social media about this was quite interesting and illuminating, and I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. And Zachary Jernigan stopped by once more for a guest post, this time about “Keeping Up With The Sandersons“, in which he talked about his experiences reading the big names of SFF and how he is generally turned off with the writing and so on. Its a great post, so do read it.
Finally, there was my 2-week reading poll for novels to read in June. I’ve already posted my initial thoughts on the results here, but I’m still pretty damn gobsmacked at the reaction to it. Its just amazing what social media interaction between authors and fans can do.
Currently, I’m working on getting out more of my own content on the blog. I’ve noticed that I depend a little too much on the author guest posts to provide any regularity, and I want to avoid that, or at least mitigate it as much as I can. Which is why I’m trying to get something out every 2-3 days in between the NANP posts. And its not like I don’t have things to talk about either, far from it, so its fun stuff. Keep an eye out for all the great stuff happening!
7. The Founding Fields
Admittedly, I have a bit of OCD with my reviews writing. I want to review everything, but the reality is that that’s never going to happen. I simply read too much to keep abreast of the reviews of all the material in the process. Not to mention that whole 20-day stretch in April/May during which I was focused on getting my writing done, and it was rather easy to fall behind on everything. I’m still behind, with about 3 novel reviews and about 10-11 graphic novel reviews backlogged, which is not doing any great things for my OCD and the stress. But that’s the life of a reviewer. Its not enough for us to have to work our way up through Mount Toberead, we also have to work our way up Mount Getreviewsdone too.
Life is so not fair. Bah!
There were only two contributions to my demands of reviewing guest post series – Bane of Kings, and, Mihir Wanchoo – in April. Things kind of just petered out and I wasn’t able to get around to getting more of those done. All the same, its been great reading all these posts, knowing that we all face some common challenges and that we all still stick with this hobby, which has its own rewards and is, in general, quite pleasant. At the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll be doing any more of these, but never say never.
There were 10 reviews and 8 articles on various topics for April, with 13 reviews and 3 articles in May in total. Not as much as I usually get done, but still far better than I was getting around this time last year, so that’s an improvement I suppose. Haven’t gotten around to any guest reviews this past two months, but things are certainly going to pick up on that front soon, so watch out.
8. Just Beyond Infinity
Just one review these past two months - G.I.Joe: Retaliation, which I saw in 3D. A most disappointing film. I saw a bunch of other movies as well, but for some reason I’m just not feeling the same kind of reviewing love for them that I have for comics and novels. Passion just isn’t there. I’ve been meaning to get a review of Iron Man 3 and Star Trek 2: Into Darkness done for quite some time now but that hasn’t materialised either. Will see how that works out.
I mentioned previously that I had some ideas I wanted to explore for this this year, but nothing concrete had happened until March. Things are looking to be on the up and up however. While my untitled fantasy project hasn’t seen the light of day in a while, I did manage to do a fair bit of world-building for a completely different project. This one is a superhero novel that features a female Indian superhero. I have to say that I am extremely excited for this one. Drawing on lots of inspiration for this one and I did a thousand words on this a couple days ago as well, getting a fair bit of the prologue/chapter one done. Not yet sure if I’ll be writing this or another project for NaNo this year, but either way, I’m not in short supply of ideas.
For both April and March:
- Cloak of Secrecy – 0 words
- Dharmayoddha – ~3,500 words
- Dharmasankat - ~8,117 words
- Starfighter/Shadowblade Mash-up – 0 words
- Untitled Fantasy Project - 0 words
- Founding Fields
- Reviews – 39,285 words
- Articles – 6,942 words
- Blog - 16,497 words
- JBI - 2,226 words
- Superhero Project – ~3,000 words
Total: ~79,657 words for two months (average: just a bit shy of ~39,800 words) which isn’t too bad per se, but its quite clear that I’m falling behind on a few things, and need to catch up. Need to get more writing done, especially my fiction writing. Now that I have the impetus of having made my first fiction sale, I want to continue on that high and keep chipping away at it.
Yearly total: ~188,591 words, out of a total target of 450,000 words. My spreadsheet tells me that I’m just barely on target at the moment, with a very slim lead on that total Can’t have that now, can we. I need to write more! And find time to read more! Aaaargh!
2013 Reading Challenge
Some progress on my “mini” reading challenges:
- Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 2013 – 11/25. Good progress on this, having read Culture #1: Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks, Mistborn #1: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Dragonlance Chronicles #1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Dark Elf #1: Homeland by R. A. Salvatore, and, Hadrumal Crisis #1: Dangerous Waters by Juliet E. McKenna. As things stand, I’m pretty much on target for this now, and barring any bizarre stuff happening, no reason why I can’t hit the goal.
- Most Anticipated Releases of 2013 – 23/51. Too many books to list individually here, but definitely check out the challenge page for the details. A lot of these books have been damn fine reads, with only a few that have proven to be disappointing, a very small few I should add. For June, I have yet to read a book from this list however since I’m reading books from my poll and haven’t gotten around to one of these just yet. So in July and August I will no doubt be playing catch up. Oops!
- March Comics Poll – 16/20 (by May 31st). Haven’t really been keeping up with this, I’m afraid. Its gotten to the point where I look at it more as a slog than an activity which is fun. There have been a fair few duds throughout, so that has contributed to the funk as well. All the same, I just finished the Sinestro Corps arc for the Green Lantern titles, and that has gotten me back in the game, not to mention that I’m going to be reading Rucka’s Wolverine as well soon, so I have that to look forward to as well. Fun times! And I’ve been working on getting more reviews out as well for this, though there’s still a lot of work to be done on that note.
All in all, the meta-challenge counter was 183/350 by midnight May 31st. I haven’t experimented all that much really, apart from reading Indian high fantasy, so most of the reading has been along the lines of things I already enjoy. Hoping to shake things up later this month!
As ever, you can follow the progress on my reading for the year here.
Reading in general has been a teeny-weeny bit slow, but I still read enough to make sure that I had ample stress when I had to make the best of the month selections. Here they are.
Honourable Mention [Comics]: Fairest Vol.1 by Bill Willingham, Birds of Prey Vol.4: Sensei & Student by Gail Simone, and, G.I.Joe: Cobra Vol.1 by Christos Gage and Mike Costa.
Top 3: Theirs Not To Reason Why #2: An Officer’s Duty by Jean Johnson, Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter, and, Hadrumal Crisis #1: Dangerous Waters by Juliet E. McKenna.
Top 3 [Comics]: New 52: Earth 2 Annual 2013 by James Robinson, Star Wars #5 by Brian Wood, and New 52: Batgirl #16 by Gail Simone.
You can find the full list here.
Some new acquisitions -
- Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra by Rajiv G. Menon – Thanks to Amish Tripathi’s very promising and heartening Indian high fantasy The Immortals of Meluha, I’m on a bit of a kick for reading more in the genre, and this is part of it. The blurb makes it sound like a very Indian sword/sorcery novel, and I’m looking forward to reading this one. It definitely sounds like a lot of fun!
- The Krishna Key by Ashwini Sanghi – More of the above, but a more urban fantasy slant look likes. The legends of Sri Krishna are one of the most enduring ones in Hindu mythology and the cover for the novel gives it a very The Da Vinci Code vibe, although much more fantastical. Another highly anticipated read!
- Farseer Trilogy #1: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – This one is part of my 25-in-13 reading challenge. Should be fun. Robin Hobb’s books come highly recommended.
- Supergirl #13-20 by Michael Green and Michael Alan Nelson – Michael Alan Nelson is taking over the title from #20 and I kind of want to catch up to that point, so I went and splurged on all the backissues I’ve missed. Michael Green’s run has been fairly lukewarm, and I have no excitement for the H’el on Earth crossover because I think it sounds rather… mediocre, but all the same, it is Supergirl. So yeah!
- Superman #13-17 by Scott Lobdell – Lobdell isn’t the best writer writing for DC right now. His Teen Titans has had a decent enough run, although the last few issues have been kinda meh and WTF, but he took over Superman starting from #0 and I kinda liked it. Not to mention that these issues are part of the crossover as above, and I hate to read incomplete stories.
Posted on June 11, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, 24FPS, Book Reviews, Challenges, Comics Reviews, Editorial, Guest Posts, Monthly Reports, Original Work, Review Central, Submissions, The Founding Fields, Writing and tagged 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, 24FPS, Book Reviews, Comics News, Comics Reviews, Debut Authors Guest Series, Dharmasankat, Dharmayoddha, Editorials, General, Getting Published, Guest Posts, Just Beyond Infinity, Manifesto UF, Monthly Reports, Names A New Perspective, NaNoWriMo, New Acquisitions, Original Work, Publishing & Marketing, Steubenville, Submissions, The Founding Fields. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.