Blog Archives

NANP: Gossip Castle

Stopping by the blog today for the latest Names: A New Perspective post is Robbie MacNiven, a fellow Boltholer who got published last year and has been going all out with his love of writing. I haven’t had a chance to read any of his work yet, but it is on the reading pile for sure. As with most other posts that I’ve had a chance and the pleasure to feature on the blog so far, Robbie’s take on names is just as interesting and varied. Here’s what he has to say on the topic.

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Horus Heresy: Thoughts Part 3

In the last installment of this series, it was Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Gav Thorpe, Rob Sanders and John French. This time it is Matthew Farrer, Nick Kyme and Chris Wraight. As it turns out, this past weekend we’ve also had the first ever Black Library Weekender, a two-day weekend event at which there was a ton of information released about the Heresy: more audios, more novels, more anthologies, a new author joining the ranks, and more time-limited edition novellas among other things. So instead of what I thought I’d cover for the fourth installment, It’ll be how the new stuff announced matches up with what I had envisioned. But anyway, here’s today’s writeup for you all.

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Horus Heresy: Thoughts Part 2

Well, I’ve read the 22nd novel in the series by now, the Shadows of Treachery, and it has sparked off more stuff that I think could feasibly turn into a part 4 for this series. Anyhow, last time I talked about this topic, I covered Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Ben Counter and James Swallow. This time its going to be Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Gav Thorpe, John French, and Rob Sanders.

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Horus Heresy: Thoughts Part 1

The Horus Heresy is the bestselling multi-author series from Black Library, contributed to by some of the most talented authors in tie-in fiction. We have had 21 novels so far in the series, along with several audio dramas and two limited edition novellas. The way things are going, it is a given that there will be at least as many publications in the future for the series. The question that arises is, which author should get to writing which book/legion/faction/character etc. It is a fascinating topic as each author who has contributed to the series so far has had his strengths and weaknesses in equal measure and there is an abundance of talent just waiting to be tapped into. So for this blogpost, I’m going to talk a little about that.

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Half-year Report

June 30th came to a close a few days ago, and with it ended the first half of this year. There were a lot of things on my plate that needed getting done for June which, combined with the fact that I had to take a an entire week off writing for a work-related trip, meant that this was going to be an absolutely jam-packed month.

Given my usual levels of procrastination and that week-long trip, June turned out to be almost as good as May (May Report). I did get a few things done and I’m really looking forwards to how July turns out. The month also ended on a high, as you’ll read below after the break.

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First Quarter Report

At the end of January, on the last day to be exact, I did a blogpost about how the month had gone for me writing and reading wise. The plan at that time was to do that at the end of every month. But as it turned out, due to some extenuating circumstances such as two international trips and some other stuff (mostly work), I wasn’t able to knock out the February report. So I’m lumping it here together with the March report. Enjoy!

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Black Library Live 2012

As most of the fandom knows, two weekends back was Black Library Live, which is (so far, at least until November hits) Black Library’s premier event of the year where their authors, editors, and the fans of course all come together for a weekend at Warhammer World, Nottingham. It would be a big understatement for me to say that I was very excited to be attending it, my first Black Library event ever.

Note: Games Day Los Angeles 2008 and Games Day UK 2011 don’t really count.

My expectations of the event were met and surpassed pretty much every single hour of the event itself and all the fun that was had on Friday/Saturday evenings and on Sunday itself.

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January Report

So the month is coming to an end and, in all honesty, it has been quite the ride in terms of both my reading and writing. As I mentioned in my end of December blogpost here, I had certain writing goals in mind that I was going to be sticking to for the new year and when I wrote everything down, my writing goals were quite ambitious. Later on, I posted here about my reading goals for the year as well and these two were equally ambitious, if not more so. Given that the first month is about to end, I thought I’d take the time to review those goals and see where I am currently in accomplishing those goals.

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A Year Ends, What Next?

A roller-coaster year is coming to an end. Lots of positives, a few dumb negatives, lots of excitement, lots of cheering and a few disappointments.

To be fair, the year didn’t really start for me until the third week of March. And that’s because it was in the third week of March that I discovered the Bolthole. And once I navigated to this corner of the internet, then everything just spiraled upwards and it has been a hell of a ride.

Finding the Bolthole has been the single-most positive event of the year because it opened me up to a really big world of exciting possibilities and fantastic opportunities. This is around the time I started blogging as well, so that is a huge plus that happened concurrently. The amount of writing I have done this year, at a guesstimate, is somewhere around 200,000 words. That includes blogging, reviewing, various submissions, my Sons of Corax fanfic, Bolthole comps, and my Nano novel among other things.

Jeff Ambrose, over on his blog here, discussed his goals for 2011 and new goals for 2012. His post is, in part, the inspiration and motivation for this post. He mentions his target word-count for the year, which stands at an impressive 400k words and how close he is to accomplishing that.

So it all got me thinking about what I want to do for myself next year. And I have come up with a few tentative things that I would like to accomplish this coming year.

1. I am going to write a full novel submission for Black Library. For the submission itself they want a 6-page chapter breakdown, a 1000-word synopsis and the first 3 chapters clocking in at at least 10k words. My goal is to write the novel in full. Target count is 85,000 words. This will be my Writing Project 1: In The Emperor We Trust. This was originally going to be a Space Marine Battles novel but I have been reliably told that only stories that are mentioned in existing lore qualify for that brand. So ITEWT will be a regular Space Marine novel.

If I can write a 70k novel in 32 days with 2% planning then I can write an 85k novel with 80% planning over the entire year surely!

Total Goal: 85,000 words

2. I am going to write 3 short stories in full for Stories in the Ether. SITE is an anthology of stories set in various different genres that are generally printed online first and later on for digital print and so on. As you can see here, their guidelines are fairly relaxed and very open-ended, which means you can write about anything and everything as long as you conform to their genres: Sci-fi, Fantasy and Steampunk.

What is awesome about Nevermet Press is that the SITE submissions are open throughout the year! Which means that yes, you can submit throughout the year. It is fantastic news. SITE also doesn’t get long-term exclusive rights to your work so you are free to explore other publishers with your work. The details are over on their SITE page.

I already have a short story in the works that is a spin-off prequel story for my Nano novel. Given that SITE short stories need to be no longer than 15k words, that is a lot of wiggle room. My aim for my 3 stories is to clock in at around 10,000 words each.

Total Goal: 115,000 words

3. I currently have 4 chapters to write for my Sons of Corax fanfic for the Bolthole. The goal, given all the things I want to talk about and have planned out in bits and pieces, is to average about 2800 words between the four of them. The fanfic has been ignored for the last month and a half, primarily because first I had Nano to work on and then later in Dec I have just generally been procrastinating.

Lesson to the wise: Procrastinating is bad. Especially when you are watching movies.

But, I plan to shape up this coming year and keep pumping out the stuff for two main reasons. One is that I really, really like doing it. Two, people just plain like what I have been doing. Just the other day someone on Warseer of all places commented to me that they like what I am doing with LL’s 60k setting. That is a major surprise for me since I posted a few initial chapters on the warseer boards a couple months ago and got zero response.

But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles I suppose. More incentive to write something you already like doing is always good.

Total Goal: 126,200 words

4. Black Library submissions. Another year is rolling round and I have a lot of things I have been doodling on and off since June of this year for future stuff. This includes Project: In The Emperor We Trust. I also have plans for a “series” of shorts and novels that are all linked by a very central event. The series is currently 5 short stories and two novels long. I already submitted one of the short stories this year, and since I have yet to hear word of it I am going to go with the assumption that it was rejected.

So that leaves 4 short stories and 2 novels. I am definitely going to focus on the short stories first. And that is purely because short stories can be churned out faster than a novel. With the submission guidelines wanting somewhere in the region of 2500 words an average per short story pitch, that is roughly 10k words to add to my work for the next year. Not too bad. The novels I will see. I want to focus on my current novel project first before I start messing around with another one. But, I would like to get the pitch requirements done with at least which should somewhere be around the 19k mark for each roughly.

Then I have about 3 more short stories I want to submit this year. One of them is a failed short story pitch that I never quite got around to work out. So this coming year I want to rework the whole thing and definitely get that pitch done with.

For now, that is all for the submissions stage of things.

Total Goal: 181,700 words

5. I seriously need to blog more. I don’t get enough blogging done at the moment, mostly because of procrastinating with regards to doing it. And that is when I kind of really do enjoy blogging. Its a good habit to be into, especially if you are a writer, and most of my writing-inclined friends and pretty much most of the authors I know, do blog a fair bit. So that is ample motivation.

Plus, the more you write, the more you learn. So the target is to do 2 blogposts minimum each month. More it kind of depends. I do have a lot on my plate with regards to handling blogs since I am a part of two review sites and I also am the unofficial in-charge for the Bolthole blog as well. I definitely don’t want to over-work, especially since I do want to focus on my writing this year.

Total Goal: 211,700 words

6. The Founding Fields. More book reviews dammit! As we speak, I have a backlog of about 4-5 reviews that need to be done, and that is only increasing as time passes since I just recently finished reading Anthony Reynolds’s third Word Bearers novel, Dark Creed, and I am in the middle of Gav Thorpe’s first HH novel, Deliverance Lost.

Plus, I have now arranged things with Black Library and I am now on their Advance Reviewer’s list. My first package is going to be the March releases which are Horus Heresy: Know No Fear by Dan Abnett, the Iron Warriors Omnibus by Graham McNeill, Path of the Renegade by Andy Chambers and finally Knight of the Blazing Sun by newcomer Josh Reynolds. So that’s going to be a lot of reading.

But that’s not all of course because I am me.

I also signed for Angry Robot‘s Robot Army as an Advance Reviewer and have requested a couple ARCs from them, Empire State by Adam Christopher and Giant Thief by David Tallerman. As per their guidelines, requesting ARC’s guarantees that I need to do reviews, which is totally fine by me. Adam’s novel particularly has been gaining a lot of steam, not in the least because of its frikkin awesome cover. So that’s more work for moi!

First order of business is to clear out my backlog and then get on with all the other reviews I need to do as I finish with the books and short stories. Given that my reviews are like usually in the 1200-1500 range, I’ll just take 1300 as my average for each review and I plan to do 5 reviews at least each month. That should sufficiently keep me on track with my reading and getting through all the BL ARC’s I will be getting throughout the year.

Fun fact: My latest review, which should go up within the next 12 hours, is for Sarah Cawkwell’s first novella, Accursed Eternity, and it clocks in at a perfect 1800 words, making it the biggest one I have done so far.

You can see all my current reviews for TFF here.

Total Goal: 289,700 words

7. 24FPS. Another of my review sites that I am a part of and that gets sort of neglected, again, because of procrastination. I sincerely intend to change that of course. For this also I have a backlog, that is about 4-6 movies big depending on what I really want to do. Just like with my book reviews, I tend to average roughly 1300 words a review and I intend to publish about 2 reviews a month. Movies are a little more difficult to get a hold of obviously, not to mention the time commitment issue but this shouldn’t be too bad. And it should be quite relaxing too if I take a low-key but regimented approach to this.

All my reviews for 24FPS can be found here.

Total Goal: 320,900 words

8. Raven and Blood. Clocking in at 70,219 words this is my first ever completed novel that fits a zero draft description, meaning it is not yet ready for editorial eyes and has a ton of things wrong with it that need to be fixed. But, I am immensely proud that I got this done. But now this youngling needs to be edited to hell and back. Plus I need to draw up a “pitch” for this that approximates what Black Library requires for their submissions. I know that different editors have different requirements and that Black Library is not going to be interested in this but I think the exercise in itself will be quite a challenge.

Of course, I cannot really guesstimate how much work this novel-editing shindig will involve on the writing front because editing in itself is so open-ended, particularly for someone like me who has no real experience with proper editing but I think I can take care of the basics at least. I aim for a final word count of about 95,000 words plus the pitch document which, excluding the chapters themselves, should be about another 4000 words.

Total Goal: 349,900 words

9. Finally, NaNoWriMo. I intend to enter the “competition” again and churn out another novel. Maybe one of those novel submissions I mentioned earlier or something different. I do have an old novel project, my first proper novel project in fact, that was a sci-fi story that is sort of half-finished. It is really amateurish in its current incarnation so I might just end up reworking the whole thing. But still, I aim to at least meet my accomplishment of this year if not better it. So the target is another 70,000-word novel which I hope to then sit down to edit for 2013.

Total Goal: 419,900 words

So umm, yeah, that’s my writing goals for 2012. Its a lot of writing and I am not even sure at the moment if I will actually be able to do all of it. But I know that I could reach all of them if I just focused my efforts and really cut down on procrastinating. That’s like Enemy Number One for me. I am really getting into the groove of writing, I feel, and I just got to work it all so that apathy doesn’t set in. Get all that down and then I can really get some solid writing done.

So what about you folks? What writing goals do you all have for 2012?

My To-Do List

NaNoWriMo may have ended but the pressure is still there, more so than before since I have to coordinate a bunch of different things for different things!

1. The Founding Fields – I have, at last count, something like 6 book reviews overdue. Yes, that includes Nathan Long’s Bloodborn and Bloodorged novels which I read this week.

2. 24FPS – I have at least 2-3 movie reviews overdue here. Really lagging behind that one since My DCAU reviews thing is still incomplete!

3. The Bloghole – Have contacted 7 more authors, 2 of them courtesy Pyroriffic, for interviews for the blog. While I await for answer from 2 of them, I have to get questions ready for the other 5!!!! However, I am helped, hopefully, by the fact that I opened up a thread on the Bolthole here so that I can tap into the forum’s collective mind and get some questions from there.

4. The Bloghole, again – Guest posts, guest posts, we need more content! I have a couple coming up that are just waiting to be posted, but again, I want to tap into the community as well. So if you want to contribute, and you really should because I love blogging apparently, then check out the thread for this here.

5. Sons of Corax the FanFic – Been almost a month since I worked on this. Really itching to get back on track with this and pump out the requisite 3-4 chapters I have planned up. Lots and lots of exciting stuff.

6. Sons of Corax the Blog – Hell of a lot of good articles on twitter recently regarding writing, editing, Scrivener, publishing, being a writer, how to be a writer and so on and on. I keep bookmarking all of it and I just need a super-duper cathartic release for all of this.

7. Buy Scrivener – Considering that I won NaNoWriMo last month, I am now entitled to a 50% discount on the software. Which means that instead of paying $40, I pay only $20. What’s not to love?

8. Nevermet Press – They have an ongoing submissions window for the Stories in the Ether anthology. Without giving away TMI, just go here. Anyways, I am working on a short story for this which is a spin-off of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo. Will see how it goes!

9. Reading – I have to finish reading Atlas Infernal, Caledor, Dragonmage, Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal and something else that I am forgetting at the moment.

So yeah, all that. And the majority of that, like 9 of those things, needs to be done before the end of the month. Fun!

Oh wait! Forgot something! I have to enter RiaR too!! The theme for this month is “Savage“. I think I have an idea for this but we shall see!

NaNoWriMo Deux

The second day of a rather chilly December is coming to a close in a few minutes. That means that NaNoWriMo finished two days ago. As I mentioned in my last blogpost, I had already achieved the target of 50k words in a record time and my plan to end the month was to finish the zero draft in the 60-62k range and finish the remaining 8k or in December. Well, here’s my progress for the entire month.

My progress

Day 1: 1769 words

Day 10: 20597 words

Day 20: 43772 words

Day 23: 50444 words

Day 30: 65866 words

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So Much To Do

And so little time. *sighs*

Two weeks on since my last post, and things have been extremely hectic. And that is an understatement since I am totally bogged down with work. Not my day job of course, but with what I call my night job: writing.

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