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!

To do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 200 novels, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas.

At the end of January, I was in a pretty good place, having done close to ~56,000 of those ~420,000 words and made a decent start on the reading goals, as I was at 10/200 on Jan 31.

2012 Writing Challenge

I went into February hoping I’d be able to keep that momentum up as far as writing was concerned because I felt like I was in my rhythm, and that I could knock out that writing goal in no time at all. I forgot that I am prone to big dose of overconfidence now and then, because as it turned out, the last two months have been anything BUT as spectacular.

So you ask, how did the two months end up? Well, here’s how it all went down:

  1. Project: In The Emperor We Trust – The goal for February was to write 15,000 words or thereabouts for chapters 3-5 of the novel. At the end of the month, I stood at a fairly comfortable 13,617 words. Quite short of the goal of course by roughly 10% percent but that’s fine really. I did end up rewriting a particularly pesky scene which set me back by roughly that amount so overall, I did hit the goal. Regardless, I’m happy with that work. As per the original novel outline, four chapters had been written by now and that meant that I was 33% done with the project, since I was aiming for 12 chapters in all. Given all the travel shenanigans in March though, I hadn’t planned anything and it turned out that I did zero fiction writing last month. So I’m considerably behind schedule now. I could easily have squeezed in another 13,000 words or so and be that much closer to my goal. Not to mention, the Black Library submissions window for the year has been moved up by a month, so as we speak, it is currently open for submissions. Taking all that into consideration, the plan for all of April is to refine these 33,642 words and draft up a proper novel synopsis and summary. The submission requirements have changed a fair bit this year and that means juggling things around a lot, but I have already done almost all the groundwork, so I’m reasonably confident that I can have a full and proper first draft of the submission ready by the end of the month.
  2. Project: Salamanders Successors – Yeah, didn’t get anything done. One reason would be my downright focus on the item number 1, and the second would be that I was very, very focused on my reading in an effort to catch up. Not really fussed about it though. This project is a project that I’m doing “on the side”. No concrete goals, so I’m just approaching it as something to do on the side. Goals for April? None at all.
  3. Project: Starfighter – This has been my biggest disappointment so far this year. I had some fantastic time with the outlining process in January and for February I was looking at some refinements to the process and getting a chapter down at least. It turned out that I wrote just about 1,000 words for this and they suck. I am not happy with those thousand words. This is mostly because I’m getting way too influenced by the Star Wars X-wing novels. It doesn’t help that I’m using Michael A. Stackpole’s excellent Rogue Squadron as inspiration for this project. Its just that I might as well be writing an X-wing novel and not something in the universe that me and my fellow contributors to the meta-project have created. So the target for April is to go back to the drawing board and plan out the scenes properly. And write the first 2,500 words for the project, words that I am comfortable with and can say are a first draft.
  4. 24 FPS Movie Reviews – This was well on track for February, since I wrote two reviews (A favourable one for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D and another for Agneepath) and hit my goal as mentioned in the January Report, but March kinda, tanked. I did want to write at least two reviews, but I just kinda had some sort of apathy to write the reviews. I happily blame all the non-stop reading I did last month to the detriment of most other things. Certainly not a good practice. So the goal for April is the same as it was for February – at least two reviews, clocking in at an average of 1,400 words each. I bettered the average very easily in February and that does seem to be a comfortable average for me, so I’m good with that.
  5. The Founding Fields Reviews – To say that I knocked the February goal of 5 reviews averaging 1,400 words each out of the park would be an understatement. I did twice the amount of work as it turned out – I wrote ten reviews at an average of ~1,838 words. Being an overachiever is not always a bad thing. It kinda did help that three of those reviews were for Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations novels, which are two-book triple omnibuses. So, quite a lot of stuff to talk about and compare to. The March unofficial goal was completed as scheduled too – I wrote eight reviews at an average of ~1,615 words. Not too bad considering that three of those reviews were quite short. That’s okay though. There is a difference between getting all my thoughts (or most of them at any rate) down on the computer compared to just not having enough to talk about. I’m fine with my reviewing where I am. And so I don’t wanna change anything for April, except that I want to be doing seven reviews a month now. Its a fairly achievable goal, one that I’ve been bettering for three months straight in retrospect. So let’s have at it!
  6. Sons of Corax Fan-fiction – The fan-fic writing slump continues spectacularly. I just can’t get myself into that kind of a writing zone. I’m having some trouble with proper fiction as is and until I get things sorted out on that front, fan-fic is definitely going to have to take a back seat. Very regrettable since some of my Bolthole friends have been patiently waiting for me to continue the fan-fic so I all I can say is that you guys will have to wait just a wee bit longer for the next installment. I promise I won’t disappoint.
  7. The Blog – This is one item on this massive list that has definitely stayed well on track so far this year! February – 3,574 words on two blogposts (Writing Mewzak and Regrets on a Literary Journey) – and March – 5,869 words on two blogposts as well (Black Library Live! 2012 and World of WarCraft) – both went very well on this front. My blogpost about Black Library Live! 2012 has been very well-received also and it stands as my biggest blogpost to date. Quite an achievement for the first year – at a massive 4,574 words! But then again, I did have a LOT to talk about for that trip. One of the most fun weekends ever with some of the best company in this world. In any case, the original goal of two blogposts a month at an average of 1,250 words still stands. Blogging is a really, really fickle hobby so I don’t want to over-commit for this.
  8. Project: Generations – A personal disappointment that I haven’t done anything on this really. Did maybe like 500 words for this, not sure, in February. Hardly something to write home about. Goal for April? Unsure as of yet.
  9. Bloghole – It wasn’t a bad two months for the blog really. I got my friend John C. Scott to come in and go a guest post on self-publishing, did a guest post myself on “Age of Digital Publishing“, we posted interviews with Chris Wraight and Anthony Reynolds, did the January Artwork Roundup, as well as a book review of Darius Hinks’ Warrior Priest courtesy of my friend Vivia. Quite a lot of stuff. I’m particularly proud of my own guest post. I got some great feedback on it, especially from William King himself, the man who first penned the Gotrek & Felix novels for Warhammer Fantasy and the Ragnar Space Wolf novels for Warhammer 40,000. It turns out that I quite like doing op-eds like these and people like them too. Commissar Ploss has asked me to do a few for TFF as well, so stay tuned for something in the future to that effect! March wasn’t as busy though but we still had posts go up. I did an intro the Black Library Live! 2012 event while Squiggle did a writeup of the event itself, and he also put up a blogpost about Black Library’s new submissions guidelines. Both excellent reads so be sure to check them out. On the interviews front, things have dried up a little since I’m kinda running out of authors to speak to. But, I do have two of them on the backburner (my apologies to both of them as I have been quite negligent in getting back to them) and there are at least two more that I can talk too. Plus, I did send two sets of questionnaires out as well, which will hopefully go up by the end of the month. Its not too bad of a position to be in really. We are getting some steady exposure from all areas and that’s what counts.

In short, to summarize everything, I’ve done almost 71,000 words of writing in the last two months (not counting this blogpost). Non-fiction writing has moved at a steady, throaty pace while fiction writing has stumbled a fair bit. So to correct that, I’m definitely going to go at my fiction writing with a pair of axes and tackle it like a linebacker. I would very much like to make some good solid progress with my various submissions and that’s that. And to help with that, I’m aiming to do at least a thousand words of pure fiction writing a day. I got in a decent start on it last night so I’m looking to keep that up.

2012 Reading Challenge

I’m very, very happy with how this has been going. Speaking in terms of what I’ve been reading alone, I’ve read everything from Young Adult to Science-Fantasy to Science-Fiction to Fantasy to Swords and Sorcery to Crime to Steampunk and what not. I’m really liking this challenge because it has been broadening my reading horizons admirably and it doesn’t look like the steam is gonna go poof any time soon. Lots of recommendations, thanks to my Regrets on a Literary Journey blogpost have been rolling in, not to mention that Twitter and Facebook have been particularly helpful with recommendations. Oh and Goodreads too. Can’t understate the value of that site enough.

At the end of February, I was just a little behind target at 31/200, although to be fair, I did have to make up for the slow start from the previous month. Audio dramas definitely proved to be a big boon here, and I got to listen to some great Black Library audios as well as some of Big Finish’s Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis audios as well. Overall, a fantastic month. March continued just as strongly and I finished the month over-target at 55/200. That means that I am well on the way to being an overachiever this year, more so than before. Giddy feelings. Audios are bloody fantastic. An hour or so at the gym (plus the travel time) means I can knock out an entire audio in that time, although I do space them up a bit so I don’t overdo the audios. They are quite expensive to get!

Speaking of novels, I was quite fortunate enough to get an early review copy of Nathan Long’s (one of my favourite Black Library authors) original novel, Jane Carver of Waar sometime in February. The novel is a modern adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s own John Carter of Mars novels, with a female protagonist. The reason I’m mentioning this novel is because it is the first novel in ALL my reading over the last year that has forced me to reconsider what makes a perfect novel. Before this gem came along, I only gave a score of 9.5/10 as the max score to any novel or audio drama. That’s because I didn’t think there could be that perfect novel that could get that perfect score. Jane Carver of Waar forced me to redefine that to myself and consequently, it is the one and only novel so far that I have ever given a full 10/10 to. As such, it is a novel that I really recommend and quite highly too. Nathan is a fantastic author and he delivers yet again.

To see just what exactly I have been reading and listening in the last two months, head over to my Reading List page where I’m keeping track of it all. Or, you can check out my profile on Goodreads. Word of caution on Goodreads: It is counting the Black Library is 15 eShorts as well (they are mostly all about 1,000 words long) too so that’s skewing the results somewhat on there. Also, check out my reviews here.

Also of note, I’ve been contacted by and have contacted some more publishers with regards to review copies and I’m quite happy to say that the response has been positive. I’ve certainly liked most of what I’ve received. This makes me happy. Maybe in one of my next blogposts I’ll post some pics of all the physical ARCs I’ve received so far.

So yeah, that’s where I am at right now for my reading and writing. Its not all bad really. Definitely no doom and gloom, although I am really aiming to be very focused this month.

I have a right down surprise for y’all for this coming Thursday, the first guest post for this blog! Stay tuned to find out who it will be and what it will be about.

Posted on April 3, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 24FPS, Age of Dusk, Bolthole, Book Reviews, General, In The Emperor We Trust, Music, Original Work, Review Central, Sons of Corax, Submissions, World of Warcraft and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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