April Report

So its time again to do another end-of-the-month report. Overall, April was a somewhat better month where my writing is concerned as I managed to knock some submissions together and managed to get a headstart on editing my novel submission, but not by much really. The muse was hell of a lot more fickle than it usally is so I didn’t get anywhere near as much as I wanted to get done. On the reading front however, it was a blast, and I read some fantastic novels this month, and some not so fantastic as it turns out. Quite disappointed with two of my reads in particular – Giant Thief by David Tallerman (extremely disappointed) and Void Stalker by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (very ambivalent about it). And on the reviewing front, book reviews were posted fairly regularly while I only got around to posting a single one, I did write two. So that’s a target hit, I think?

Anyway, the lowdown is after the break.

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 March, I was in a pretty good place, having done close to ~126,000 of those ~420,000 words and actually pulled ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 55/200 on March 31.

2012 Writing Challenge

  1. Project: In The Emperor We Trust – The goal for the month was to refine what I had already written, close to 33,000 words, and draft up a proper synopsis and summary for it. Things didn’t quite go to plan. Its not that I was procrastinating or anything really, it was just that I was suffering from a severe lack of interest. And I feel really guilty about that fact. Considering how strong I’d been with my writing back in January and February, this is a big blow. I’m not going to be a successful writer if I can’t even stick to any sort of writing schedule. Without giving you any empty promises or anything, and considering how guilty I feel, I am going to really work on this for May. There are a couple reasons for that. May is now the second month for Black Library’s submissions window, which means we are right in the middle of things. I really need to wrap up the submission this month otherwise I won’t have time for reason #2: a short story submissions window elsewhere that I’d really like to take a crack at that ends in June. That all said, I made some decent progress on this still. I’ve done some rewriting of the scenes in Chapter One to make them flow better and condense them down from my “over-writing”. Also, Chapter One is currently being split up into two chapters, as it should be. I’ll be talking about this more hopefully soon enough. So the same goals as last month apply: perfect the submission and get the requirements out the door.
  2. Project: Ties of Blood – This is one of my short story submissions for Black Library for this year. I was really excited for it when I wrote the summary/synopsis back in February but writing the 1000-word sample has been a real herculean effort. This is one story that has given me mountains of trouble. The reason for that being, I’ve rewritten the sample four times, each time with a completely different scene in mind. I just can’t grasp the idea for this properly. I actually do have a 1000-word (a little over) sample ready for this, buts its a fourth draft and I’m still not happy with it. And it makes me feel really depressed too. For those who don’t know, this is my Angels of Retribution short story idea, involving them and one of their brother-chapters undertaking a joint mission on a certain world. Its a fairly unique idea since I’m exploring a facet of the setting that hasn’t really been explored as far as I know so I had high hopes for it. So right now, considering all the trouble I’ve had with this one, I’m just letting it be. If ever I get asked to write for Black Library, I’ll resurrect the idea and come back to it. But for now, its best for me to get some space from it.
  3. Project: The Price of Failure – This is a short story submission I got the idea for at Black Library Live! last month when I had a chat with Christian Dunn, one of the editors. They are looking for submissions for the upcoming (and unofficially announced) Fear The Alien 2 anthology, which is a collection of short stories about xenos (aliens) being badass (I think). This was my big happy moment last month because I doodled the idea for a few days and when I set down to write the sample, I had a really easy time of it. This is also the first time I’ve attempted to write in first person and I have to say that I’m both liking that style and that I’m happy with the feedback I’ve had on it. That’s right! This 1,044-word sample has already been in the wild and I’m thankful to both Marc and Jon D. for their feedback on it. Definitely looking to explore the style more. The goal for May is to refine the sample, read some similar style (first person) short stories from BL, read Fear The Alien to get an idea for how the sample should REALLY feel and then ultimately send off the final thing. Fingers crossed!
  4. Project: Starfighter – This project saw no light of the day, and it wasn’t for want of trying. No explanations or anything are going to be suffice to let’s just say that this is another one of those cases where I really need to stick to a proper writing schedule. The goal for May is the same as before: Write 2,500 words and begin that first chapter.
  5. The Founding Fields Reviews – Hit the goal for the month, which was seven reviews average ~1,400 words, since I wrote nine of them, averaging at a little over 1,700 words. A lot of the reviews this month were me playing catchup or pushing out those advance reviews for publications coming out in May. Overall, it was a rather productive, informative, and enjoyable month. Informative in the way that I’m slowly grasping technical details as they pertain to my writing and learning how to be more critical of what I read. It is definitely not an easy thing but I’m quite happy to keep plugging away at it. The goals for May remain the same as last month: seven reviews averaging ~1,400 words.
  6. 24 FPS Movie Reviews – April was certainly a much better month than March! I wrote and published a review (John Carter 3D), a movie I really, really enjoyed. And I wrote another review which was published on the 1st of May (The Hunger Games). Nothing to really say more about it. I suppose some people find it odd that I delay my reviews so much, its just that sometimes I feel I need to consider a few things. I don’t write immediate reviews unless a film totally wows me to the point I want to push that review out ASAP. John Carter 3D did actually do that as it happens, but I was traveling at the time so things just got delayed. Anyways, the goals for May are the same as April: minimum two reviews, averaging 1,400 words.
  7. The Blog – April was a fantastic month for the blog: I had my first ever guest-post – Self-publishing – by Michael J. Sullivan. He is an author I discovered this year, and quickly became a fan of his work. He is also an easy-going person, active on social media, and he talks sense. It was great to have him do a guest post for the blog and I’m really glad with the response it got in comments here and elsewhere. I also did two more posts, one was quite a personal one about an issue I’ve had an issue with for a few months – Opinions: What to do? – and the other one was an event write-up of the first ever Middle East Film and Comic Con, an event I really enjoyed, although I was there for only a fifth of the time that I wanted to. Still, it was massive fun and I’m really hoping it comes back next year. The word-count goals were certainly met and bettered so that was never an issue. For May, we shall see! I have quite a few interesting things to talk about, mostly about my writing, but some other opinion pieces too.
  8. The Bloghole – April was a good month for the blog since we had not just one, or even two, but three author interviews, and allof them fantastic ones too. First up was Dan Abnett, then his wife Nik Vincent, and finally, rounding off the month we had Gav Thorpe himself. I had fun writing their interviews, although the first two had to be shortened a bit to fit the authors’ schedule. Other than that, nothing else really went on. I’m working on getting some people to do book reviews for it and maybe even do one or two guest posts, so we’ll see how things go. So stay tuned!

So yeah, that’s all my writing and reviewing goals for the month. In my First Quarter Report I mentioned that daily goal of writing 1000 words of fiction a day. That plan horribly tanked as you can see. What worked well for me back in January and February were the averages. I can’t write fiction every day because I also have to spend time doing my blogging and reading/reviewing as well. Schedules are fairly tight in that regard. So its best for me to just set write when I can and take things from there. I’m certainly hoping to turn things around with regards to Project: Starfighter that way. With my Black Library submissions, its all a matter of refining what I have so not much writing to do on that front. But editing is no less an easy task than writing so that’ll be a tedious process to get through all the same.

Anyways, it all adds up to roughly 28,000 words written last month, which brings me to a grand total of ~155,000 words completed towards the year’s goals. The yearly goal is slightly more daunting now, but I’m not going to give up and will go at it with all I got. April is going to be a fun month (even though 4 days are already over and on).

2012 Reading Challenge

April was a great month for reading too! Some really excellent novels that I had the pleasure to get done. The challenge counter has been ticking along steadily, although it slowed down when I was reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Terra Incognita trilogy since those books are big, fat books and a couple other times when I really got down into my writing, so all good.

To recap a bit, I ended March with the counter at 55/200, which put me just 5 points ahead of the first quarter goal of 50/200. So I was just looking to maintain that decent lead in case I had to read some more big novels this year, stuff like the A Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, Wheel of Time or whatever else that takes my fancy.

I ended April itself on another high note, as my counter read 74/200 when the clock hit midnight finally. My reading/listening consisted of 13 full-length novels, 3 audio dramas, one unabridged audiobook, one short comic that I picked up at the Middle East Film and Comic Con (Shamsheer – the first Pakistani superhero comic book), and the fifteen Black Library 15th Birthday eShorts, plus a standalone, slightly longer eShort by George Mann, all of which I grouped together since they were so short.

As you can see, the reading was at quite a breakneck pace. I find that I read eBooks much, much faster than I do print novels. Kinda weird but that’s how it is.

Like I mentioned on Facebook and Twitter earlier today, here is a list of my Top 3 novels of the month, and the top 3 honourable mentions, in no particular order:

Top 3Crown of The Blood by Gav Thorpe (the first in his original fantasy series for Angry Robot Books), The Hammer and The Blade by Paul S. Kemp (again, the first in his original swords & sorcery fantasy series for, again, Angry Robot Books), and Dead Winter by C. L. Werner (the first in the new Black Plague trilogy for the Time of Legends meta-series for Black Library).

Honourable MentionsMiserere by Teresa Frohock (her debut novel, part of the new Katharoi series for Nightshade Books), Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm (another debut novel, the first in his Collectors trilogy for Angry Robot Books), and Champion of Mars by Guy Haley (an original science-fiction novel for Solaris Books).

As you can see, some great representation here by Angry Robot Books! I’ve read nine of their novels this year, and barring Giant Thief by David Tallerman, I’ve loved all of them. With such great books as these, its no wonder that they have been making waves in recent years!

As May currently stands, it is going to be another fantastic month for me, especially on the comics side, thanks to Matt Forbeck and Angry Robot Books, through whom I’ve been introduced to the fantastic works from IDW Publishing. I’ve already read four comics in four days!!

Looks like I’m well on my reading target for the year!

Posted on May 4, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 24FPS, Book Reviews, General, Guest Posts, In The Emperor We Trust, Original Work, Review Central, Self-publishing, Submissions, The Founding Fields and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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