May Report

I mentioned in my April Report that it had been a slightly better month with regards fiction writing when compared to March which was absolutely terrible because of a bad case of procrastination a weird disinterest in getting any serious writing done. With May, I really wanted to change things around as the Black Library submissions window was now hitting the middle of the stretch and I had one deadline in particular looming as well.

Well, May turned out to be much better than I had hoped, and I got some serious work done. I actually came quite close to the levels of work that I had done in January and February. That’s a good thing right? Well, if has certainly buoyed my spirits and given me a great ego boost. I am now more driven than ever to succeed with my writing.

The full lowdown for the month 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 April, I was still pretty ahead of things having done close to ~155,000 of those ~420,000 words and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 74/200 on April 30th.

2012 Writing Challenge

  1. Project: In The Emperor We Trust – I promised myself when I wrote the last report that I’d really focus on this project, editing and refining the material I had written for the submission requirements. It took a lot of effort but now I’ve made some real, solid progress and the project is close to completion. I got through two rounds of edits for all three chapters and even part of the synopsis, thanks to some great feedback from a quartet of really excellent betareaders. Quite a bit of rewriting was also in effect as the feedback revealed a ton of weaknesses in my narrative, whether structural or content. The initial planning edits in April had me cut the first three chapters from a combined ~20,000 words down to ~16,000. I ended up actually rewriting ~10,000 words in all, including some parts of the synopsis for the relevant three chapters. The writing has definitely improved and I’m really discovering what my strengths are with respect to Warhammer 40,000. Currently, I’m just waiting for some more feedback for chapters 2 and 3, after which I’ll do the final round of edits and send off the submission. Close to finishing this one!
  2. Project: The Price of Failure – The goal for this short story submission was to read some first person short story material and read the Fear The Alien anthology to get a feel for the type of stories that the editors want for this. I did the latter but didn’t really get around to the former as it turns out. Reading the anthology has really given me a lot of confidence about the sample. The feedback has been good on it, like I mentioned before and I just need to make some final edits on it once I read a couple first person short stories. So that’s the goal of the month, refine and polish and then repeat until I’m entirely satisfied with this.
  3. Project: Starfighter – This one has been a real bummer. A few days after I wrote the April Report, I went to the Wicked East press submissions page to refresh myself with their requirements in order to get the creative juices going. Turns out that they’ve scrapped the entire idea of novella-anthologies. Had a lengthy chat with one of my fellow writers for this anthology and we are in kind of a real limbo with this. He’d already made some progress on the actual content while I had a full-fledged synopsis and background material ready for the project. Not sure what is going to happen now with this as we have yet to make any kind of a decision about it. It really sucks that WEP scrapped the whole process and have replaced it with (mostly) children’s anthology projects. Quite boggling.
  4. The Founding Fields – With my book reviews, I think I’ve arrived at a point where I need to revise my estimates of how much reviewing I can do each month. This was the fifth consecutive month where I have consistently done more than six reviews a month: I wrote twelves reviews last month, as well as an editorial, From The Reviewers To The Authors. The total wordage was ~21,000 words which comes out to an average of ~1,762-words per review. One reason for being so prolific on this front was that I really had a huge backlog of things to cover and it was getting rather frustrating as I did want to write a lot of these reviews. Another reason was that I had finally reacquainted myself with comics and as I had requested some review copies from a fair few publishers, I did want to keep that relationship going in the right direction. So yeah, my first two comics reviews are up on the site (Kill Shakespeare Volumes 1 and 2 and Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Volumes 1 and 2), and you can expect some more for June. The goal for the month, in light of the increased interest and workload is to write a minimum of 8 reviews and yet aim for 10.
  5. 24FPS Movie Reviews – Not as good a month for this as I’d hoped. I wrote one review, for Battleship, and while I did want to write a few others, namely for Avengers 3D and Men in Black 3D, I didn’t get around to writing those. All my backlog reading/reviewing and the writing kept me fairly busy in May. Will see how June changes!
  6. The Blog – Slow month for this as well, as I wrote only a single blogpost, Your Opinion Has Value. This wasn’t as much a rant as the other opinion post in April. This was inspired by a Con review post by author Michael J. Sullivan on his blog and I reflected on how valuable my book recommendations have been to people in my various social circles and how to make sure that your opinion has some intrinsic value as well. As June is the last month for the Black Library submissions window and I have some great new projects to talk about, expect some detailed posts about these topics.
  7. The Bloghole – This has been rather drying up I’m afraid. The initial fervour some people showed about guest posts and reviews and interviews has rather died down dramatically to be nil. I did manage to squeeze together an author interview however with Rob Sanders, who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors writing for Black Library. I have another one coming up either this week or the next, this time with James Swallow, who is definitely up there in the Top 5 current Black Library authors.

All in all, May was a fantastic month because it ended so well on the writing front. Making solid progress is really motivating. As I mentioned above, I have been developing ideas for a trio of new and exciting projects, one them being a joint effort that I’m working out the details for with a couple friends. The second half of 2012 in that respect is going to be really fun.

In total, the writing for May amounted to about ~39,000 words, which is a huge step up from April’s performance of ~28,000 words. Nearly a thirty percent increase thanks to all the fiction writing I did. The yearly total now stands at ~192,000 words and puts me close to the halfway mark for the year’s goal of 420,000 words, ~46% to be exact! Good times indeed.

2012 Reading Challenge

May was an awesome month where reading is concerned. I finally got back into the world of comics last month, starting with the excellent Kill Shakespeare Volume 1 by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, and it was as if the floodgates had opened. Lots of comics were read this month and all of them were immensely enjoyable. Its really nice to get back to comics in a way: they are quick reads and you can burn through several issues in a single sitting no problem.

With all the comics I read, my novel reading certainly didn’t suffer at all and I read some fantastic novels as well this month, each as different from the other as possible. The month ended way past target as I hit 97/200 on the challenge counter. Here is the top 3 for the month:

Top 3Bloodsworn by Nathan Long (his third and final novel in the Ulrika The Vampire trilogy for Black Library), Amortals by Matt Forbeck (a near-future standalone novel for Angry Robot Books that I hope is not standalone for too long!) and The Emperor’s Gift by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (a standalone Grey Knights novel for Black Library).

Honourable MentionsMidnight’s Mask by Paul S. Kemp (the third Erevis Cale novel for Wizards of The Coast), The Chapter’s Due by Graham McNeill (The sixth Ultramarines novel for Black Library), and Wake of The Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe (the fourth Eddle LaCrosse novel for Tor Books and is also a standalone in the main).

Top 3 [Comics]: Kill Shakespeare Volume 1 by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col (collecting issues #1-6 out of a total of 12), Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Volume 2: Pirate Queen of Mars by Arvid Nelson (collecting issues #5-10 out of a total of 18 currently), and G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #176 by Larry Hama.

Honourable Mention [Comics]: Magic: The Gathering #3 by Matt Forbeck, Dark Reign: Dark Avengers Volume #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (collecting issues #1-6 out of a total of 18), and Dark Avengers: Ares by Kieron Gillen (the 3-issue mini-series).

Looks like Black Library wins out this month! As some of you may have noticed in the last few days, I also have a Reading Awards page now up at the top, where I’ll be posting my top picks for each month, whether novels, audio dramas, comics or novellas. Keep an eye out for updates at the end of each month.

I mentioned in the April Report that May was looking quite great thanks to Matt Forbeck, through whom I’ve been introduced to the various comics series published by IDW Publishing. I really wasn’t disappointed as I started reading his Magic: The Gathering comics last month and continued on this month with the fourth issue for the mini-series. Its been a blast reading this series and I can’t wait for the 27th when Spell Thief #1 hits stores, continuing the story of Dack Fayden.

I’ll also be looking to read more comics this month as I have managed to amass quite a reading pile thanks to NetGalley and I am also a reviewer with IDW now. Have several of their issues lined up, particularly their various Transformers and G.I.Joe comics.

On the novel front, I received my first package of ARCs from Solaris Books last month, thanks to the awesome Michael Molcher who handles their marketing. Some really great titles in the package – Greatshadow by James Maxey, Babylon Steel by Gaie Sebold and Age of Aztec by James Lovegrove. Each of them sounds good and I’ll be starting with Babylon Steel later this month.

The Black Library ARCs for July and August arrived as well and I can’t help grinning like an idiot since all these titles are fantastic. Too much awesomeness for me to handle while remaining sane. This month is going to be an out and out blast! Especially since I’ve already hit the halfway mark on the Reading Challenge, as my counter stands at 100/200. It is slightly misleading of-course, given the standalone short stories on there and a few single comics issues but I’m fairly confident that I should be able to go way past the mark anyways.

Posted on June 6, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 24FPS, Book Reviews, General, Guest Posts, In The Emperor We Trust, Monthly Reports, Original Work, Self-publishing, Submissions, The Founding Fields and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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