1. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota

    Progress Report (2021)

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Birch Anderson, Oct 21, 2020.

    #1
    I didn’t want to do this journal until I was certain I could commit to it. I’ve done similar things on Facebook and DeviantArt, though nobody seems interested in my writing progress, and while I refuse to don a fake-happy mask for the internet, hopefully making a third attempt at a writing journal will help a little bit more. I think bi-monthly would be a good way for me to do this.

    I have over a dozen novel projects I’d like to do, many of which have a first chapter already finished and just fermenting on the shelf, but several are over 35,000 words along. I’d rather not talk about them until I reach a point where I can focus on them. I have a problem jumping from one project to the next, either out of pique or something else.

    Because I’m not a big name on Twitter, and because a lot of what I write is niche stuff – in my mind it is, at least – I don’t expect traditional publishers to go for it. So my hope is to self-publish until I can hook the eye of a big fish.

    Current Projects:
    1. Short story collection – “Birch Songs” or “To the Pines;” themed toward horror/dark fantasy/tragic romance stories strictly set in Minnesota. There are some LGBTQ characters, as well as a historical or chronological bend to the collection. “Birch Songs [temp]” at this point has 14 stories and, excluding the final story that has to be finished and revised a couple times, totals 66,618 words, about 266 and a half pages for a traditional paperback. I really tried not to write like Caitlin R. Kiernan, I swear I did, but it still feels like pale imitation to me. The reason it isn’t finished already is because I had to replace two previous stories, either for being too long or for lacking narrative.

    2. Learn how to set up a newsletter.
    3. Learn how to set up a blog again – and just do it this time!

    Short-Term Goals: (2020 - 2021)
    1. Find beta-readers and a professional copyeditor for short story collection, then self-publish it (both physical copy and e-book).
    2. Set up a blog or website
    3. Set up newsletter for readers
    4. I’d like to do some vocal narration of stories I enjoy on the side, so I might set up a Youtube or Twitch account for that. I’m no Vincent Price, or Orson Welles, or Ken Foree, but I can at least try to make it interesting. Maybe I could do audio stuff for my own work, even though that sounds incredibly pretentious. I know Youtube is turning into a policy-addled wasteland, but I don’t think I’d survive live sessions.

    Long-Term Goals: (2020 – 2025)
    1. Publish 2 short story collections
    2. Publish 2 novels
    3. Swallow my fear of criticism and begin submitting to contests, journals, zines, etc.

    Song of the day:
    “Spark in the Dark” by Alice Cooper
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  2. Rad Scribbler

    Rad Scribbler Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2020
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    210
    Location:
    Here, There, Everywhere
    I too was hesitant about starting a progress report however, in my case I thought it would commit me to reaching my goal of completing a first draft of a novel.

    All the best with your progress report.
     
  3. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thank you very much, and the best of luck with yours!
     
  4. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #2
    Current Project:
    The first draft of “Faun’s Way” was finished yesterday, and I wish I could say that I began the second draft immediately, or that I started work on a different story, but I can’t. After the last sentence, I put myself in a kind of doldrum. It’s a bit embarrassing personally, considering that fall and winter is the time period where I’m most productive.

    One of my favorite short stories by Stephen King isn’t a horror story at all. A ghost story, certainly, but a beautiful one. It’s called “The Reach,” from his collection Skeleton Crew. At first, the final story I’m working on for my first collection was intended to be a brief fairy tale sort of piece, but I realized that it would be much stronger in plot and character if I changed its structure into something similar to “The Reach.”

    This will absolutely increase the overall word count from several thousand to many thousand. I’m still trying to find ways to shave off the rough edges; ancillary description, subjects that halt the plot, and the like. I use three different words to refer to the “antagonist;” I wanted to show there are multiple names for the kind of entity, but I think it may become confusing for the reader. I’ve been rereading Ray Bradbury to see how concise writing looks.

    I’m also intending to use one of the stories I have on my DA account for the collection, after some fixing up. Just to save overall time, you see. It’ll have to be deleted from there for legal reasons, but there you go.

    At this point, I’m setting up a list of people I’d like to have as beta-readers. I’m not part of any club or anything, no social net outside of work and this forum, and it’s very difficult to find anyone interested. I have some relatives who were kind enough to offer advice or critique my work, but so far (for several years) have been “too busy.”

    On a side note, I recently watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom again, and to wash the taste out of my brain I’m going to reread Jurassic Park. I’m sure Michael Crichton didn’t know what he’d unleashed on the world in 1990, and I’m also sure he had no idea that its own momentum would eventually send it off the rails. Goddamn Indoraptor and its stupid Bugs Bunny smile…

    Songs of the day:
    -“Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
    -"Jesus was a Zombie" by Zombie Girl
    -Theme songs for Halloween (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Omen (1976), Beetlejuice (1988), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), etc...
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
    MWB and marshipan like this.
  5. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    Current Project:
    I always print out a story while revising it, since I can see discrepancies easier on physical paper rather than on a screen. Right now, I’ve got the last story in my collection paused in a sense, while the corrections have been made to the first draft in paper form. I’m focusing on a pair of smaller stories at the moment, which shouldn’t take much longer than the week to complete. I don’t know if they’ll have anywhere to go or if anyone ought to look at them, but I’m sure someone will tell me that that doesn’t matter. At the very least I forced myself out of the pointless slump I was in.

    I feel like time is just slipping by too quickly for me to make any headway, too many projects and too little time to work on them. I’m sure every writer has the same issue.

    For some people, it’s just as difficult to socialize online as it is in real life. Even with the benefit of anonymity (which is decreased if you want to be a writer) you’re afraid of making people think you’re a dimwit, a pretentious ass, and so on.

    Song of the day:
    “To Die For” by The Birthday Massacre
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
    Malum, MWB, Lifeline and 1 other person like this.
  6. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    3,108
    Location:
    Texas
    I've found online socialization harder in ways so I can empathize. In person I'm rather sarcastic and play around a lot (self deprecating too) and at some point I finally realized that does NOT work online. People either thought I was a troll or an ass. Plus, I always have this huge anxiety after making opinion posts. Honestly, I don't even look back to see what people responded most the time. Internet is weird. Dynamics in online communities are weird.
     
  7. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Yep, I'm the same way when it comes to replying on the internet, whether it's for something serious or something as simple as an item on an art website. If I offer a comment, I won't look and see if there are any responses...until a few days have gone by, enough time for my worrying of what people think of me kicks in. This site and other forums I've joined in the past are really nice and seem to be helping me overcome that concept; I think it was the Youtube comment sections that ruined my self-confidence, or at least helped it along.
     
  8. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4

    Current Project (s):
    The second iteration of “Faun’s Way” is doing fine, but there are several plot points that I think should be changed, and I feel like there are important details I’m not taking into account. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, but I think it’ll be some time before I’m satisfied with it. I was hoping I could keep it in the range of 5,000 words, but it looks like it’ll be about six thousand-and-change.

    The two minor stories mentioned in the previous entry are each three-quarters complete. Nothing has been changed about them; they’re simple horror/action narratives with no complex twists. They’re just things to pad my “Stories Finished” spreadsheet, I think. Probably a further incentive to start up a future newsletter.

    One of my bad habits is that I don’t give enough credit to the reader in regards to interest in the story. It’s only recently that I’ve begun forcing myself to write shorter short stories; I’ve always been worried that because of the way I write, a reader will be bored with some facet of the piece, so I’ll throw in ancillary details and events until the story is well past the ten-thousand word mark. I realized that details and events in a story are like red pepper in alfredo pasta; always welcome, but know when to freaking stop.

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about writing a story about goblins. Or a goblin, rather, set sometime in the range of mid-1800s to present day in the real world. I just have nothing that furthers any story concept, just the fact that I want to do it. Contemporary fantasy is not the brightest bulb in my cabin and I don’t want to write a weak story, but I’m also afraid of pigeonholing myself, of staying put with only a couple genres.

    Miscellaneous:
    I think I’ve garbled up a different site about this topic but I want to put it here, too. I know I shouldn’t really be worried too much about what my first published novel should be (I mean, which of my novel concepts I ought to have published first), but there’s so much emphasis on “the debut novel” that I can’t help but worry. The novel has always been held in higher regard than the short story, as a thing of triumph and cultural interest (even if it turns out to be garbage, it’s still an object of achievement), and an author’s first is [probably] regarded as the quintessence of that author’s voice. Should mine be the one that I know can be finished and re-re-revised first? Should it be the one that I know has the most artistic merit? The one that will cause the biggest reaction?

    I’ve grown up as a writer enough now that I can better see which of my ideas are sufficient and which are just bad. One of the novel projects I have the most progress in could be summed up rather cynically as “a convoluted retelling of The Blob, with a cosmic horror focus.” That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve stopped working on it. I just don’t know if it’s right as the first one I want readers to see, the first one an audience will use to know me as a writer, the one to show up at the top of the list titled “Other works by author.” Maybe I’m overthinking things that aren’t really that big, yet again.

    Song of the day:
    “Lunatic #1” by Crucified Barbara
     
    MWB, marshipan and Lifeline like this.
  9. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #5

    Current Project(s):
    I’ve been pecking away at “Faun’s Way” this week, and I think it’s looking a little bit better. I’m trying not to bog it down with historical facts that try to show off the setting, instead trusting the reader to perceive the timeline. Dialogue seems to be a little better – I find that dialogue, more than any other aspect of writing, really atrophies if I haven’t been focusing enough on the story. I know there’s no such thing as perfection, and that it’s very easy to over-edit, but damn it, I want this to be a strong point in the collection.

    Both of the minor stories (“Lakeview Properties,” “Trail-Cam #23”) are complete and figuratively resting in a box until I know what to do with them. I don’t feel they’re important enough at this time to do a round of revisions.

    Miscellaneous:
    After considering the replies I got from my post about online serial fiction, I’ve been knocking my brain around about one of the projects I would like to serialize. I’m very on the fence about actually doing it, since I started worrying that it might poison any potential I have as a fiction writer. It would be an experiment in multiple layers for me, and a sort of love note to when I started writing measly fiction stories in my notebooks when I was six years old.

    One of my favorite video games when I was little (and still is) was Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. Years before I ever heard the word fanfiction, I was filling up notebook pages with stories centered on these characters. I suppose the reason I want to be an author is because it started there and I never stopped writing. But the late 90s are quite gone, and I haven’t thought about Croc for a very long time until recently when I was listening to the game’s soundtrack, specifically the haunting tune that plays in the two levels when you’re actually swimming. I thought of a more troubled, less heroic version of the character, and the idea quickly germinated. I originally thought of publishing it under a pseudonym as a Young Adult/Fantasy series, but I realized the main narrative is a bit more adult than typical young adult fare.

    I’ve never written a long episodic story series (in fantasy, no less), I’ve never written a story with humanoid animal viewpoint characters (excluding “Longfellow Gardens” from my DA account, which was a sort of cheap homage to Don Bluth films), I’ve never written a story that requires so much world building, and obviously because of the post, I’ve never done a series just for the internet, with no intent to market it. I know some people who have done an online series later published their work in physical media, but I don’t know about this project.

    I have a passive interest in Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu and other tabletop roleplaying things, so I’d like to write it out like a campaign, hopefully with proper pacing and intriguing events. I thought it would be a fun gimmick to end each chapter with a survey of the viewpoint character’s funds and pertinent inventory (It was Terry Pratchett's Discworld and the misadventures of Rincewind that made me interested in the echo-gnomics of adventuring).

    What I’m worried about is that a) larger projects mean a higher chance of screwing up, of having overarching issues with plot and character development or just look weak; b) because of the nature of the work and because it’s so divergent from what I usually write, that it will ultimately ruin me before I get anything published. I know I’m whining, but it is a journal.

    Songs of the day:
    “Coin-Operated Boy” by The Dresden Dolls
    “I’ve Been Wrong Before” by Abney Park
     
    MWB, marshipan and Lifeline like this.
  10. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #6

    Current Project(s):

    I’m frustrated. One of the stories I’d like to have in the collection does not correspond to the theme, not close enough, and so had to be replaced. Because that story was over 7,000 words in length, I thought I’d replace it with two shorter stories, just as before. I finally found something to do with “Lakeview Properties,” after a couple touch-ups. I’ve really been struggling with the last story; regardless of where in the collection it appears, I want this one to be strong, to be powerful enough to make readers feel something. All the ideas I’ve been coming up with feel like they belong in a different project. This thing is taking too long to complete.

    I’m so close now to completing it, just a few steps to go. At this moment, the manuscript is 67,942 words (271.8 pages for a traditional paperback, in theory), and I feel I can be generous with the last story.

    Some close family members have lovingly told me that I will never find beta readers because “people are much too busy with other things.” I know that’s true to some extent, but damn it. I feel like I’m just spinning wheels again, that I’m just chasing a stupid dream that’ll never happen.

    I haven’t been happy for a long time, and I’m not even sure if publishing all the stories I want will get me across that bridge.

    Miscellaneous:

    I’m going to start up a WordPress site this weekend (big deal, I know, but I’ve never done this before), and I’m doing so in the blind hope that it will help get my name out there as a writer. I don’t want it to be flashy, I want it mostly to be functional, and I’m going over ideal themes and what sort of things I should put into it. I’m not sure if I want it to be an actual blog or the main author’s website (I’ve actually planned on it being both). I’m worried about getting traffic – mostly, I’m concerned that this will just be another social media venture where I post and post and nobody will bother to look at it.

    I finally have a title for one of the previously mentioned serialized stories and I have a couple pages of notes written up, but I’m setting it aside to work on the collection. And now this site is facing financial difficulties a few months after I joined, which is another thing to worry over.

    I was in a fairly good mood when I started this out. What the hell happened?

    Songs of the day:
    “Die for You” by Alice Cooper
    “Eye of the Beholder” by Metallica
     
    MWB and marshipan like this.
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,176
    Likes Received:
    5,570
    Location:
    On the Road.
    Couple of things: First off, 'writing' means you need to take the long view. Flashy and fast won't happen. As you worry yourself, it's getting people to read your blog/website that's difficult, not 'writing' in the first sense. We all can come up with good plots and interesting characters, but if people don't find it it's water over the dam. I'm just as stumbed how to do that as you appear to be, judging from your post.

    Second, regarding wordpress and your writer's page, look at other author's webpresence to gather ideas. There are a couple of articles/blogs that talk about what you can put on your page, and they're worth checking out. Specifically, I recall there's an article about a poll some author did about what female/male readers like on an author's page. It gave me all kind of ideas for mine, but again that's for the long haul. Good luck.
     
    Catrin Lewis and Birch Anderson like this.
  12. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thank you for the comment. You really reminded me to stop whining - or whine less - and just think things out. I've been reading a couple articles that have been handy, and I'm at least forming ideas. I just realized though that, because of recent financial dilemmas, I think I'll have to hold off on making that website for the time being. It's likely I'll have a couple books ready to sell before I start up through WordPress.
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  13. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I've come up with an immediate plan for my short story collection. Maybe it'll show how naive I am, but I hope I put at least a little thought into it. I have one final story to work on, and after too many days of fatigue I've finally decided on one that will fit the theme.

    1. Write final story
    2. Put stories in proper order, as they will appear in manuscript.
    3. Revise complete manuscript
    4. Contact beta-readers
    5. Contact artist for cover art (I was toying with the notion of using a photograph, but it would have looked incredibly amateurish)
    6. Register book with Library of Congress and purchase ISBNs
    7. Publish via Amazon's KDP (both print and electronic format. Set date for 3 or 4 months afterward - should be enough time to advertise).

    I've been brainstorming ideas for advertising. I know I have to market the thing on my own and I'm terrified of being around or communicating with others, but it's something that has to be done. These are what I've jotted down in the past couple of hours. I know some are lame, but I can't count on getting people to buy this thing without making an effort, not when you're an insignificant nothing:

    -contact booksellers directly
    -social media ads
    -YouTube trailer ???
    -Cards?
    -Shirts?
    -Public readings/signings (Twitch??)
    -Author's website (not ready)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    marshipan and Lifeline like this.
  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,818
    Likes Received:
    4,122
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Oh, gosh, don't get me started on YouTube comments sections. Vindictive, judgmental, cruel . . .

    Around here, especially in the progress journals, fake-happy will have your fellow writers in headlong flight. True, no one wants to read a member who does nothing but whinge, but if all one reports is victory after victory, where does that leave the rest of us struggling slobs?

    On that note, I think I'll go bleed all over my P. J.

    And welcome to the Forums.
     
  15. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    Current Project(s):
    This past week has been an odd mixture of highs and lows, of increased drive for writing and subsequent falls. Mostly nitpicking at the story I’m working on for the collection, as well as world-building and character development for the serialized story I’d like to do. Too many nights have been spent “researching,” which here means watching internet videos of baby bats being much too cute for their own good.

    For the story “The Screaming Cloud [temp title],” I’ve finished a skeleton of the narrative, with semi-detailed plot points and character description. I’m hoping the story will be somewhere around four to five thousand words, but, considering what happened to “Faun’s Way” which totaled slightly over six thousand, I don’t have much enthusiasm it’ll end in that range. I’d like to have the first draft finished at the very latest by the 12th of December.

    Because I’m self-publishing, I not only want, but need to make the book look as genuine as possible. This means purchasing professional headshots and cover art, just for two examples. I don’t think I mentioned that in the previous semi-entry.

    Tentative would be the word I’d use to describe how the serial story “Circle in the Spiral” is going. I’m working on character descriptions, sketches, backgrounds, a world map, racial interactions, currencies, and ideal scenarios I’d like to have. The actual narrative skeleton is thin, just up to Chapter 3. Frankly, I have ideas of where I want the story to go, but no clue how to connect the points in a way that makes it seem natural and clever. I know it’s pointless to waste time worrying over what people will think of it, but there are so many well-written stories out there, and I just want this to measure up. Like I said before, because of its overall size, I’m writing this out rather like a D&D campaign, another thing I’ve never done before, so I feel like there’s yet another demographic I’d be pissing off if I bungle something up. On the other hand, I’m happy with the knowledge that I don’t have spatial constraints for this story; if a chapter needs to be over ten thousand words, then it’ll be over ten thousand.

    Miscellaneous:
    I partook in additional research into setting up an author’s blog, and I realize that it’s just not a good time for it on my end. In all likelihood, I’d probably have a couple works completed and ready to go before I formulate it. A little aggravating, but hey, it’ll already be bulked up a bit when it gets off the ground. This is all naïve mutterings of someone who has never maintained their own website and fretted over the lack of traffic, of course.

    I’ve really been getting into resin art these past few months. I’m studying to be a geologist, and making faux gemstones or functional items that look like they’re hewn from gemstones is a very strong kink. On a side note, I’ve learned that the table in my garage is off-kilter.

    Songs of the day:
    “Lover’s End” by The Birthday Massacre
    “Dream Warriors” by Dokken
     
    marshipan and Lifeline like this.
  16. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thank you very much, and those are true points. I know I complain quite a bit, but I try to internalize it, and not rile everyone's nerves. Blind optimism mixed with wary realism, that's the key.
     
  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,818
    Likes Received:
    4,122
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Oh, a certain amount of complaining is fine, as long as that's not all you do. I wouldn't internalize it, it's not healthy: though consideration for others' nerves is a happy practice. And let your optimism be based on open-eyed reality: "I can do this or I can learn to do this." Do what you can with the things that are under your control, and save the wary realism for the things that aren't.
     
  18. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #8
    Current Project(s):
    The last story for my first collection is going as slow as one can imagine it’s going, frankly. I have the structure, the characters, and I’ve happily changed the pulpy title from “The Screaming Cloud” to the less pulpy “Primordial,” but I can’t find the drive to do it. Nearing the end of the year, I have to say that I’m bushed; I’ve written and written and I’ve fretted beyond fretting, and it feels like I’m spending too much energy on something that’s just going to be a drop of water in a lake.

    More people on this forum, complete strangers to me, have offered positive luck and interest in my writing than family members. I haven’t spoken to coworkers about it because I know they don’t like reading (they’ve told me outright, some happily so). I know I’m sounding melodramatic – I just realized that to someone reading these journals, I must be permanently pouting – but that’s the truth.

    Publishing one item isn’t going to change anything, I don’t think. Maybe publishing more and more will, though.

    But I’ve diverged. The point is that working on this last story is difficult. Bizarrely, reading Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials by Reza Negarestani is actually helping to unravel some of the difficult bits. I purchased this book a while ago and this is my second attempt at reading it. I’m not an idiot (I like to think I’m not), but it feels like I have to read each sentence three times over to get the point. The synopsis begins: “At once a horror fiction, a work of speculative theology, an atlas of demonology, a political samizdat and a philosophic grimoire, Cyclonopedia is a work of theory-fiction on the Middle East...” It’s a fascinating read, a fusion of occult concepts, metaphysics, Lovecraftian cosmology, natural sciences, and so many other things, which I enjoy thoroughly, but difficult to follow if all you’ve been reading recently is Dean Koontz.

    Miscellaneous:
    Maybe I’m being impatient, but I’m already considering what I ought to publish after this first collection. I have a long backlog, but part of me wonders if the next project I should do might be a collection of supernatural erotica that I’ve been considering for a couple years. I’ve dabbled in erotica before, enough to know that a story is a story; regardless of genre, character and narrative are the most important things. I’ve also read enough god-awful pieces over the years to know what not to write. Does this sound like a cheap gimmick, to get readers, I mean? Part of me feels like it does – devolving to porn to get noticed. Still, it’s a project that I was intending to do anyways, and I already have a number of stories for it finished or languishing in the queue.

    EDIT: I’ve just received the third part of my hospital bill – at this point, I’ll sell whatever I can make.

    Songs of the day:
    “How’s It Gonna End” by Tom Waits
    “Deeper Blue” by Ghost Dance
     
    marshipan, montecarlo and Lifeline like this.
  19. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #9
    Current Project(s):
    A couple false starts on my short story “Primordial.” After a thousand words I found that the second scene was meandering garbage, so I deep-sixed and rewrote that part in a way that (I hope) pulls the narrative a bit better. I feel like I now know the viewpoint character well enough, but the secondary viewpoint character is a bizarre mystery, even after some creative help from Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials. And I notice that I’ve bypassed my personal deadline for it – something tells me that the beta-readers who may read this manuscript will suggest putting it all on a compost heap or bonfire, where it can achieve its full potential.

    One of my biggest pet peeves with my own writing is saving and canceling out of a document after beginning an unfinished sentence. I hate going over a paragraph and seeing a “The” or “She/He/They” or “It was” and trying to remember where that particular road was supposed to go.

    After finally finding the preliminary notes for what was going to be titled “Circle in the Spiral,” I realized I’d intended to call the damned thing “The Lesser Sign.” As much as I’d like to name something as a reference to one of my favorite songs (“The Windmills of Your Mind,” the Dusty Springfield version), “The Lesser Sign” is much more accurate to the actual narrative.

    Miscellaneous:
    I’m going to follow through with the supernatural erotica project, I think. I’m still convinced that it’s a cheap gimmick to get noticed (regardless of whether or not I would have done it at any point in my writing career anyway), but what the hell. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that my work will never share a shelf with Jack Kerouac or Cormac McCarthy, but I’d rather be closer to that side of the boat than otherwise.

    I don’t know why or from whence they came, but in the past twenty-four hours I’ve been getting more ideas for stories concerning the dark spawn of Shub-Niggurath than I have this entire year. People who’ve read my work or DA journals know that out of all those in Lovecraft’s pseudo-pantheon, it’s the rarely spoken-of Black Goat of the Woods that holds a deeper sway over me than the rest. Partly because I’ve always lived in the woods, partly because I’m attracted to the obscurity behind the entity, the malleability of ascribing associations to Her/Him/Them, the attendant myths of human cultures in relation to Shubby’s contemporary imagery (viz fertility goddesses, sexually-dominant goddesses, divine androgynes or sexually ambiguous deities, patron gods/goddesses of knowledge/witchcraft, the primal wildness of secret or uninhabited regions, etc.) and a couple other reasons that are a bit more personal to mention. I don’t know when I’ll get to start work on them, but I hope it’ll be soon. I hate seeing entries in my writing journal without a red “X” on the page.

    Song of the Day:
    “Electric Head, Pt. 1 (The Agony)” by White Zombie
     
    MWB, marshipan and Lifeline like this.
  20. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #10
    Current Project(s):
    I’m starting to hate myself just a bit more because of this damn short story. It should be done, has to be done right now, but I can’t get into the damn thing. I know what’s supposed to happen and how to write it, but I don’t even feel like writing it. Everything I do feels cheap and tawdry. If I don’t finish this awful problem by the end of the month, I’m going to be very upset. Oh, and I began a new novel concept, one that I actually would like to publish and one that, I hope, would be a good read. One that I’m going to actually try to focus on, instead of jumping from project to project. I get keyed up to do something and then reality hits me, telling me how unimportant my writing is. This is putting my serial work “The Lesser Sign” in the fridge, of course.

    I know why nobody talks to me on any of my social media accounts. Because I’m a pointless buzzkill.

    I hope everyone had a nice Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and what have you.

    Song of the day:
    “Uncle Sven is Coming to Town” by Stan and Doug
     
  21. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    Rock Ridge, 1874
    Well, with that attitude, you're always going to be. It's okay to whine and complain, of course, as long as at the end of the day you plan to get past it. That's what I try to do on my journal - if I find myself complaining too much, I'll come up with a plan to get past what I'm complaining about. Knowing that people will look at it gives me more motivation to actually follow through on those plans, because otherwise I'll just be a constantly dreaming and never doing could've-been. Not to say that's you, because I don't actually know you, I just know what I see on here. But if you're struggling with attitude and feeling really down on yourself, it could be very helpful to try and figure out a way to pull yourself out of it. Perhaps it's just because I'm the kind of person that seems to be physically unable to live in the moment, but that always helps me. Hopefully, it'll help with your motivation problem!
     
    Birch Anderson and Megan-Leigh like this.
  22. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #11
    Current Project(s):
    I can say that I managed to finish “Primordial” before the end of the year. Because all of these stories were written in separate documents, I have to figure out in what order they should go within the manuscript. I know the basics about structuring a short story collection; use your strongest stories like bracing posts, in the beginning, middle and end. I find this incredibly difficult because I can’t really “see” the strengths of my stories. I’m putting the ones that I feel are the most emotionally charged at specific points. I also happily noticed that the ulterior seasonal effect I wanted in the collection is there; for the most part, the beginning stories are all set during the spring, and the end stories occur in winter.

    While I’m setting up the manuscript I’ll be doing another revision to try and catch what issues might have fallen through. At this point, I can’t afford a professional copyeditor. I’m not entirely helpless with self-publishing; I’ve been reading articles and I have several books on that topic.

    The novel project I’m scratching at here and there has the temporary title “Old Growth,” because the one setting of horror that I truly adore is forest-based horror. I know the characters and what they want, as well as where the story takes place in Minnesota, and when the snow melts I’d like to drive up there and walk through that particular state forest (provided it’s open). I can say that it essentially borrows from John Campbell’s Who Goes There? but I’m trying to focus on the suspense and suspicion aspects, rather than on the body horror – although that will be present, too! I want this to be a good read if you like forest horror and tension in small towns.

    Miscellaneous:
    My currently shelved project “The Lesser Sign” is opening up, very slightly. I’ve been having a curious idea regarding it – I’ve recently been watching walkthroughs of different combat racing games (Diddy Kong Racing, Twisted Metal, Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing, Carmageddon, etc), and I wondered if it would be a unique little thing to have something like that in “The Lesser Sign.” I’m worried that the story isn’t interesting, that there’s too much thinking and not a whole lot of doing. Combat racing wouldn’t be a huge narrative point, just a recurring gimmick for the viewpoint character to acquire funds, friends, or fame that she didn’t have (which, I guess, would make it a fair narrative point…).

    Songs of the day:
    “Hangar 18” by Megadeth
    “No Remorse” by Metallica
     
  23. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #12
    Current Project(s):
    I’m one-third of the way through with revising my manuscript, while at the same time formatting it. Microsoft Word is very familiar to me and I know a bit more than just the basic tools, but there seems to still be plenty of room to learn. So far, the biggest issues I’ve spotted have been a) hidden blank pages inserted into the document after adding a page break. I now know this to be because I’ve been using the wrong type of page break; and b) an embarrassing case of unfinished dialogue in one of the stories that, if I may, rings of just as much autobiography as make believe.

    Right now, I’m concerned with the size of the end product. I know 6 in. x 9 in. is the “standard size,” but I’ve been looking at all the books in my own little library that I know were self-published (some so painfully obvious) and I wonder if this size is just another indicator of a self-published product. I know it makes the book look sleek and thin, but I’ve always preferred books with dimensions smaller than 6-by-9.

    There isn’t really a whole lot to add to that. I’m still piddling around with my novel project “Old Growth,” as well as something new I thought up a couple nights ago. I’m also still interested in publishing a brief collection of supernatural erotica, if only because half of the stories that fit with its theme are already finished.

    I have to be careful. One of the reasons I’m not published yet is because I’ve never been able to focus on one project for extended periods of time. That why they’re all still “projects.”

    Songs of the day:
    “The Passion of Lovers” by Bauhaus
    “Black Lipstick” by Powerman 5000
     
  24. Birch Anderson

    Birch Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #13
    Current Project(s):
    I’m happy to say that my manuscript is done. It’s done, done, done. I’m going through it again to smooth out the creases (word repetition, confusing phrases, half-formed thoughts, that sort of thing; I’ve always been a stickler for grammar anyway) and to make sure nothing silly passes through. I would be happy for a third-party or two to go through it, give it a once-over to make sure it’s actually final, but I can’t find anyone who has the time.

    The current issue is that, now that I’m at this stage, I’m focusing even harder on the aspects I really shouldn’t be focusing on; things like if the book will turn out how I want it to (physically speaking), if people will actually purchase it, and if they do, will they piss on it? I’m juggling a pair of other projects at the moment and I really should be focusing on them rather than on things that won’t be relevant until later, but I CAN’T HELP IT.

    This is something I know I’ve mentioned in my DA journal, but I felt I should also mention it here. I know authors are supposed to learn how to develop a thick skin when it comes to criticism, constructive or otherwise, but I’ve never formed one, I don’t know how to, and I don’t know if I will should a bad review come in.

    Miscellaneous:
    I just redacted five paragraphs concerning what’s been going on in the news. There are others in better frames of mind who can give better voice to their thoughts, with a lot less expletives. The gist is that I’m sick and tired of people killing each other for NO VALID REASON. I know that violence and anger is as deeply ingrained in the human species as fear, but goddamn it.

    Song of the day:
    “Gor-Gor” by GWAR
    “Night Crawler” by Judas Priest
     
  25. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,176
    Likes Received:
    5,570
    Location:
    On the Road.
    Congratulations :)
     
    Birch Anderson likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice