Posted in General

Looking at Projects

Halfway through January and I still don’t have a main project selected for the month. Part of that is because I’ve still been heavily focused on the launch for Crimson and Gold. Writing however, is not a ‘one and done’ type of thing. There’s always something else to do, be that creating new stories or editing older ones.

So, to figure out what I’m doing next, I took a look at my project list. I always have a plethora of projects and ideas, but having them written down and organized keeps me from adding to continuously to it.

It’s already a huge list with a total of fifty-two stories in various states. Some of these are in a need of a major overhaul and rework. Others are bare-bones skeletons that I haven’t looked at in a while. Two of them spun off into serials.

As there’s no actual order to the list, that was my first step. Of those fifty-two stories, fourteen are in a rough draft. Another seventeen are in a bare bones state of what is essentially, story chunks. One is technically in that story chunk state, but as that is part of rewriting the story, that’s at the top of my list, right below the two complete and published stories. One more is in the drafting state where I’m working on strengthening the story and word choice, but not quite ready to start considering how to share it with readers.

The remaining seventeen are the basis for stories. Things like short stories that have kept growing, or a detailed idea.

Because I have so many ideas that are in the earliest stages, I’m focusing on getting those out of the early stages for now.

How do you organize your projects?

Posted in writing

Final Stages of NaNoPrep

Next Friday is the official start of NaNoWriMo. That leaves just under a week for the last bits of NaNoPrep.

For me, now that I have my notes and ideas organized and laid out in one convenient place, that means spending a lot of time doing exploratory exercises. Most of these are aimed at working out characters and character relations. A few of those have spawned new ideas as well.

I’m hoping I get a chance to explore and play with all of the ideas I have for now, but I also know that realistically, thirty days is not a lot of time to write. One of the last things I need to do for NaNoPrep is decide which idea to work on and which ones I’ll have to set aside for now.

On the non-writing side however, NaNoPrep also means getting my space and schedule ready to devote the necessary time to sitting and writing. My desk is cleared off and I’m hoping to prep a couple of light meals for lunches that can be easily reheated during the first week so I can hopefully get a good headstart for when other things inevitably get in the way later this month.

What are your last items for NaNoPrep?

Posted in books, writing

Creating a Launch Plan

One of the most daunting tasks I’ve faced so far with Crimson and Gold is figuring out how to share it with readers. It’s a little too long for most short story markets, and longer than I want to post here. The story itself doesn’t fit into a serialization either. That leaves few options, of which I’ve settled on self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Shorts.

The next hurdle: figuring out how to launch it. Although I could easily just hit ‘publish’ and call it good, advice and evidence both say that’s not the best option. Like anything else,  it takes work to make sure it doesn’t get buried before readers even go looking for their next read. There are plenty of guides catered to launching full-length books, but what about something that’s only just over thirteen thousand thousand words?

It turns out finding any sort of short story launch guide is difficult. I won’t say impossible, but I also didn’t find any myself either. There are dozens of book launch plans however, and they all start months before launch, and some of them start years beforehand.

Given the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of publishing anything, that makes a lot of sense. Cover designers need time to work. A final copyedit and readthrough needs time. Buzz takes time to create and spread. All of that can take weeks and months to create and implement, so number one rule of creating a launch plan: Start several months before launch. 

The next part is figuring out what your launch plan needs to do. Do you have a social media presence to utilize? Do you need to start one and work on building it? What about getting your book or story formatted? Do you have a cover or any teaser images you can use to create buzz? Remember the more your launch plan needs to do before launch day, the more time you need.

Another part of how long you need is going to center on what you plan to do to create buzz. Are you going to have events or items at your local library, school or bookstore? What about a blog tour? Pre-Orders and reviews?

For Crimson and Gold, given how short it is, I’ve opted to keep my focus on making sure it’s formatted and put together. While I won’t be doing any massive blog tours and I’m still iffy on doing pre-orders for a short story, I do want to use teaser images and a cover reveal to get the word out. Those are all things that need to be timed and ready weeks beforehand. That means for something I started planning at the end of September, I’m looking at the end of January at the very earliest.

To actually create and write my launch plan, I gave myself goals and deadlines for each month and the weeks leading up to the intended launch date. Once I had the general goals, I could break each goal down into what needed to be done to complete it. I added general deadlines to each step and ended up with a pretty good structure of what needed to happen and when.

What are any tips or tricks you’ve learned for writing a launch plan? Any experiences you want to share from your launches?


Posted in blogging, General

On Being Overwhelmed

Normally I like to set one project a month to focus on, for a couple of reasons. One, I’m not as likely to get distracted by a million other projects I want to work on. Two, it makes it easier to break down huge tasks into smaller ones. In a perfect situation, that means I’m not juggling a multide of things to do.

Life being what it is however, that’s not always the case. For this month, I’m not only juggling my main project, but also a new job, and trying to put together some semblance of a plan for what I’m doing with Crimson and Gold. Faced with the first round of edits on my current project, wanting to start NaNoPrep and figuring out what I need to do for a launch, it feels like there’s not enough hours in the day.

When facing a seemingly insurmountable task–or tasks, as the case very well is–often it helps to take a step back. Some of that overwhelming feeling comes from picking up more things and forgetting not everything has to be done right now. Often it helps to figure out which tasks can be done later. In this case, that happens to be my NaNoPrep.

Another part of that is also to break the large tasks down into smaller tasks. For my first round of edits, that means breaking it down into doing a plot overview and an outline so I can fix a couple of larger plotholes. For sorting out Crimson and Gold, that means taking a day or two and coming up with a plan so I can check things off as they get done. After all, I’m at least a few months away from publishing that, which means plenty of time to organize myself so I’m not swamped by huge amounts of work.

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?

Posted in General, writing

Keeping Your Notes

At some point in the writing process—be that before you even start the first draft, or when you start polishing it—you’re going to create notes. What exactly those notes include changes based on your style, the genre and where you are in the process. Regardless of what’s in them, you’ll need a way to keep them organized, of which there are plenty of ways to choose from.

Story Bibles are one way. These are hard copy notes, often kept in binders and organized into different sections. Often they can be great for keeping track of series as well as for any notes you make while in the different stages of writing, revising and editing.

Notekeeping software is becoming more and more common. Things like OneNote, Evernote, Google Keep and many others are widely available across a range of prices from the free to the pricey. These can allow you to organize your notes all under one story, setting, time period or whatever else works for you. This can be invaluable for large amounts of research and for expansive world building.

Speaking of software, writing programs such as Scrivener and the Novel Factory can be used to keep some notes right from the start. This can help keep making forward progress as well as make managing notes on plot, setting and even characters much easier.

There’s also no reason you can’t use multiple ways of keeping notes. For the actual editing notes such as my outlines and character arcs, I use binders to contain those, but when it comes to world building and setting notes, I keep it in OneNote for quick reference. What do you use to organize your notes?