Flea-writing, Cloudpunk, & Bad Thoughts

What did I work on last week?

I got a lot of DIRTY BONE drafted last week. It’s been such a different experience writing this book. More often than not, I have a gut instinct for what scene I want to work on for a given day, and I jump around the manuscript like a flea. The only real guidance is tension development–is this scene going to be more or less intense than scenes that come after it? Then I nestle it in where it should go. It’s a weird one, I’ll give it that, but I’m having a lot of fun, and so far I’m on target to hit my 50k word count by mid-October, so I’m pretty jazzed about that!

I also wrote a silly little flash story that I’m not sure I’ll do anything with, really, but it made me giggle after a day of watching a few episodes of Indian Matchmaking and fighting with Verizon’s website and automated voice assistant (thank goodness for real people in customer support!) to get my mom’s phone updated.

What’s inspiring me?

I’ve been getting back into video games after getting burned by THE LONG DARK again a few weeks ago. (Burned = I died again. Of course I did! DEATH IS ALWAYS THE END.) In its absence, I’ve been picking up CLOUDPUNK again, which is cute and fun. It reminds me a bit of SimCopter (ah, the 90s!), but with a really great cyberpunk feel and interesting characters. I’m enjoying the choice options, and I’m getting a little better at not ramming my flying car into buildings.

I also just finished SECRETS OF PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE, and while I have a few reservations about it, I came away from it with some really cool insights that I’m hoping to try. The biggest one, I think, is utilizing questions to probe your creativity. I’ve heard of authors using this before, but it’s interesting to apply it to a whole-life view and see where it leads. I also ADORED the idea of low-level systems, getting all those little life choices into a routine/systematic method so that you don’t have to spend much time on them (i.e., for me, cleaning house, which I hate but which needs to get done at least semi-regularly). I spent a lot of time the last year working on systemizing my wardrobe, which I’ve finally gotten to a place I’m really happy with. If that kind of systemization interests you, I’d also recommend ATOMIC HABITS, which has some great suggestions for how to build new habits and break old ones. WORK CLEAN also has some wonderful insights into how to reduce decision overload by planning ahead (i.e. making a system) to streamline your day.

I started reading BAD THOUGHTS by Nada Alic this past week when trying to keep up with reading a short story a day, and so far, I’ve really loved it. Every story has made me burst out laughing at some point, and I find her writing engaging.

Oh! And Andy and I started FRESH last night, and WOW, did not realize it was going to be that brutal. I mean, it’s GOOD, and I find myself running bits of dialogue over and over in my head, but there were more than a few times both of us squeamed out, and that takes a bit.

What am I working on this week?

With my folks gone this week, I’ll probably only get into the office once or twice (I desperately need to update my notebook!), but I’m aiming for 20m a day on DIRTY BONE to keep me on-pace for a mid-October finish. My goal right now is to finish the rough draft by mid-October, rest it for Nov/Dec, and cold-read it again in January to plan my initial type-through. After that, I’m hoping I’ll get it to beta readers who can tell me if I’m batshit insane or if this thing actually has legs. Once I get those notes back, I’m hoping I’ll be able to whip the edits together in a few months (depending on how bad the notes are) and maybe (MAYBE?! PLEASE?!) get it revised and ready to submit by next fall. Wouldn’t that be magical?!

Also, I’ve got an interview with Apex Magazine’s Editor Jason Sizemore coming up tomorrow to promote their current 2023 Kickstarter, so keep your eyes open for that!

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