Category Archives: Writing

2013 Writing in Charts

Back in 2010 I started logging all of my writing time, which means now I can have nifty pie charts.

So here is 2013, in charts.


I spent big chunks of time on three different books, and a bunch of short stories. While I got a lot done, it sometimes didn’t feel like I was making progress because my time was split up a lot more. I knew that already, but it’s nice to see my impression confirmed. There were good reasons for my jumping around, but I don’t want to start any more novels until two of these are done.

Some notes: These titles bear little resemblance to what the books will actually be called. About 2/3 of my logged time was spent actually working on projects. The rest includes things like critiquing, sending stories out, writing classes or books about writing, and reading slush, most of which falls under the “None” project.

The next chart breaks down how much time I spent planning, writing, and revising each project. (With all short stories lumped together, because that’s easier.)


You can’t compare one ring to the next in absolute numbers. (For example, I spent less than an hour on the Arcology book all year, but since it’s on the outer ring it looks like a lot.)

I’m happy to see a large proportion of actual writing time on most projects, since that’s the fun part of the work. Between parts of two novels and several short stories, I wrote more than 100,000 words last year.

This would be a fun chart to do for a single project or set of projects over multiple years.

I also have bar charts! (I’m sure you’re all as excited by this as I am. This is what I did on my New Year’s day holiday last week.)


That dip in July is from my two-week vacation. The spike in September is a combination of two deadlines: the Strange Chemistry open submission and a novel contest on the Codex writers forum (careful inspection of November and December will tell you that I changed my mind about which novel to enter in the contest). And despite my comment at the beginning of this post, although I worked on three different books, I mostly didn’t work on all of them at once. The only project I worked on in all 12 months of 2013 was my catch-all “short story” project (and no, it was not the same story all year).

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2014 Writing Goals

Writing goals! The only kind I set any more. Even these are flexible.

Posted on All Rights Reserved.

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Writing Roundup

I was doing a great job posting regularly before my January hacking incident. When I cut back on blogging, one of the things that I dropped was my monthly lists of things I’d posted on the blog of All Rights Reserved, my mostly local writing group.

So, here is an approximately quarterly roundup. This is not everything, just the things I still think are worth pointing out.


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Read “The Girl with Flowers for Hair” online

If you’re not an email subscriber to Daily Science Fiction (you should be), you can now read my story “The Girl with Flowers for Hair” on their website.

Also, I really like the art they’re displaying today.

In other news, it snowed last night and tonight’s low is supposed to be around 20. I have tiny lettuce seedlings that just came up a week or two ago (either from seeds I planted way back in early Sept., or from the lettuce that went to seed). I hope they like snow. Also some self-seeded dill and some chives–I kept tossing chive seeds from my potted plant in the garden for ages. I hope some of these chives will survive so I can ditch the pot.

And chard. Always chard. Hopefully until this weekend, at least, when I’ll have a chance to pick it. Though if it’s like last year’s chard it’ll stick around for a while.

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Story (almost) published and drawing flowers

My story “The Girl with Flowers for Hair” will be emailed to Daily Science Fiction subscribers tomorrow. Everyone else can read it on the web next Tuesday.

The story mentions drawing and improving at it. I’ve wanted to draw for a long time, but I didn’t get around to trying until recently. You know the joke about drawing instructions? Step 1, Draw an oval. Step 2, Add a few lines. Step 3, Paint the Mona Lisa. That’s what it always seemed like.

Last year I bought a couple drawing books and this year I started looking at them (mostly Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner). It explains things in a way my art-deficient brain can understand.

Friday I drew this sunflower, from Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner.


It’s the first thing I drew with actual drawing pencils instead of a single mechanical pencil. Having a choice of pencils made shading it a million times easier.

I still have a lot to learn, but it’s starting to feel like I could eventually do this well enough to entertain myself.


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Writing News (bug edition)

1. My story “Kalar’s Wall”–full of magic and giant beetles–is out in issue 8 of Plasma Frequency in print and various ebook formats.

I bet Kalar wouldn’t like our huge Midwestern crickets any more than I do.

2. I got an Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest on a story featuring giant space-faring crustaceans. Still a rejection, but it’s nice to know someone other than me found at least some good in the story. And now I can send it out to other markets.

3. In arthropod-free news, I’m now a slush reader for Flash Fiction Online. For the non-writers among you, that means I get to read the stories people submit and help decide whether to accept them. I did this at another magazine a while ago and am excited to get back to it, especially at a market that I enjoy reading.

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Productive writer is productive

This weekend I was lucky to be able to attend a writing retreat. I love hanging out with other writers, and I’m more productive when I don’t have my house/yard/etc. around to distract me. I finished revising another chunk of my novel, revised a short story, and mostly went over all the ideas I’ve developed for the book I’m writing next and created an outline.

The writing process I’ve developed means that even though I haven’t started writing the book yet, I have 27,000 words on it. Not all of them will make it into even the first draft, much less later drafts. But it’s nice not to start from zero.

This month I’ll be finishing the rest of the novel revisions, developing a more detailed outline of the new book, and starting to put words into the actual draft.

Speaking of productivity, I’ve increased the amount of writing time I put in each week by around 50% since spring. I have the same amount of time blocked out on my schedule, but having more of it on weekends than weekday evenings means I am more likely to put the time in. This also explains the state of my yard and the half-finished pair of shorts on the sewing table.

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What I’m Writing Right Now

For the past few weeks, I’ve been revising a novel to submit to Strange Chemistry while they’re taking unagented submissions. I like having a deadline to aim for.

I usually dislike revising, but this has been going well–of course, it’s also the third time I’ve gone over this book, so most of the big problems were already taken care of. It’s still taking a big chunk of my writing time, but not all of it: I’m also working on the outline of the book I want to write this winter.

Combining those two projects is taking a lot of time. Last week I didn’t quite get everything done that I wanted to, even though I hit all of my scheduled writing slots. So this week I’ll be trying to squeeze in more writing time.

Which is a very long way of saying that I haven’t gone through more photos of my July trip yet.

In other news, I sold another story to Daily Science Fiction, so look for that in a few months. I like working on books but the short production time for short stories, especially flash, is really nice.

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Worm Farming My Novel

I find that when I’m programming something, there’s a constant reward cycle going on. I make a change. “Ooh, that worked! What happens if I do this?” I make another change. “Oops. That was wrong. I’ll try this…” And so on, in a constant cycle of change, result, change, result that makes me lose track of time.

Almost like playing a game. Click here, get 10 points. Drag there, get 20 points. Click over there, release the demons, oops, try again.

Writing, on the other hand, doesn’t work that way. Revise a scene. My reward: another scene. My reward: another scene. Only 80 more to go! It’s more like worm farming in Angband, where you let the low-level worms breed and then keep killing them over and over again until you’re strong enough to do something fun.

Ok, the actual making-stuff-up, what-happens-next bit is kind of gamelike. “Ooh, she can hide in this cave! Uh oh, now she’s running from a bear and a werewolf. Hey, I wonder what happens if…” But every day of fun seems to be followed by three days of worm farming.

I think I’m going to call revising worm farming from now on. Maybe it’ll catch on.

With that, back to the worm pens I go. The slimy critters need to be culled.

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Eggplant and Giant Beetles

The first eggplant of 2013

The first eggplant of 2013

We’ve eaten three eggplants from the garden, and there’s a tiny fourth one on the plant. Plus more flowers. I don’t know what I did differently this year–moved it to a sunnier spot in the yard, maybe–but I’m happy.

This first fruit was unfortunately bitter; the second two I grilled the day I picked them, and they were quite tasty.

In other news, my story “Kalar’s Wall” sold to Plasma Frequency, so sometime you’ll be able to read about an attack by an army of giant beetles. Everyone needs a giant beetle story every now and then.

In other other news, yes, I still need to blog about my trip. I was sick the whole week after getting back, and this weekend I’ll be at Gen Con, so it’ll be a while.


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