Saturday, January 24, 2009

Writing resources: Podcasts

A wonderful resource for writers has emerged in the last few years: the audio podcast.

A podcast (for those of you living in caves to escape the zombie apocalypse) is a downloadable radio show you can listen to on an ipod or other mp3 player. Writing podcasts have interviews with authors, advice on technique and other topics that are talked about by the host or cast. They’re a good way to hear how other people do things and to learn about careers, ongoing projects and tricks used by your favorite authors.

The nice thing about a podcast (vs. a book, video or web-site) is that you can take it with you anywhere, and you can listen to it while doing other things. I listen to podcasts when I workout, when I drive, while shopping and when I’m doing busywork at the day job. This squeezes dead-space out of my day, allowing me to think about writing and learn during times that are otherwise wasted.

As far as content goes, you can find just about anything, from fiction markets (Escape Pod, Drabblecast), to author interviews (AISFP), to grammar (Grammar Girl), to insane rants by total egomainiacs(unlisted to protect the innocent).

My two favorites, are Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing and I Should be Writing. Both are well produced, interesting, informative and motivating.

Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing focuses on author and editor interviews with some commentary from the hosts. Shaun Farrell puts it together and it is cohosted by Sam Wynns. They have a good mix of big names and on-the-rise authors and some interesting interviews with editors.

I Should be Writing is a bit more personal, with the host, Mur Lafferty, focusing on her writing. She spices it up with author interviews and seems to be doing more interviews. She also spends a lot of time on listener feedback and questions, which is nice if have a question about something. It is also inspiring to listen to her progress as she started the show as a beginner and just last year had her first book come out.

There are dozens of writing podcasts to check out, but these two are the best I have found.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekly Status -- January 12, 2009

Lame week. Near the end of the draft, focusing more and more on revision. Not motivated to crank out the last few scenes. Still enjoying the story and characters, but writing it is starting to feel like work and every random side-project I think of seems more appealing than working on the book.

Almost everyone I’ve talked to hits this rough mid-point. And most people rediscover the joy when they work past it. So, I’ll press ahead.

Decided to spend a week of vacation on the book to keep the momentum going, so I plan to write full time next week. It seems like the best opportunity to do this--it should get me past the rough spot and there might not be another chance to do this later in the year because the day job looks like it will have a busy summer, busy fall and hectic winter.

The plan is to take 4-5 days this week to work on the book full time. No family. No day job.

The goal:
1) Complete the rough draft.
2) Read-through and assess the whole book.
3) Identify major changes and gaps.
4) Start 1st draft.

This should position me to work the rest of the 1st draft in daily dribbles (the 1 & 2 hour writing sessions that can be squeezed out of any day).

Here are the vital statistics (from Sunday Jan 3rd):

Rough Draft 55593 words
1st Draft 22264 words
2nd Draft 15314 words

Total: 93171 words

And some stats on the support files:

Outline: 25898 words
Brainstorming: 22887 words

Continuous days writing: 137

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Status: January 4, 2009

Good in the sense I wrote a lot of new material. But the writing is dragging. This is Week 21 working on this book. That is longer than I expected the initial draft to take (I was thinking short book, ~16 weeks). I have lost my enthusiasm and I am starting to think more and more about revision and marketing.

Took two days off to work on a flash-fiction piece. Set in the same world, but exploring different characters. It goes to the writing exercise we do periodically. I’m curious to see how it is received.

Had one short story rejection come in. Not sure how the short fiction will turn out. I wrote and, more importantly, submitted a lot last year. With my head buried in the book like a big fat zombie tick, I’m not sure when or how much I will be able to focus on short fiction. Sigh.

Here are the vital statistics (from Sunday Jan 3rd):

Rough Draft 53659 words
1st Draft 22264 words
2nd Draft 15314 words

Total: 91237 words

And some stats on the support files:

Outline: 25898 words
Brainstorming: 22621 words

Continuous days writing: 130