Posts Tagged ‘3 Day Novel’

Well, that was fun.  On 13 July, I underwent percutanaceous nephrolithotomy.  Which is a fancy way to say “we stuck a tube through your back, into your kidney, and took out a big honking kidney stone.”  Now big?  About the size of a stack of 10 US nickels.  22mm.  If I didn’t get it out, it would eventually kill the kidney.  We can’t have that.  So, it was under the knife, then a week-long carnival of pain meds, not-bad hospital food, some really good nurses, and an unhealthy obsession with the contents of the drainage tube.  I finally got the tube removed from my back yesterday, and it’s time to move on to other things.

Like Riddled Space.  Yes!  The original novella, first written seven years ago is finally being fully fleshed out, and the other four novels in that universe are being written.  I have the first draft through the editor, and am working to get the final draft in by the end of the month.  Expect publication some time around late August.

I have a bunch of titles out, too.  One novella and two short stories are set in the Paradisi Chronicles open universe.  I also have one other novella, Ownership, set in the Family of Grifters universe.

I love all these tales.  All of them are fresh, new, and NOT recycled 3DN entries.  Well, I did write Live Wire for 3DN, but that was done deliberately, with the full intent of publishing it as soon as the contest was over and the winner selected.  I will put their reveals in separate posts over the next day or so, but in the meantime, I urge you to head over to their Amazon pages.  Here are the links (just click on the titles)

Paradisi Chronicles stories

Nuking the Noomies – The original story that was selected to lead the Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi anthology.  If you’ve not read that anthology, start with this one.
Live Wire – a novella set in the near future, where civil order is on the verge of breaking down, and 10 plutocrats are banding together to escape Earth. Some folks want on the ships, though, and are not above kidnapping to get their tickets.
Eye of the Needle – a short story that is a sequel to Live Wire (though written first).  A dangerous mission to secure an orbital cable, a headstrong woman, and the indulgent father who is bankrolling the mission all figure in this tale from the near future.

Family of Grifters stories

Ownership – The result of a bet that I couldn’t do a 3DN-style writing challenge over President’s Day Weekend, Ownership is a novella that explores who owns what, and who, and how our grifting crew can make changes to it.



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Oh, yeah, baby!  Finally!  My 2014 3DN novella, The Longest Con, is finally in Pre-Order at a special discount price of $1.49.


Covers By Christian

Let me have a moment here to stare at this wonderful Cover by Christian.  Mmmmm.  Damn, it looks good!

Let me say first that I appreciate everyone that has preordered this already, and thank everyone who is thinking of dropping a buck and a half on my work.  Please comment and review–I want to know what my audience thinks about my work.

Here’s the link to Amazon for the book.

NOTE: I will be sitting down Feb 18-20 to write another tale (NOT a sequel) set in the same universe, so yes, there will be more.


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Way back in September, just after I finished the 3-Day Novel Contest, I looked at my hard drive.  I mean, really looked at it.  What did I see?  Seven novellas, all of which did not make the cut for 3Day (I’m not altogether sanguine about my chances this year, either).  Of the group, one will never see the light of day, a second is actually a far-distant sequel to The Honorable Thing, and the third (“Live Wire”) is still in the judging queue.

That left me four novellas, of the seven, that were suitable for self-publication.  So I picked one.  I then reached out to other 3DN participants.  Hey, if I am going down a road, why not have friends along?  I have three or more who really want to see how things go with me, then they will join me.  Not a problem!  One I completely empathize with.  I am glad to have a cheerleading squad on the bus with me.

So, I buckled down, shook out the novella, and sent it to a beta reader and an editor.  Tremendous feedback returned.  Both of them, highly successful professionals, stressed how much more they wanted to know about my characters and demanded sequels.  Thus, the Family of Grifters series was born.

The Longest Con was a 2014 3DN entry that garnered zero attention from the judges.   But it was both one of my favorites and one of the shorter works I have done.  Now, I’ve been asked to add something to it (understandable), and get it published.  I engaged one of the great upper mid-range cover artists, Christian Bentulan, to create the first of what I hope will be many covers for the Family of Grifters series.  Oh, you want to see it?  Here it is!

The Longest Con

The Longest Con

Pre-order opens on 2/1/2017, TLC launches on 2/10/2017.

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Just a short note, because I really have to get my head into this:  3 Day Novel begins at midnight.  Follow (if you dare) the maniacal crew from all over the US and Canada (and the world) as we try to write a 30k novella in 72 hours.  http://SmartURL.it/3DN_ChatZone

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As promised, here are some Happenings since July.

Agent Search:  Still going on.  No new queries since October, of course.  I should restart this.

Three Day Novel:  Yes, I took part in this one.  We’re still waiting on the results.

Paradisi Chronicles:  This one deserves its own post.  An open universe, tied to a Future Chronicles anthology by the incomparable Samuel Peralta.  I was invited to write a short story and submit it.  The story has survived canonical review, and is awaiting Sam’s approval.

National Novel Writing Month:  As previously reported, I am one of two Municipal Liaisons for this fantastic organization.  In November, one is challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That I did, despite being out of state for about half the month.  Although the novel degenerated badly, at the end, I did write two very nice treatments of hard SF topics which I will extract and polish.  So it was worthwhile.

StarShipSofa:  I was offered the chance to narrate one of their stories, which I jumped on.  SSSofa is a Hugo-Award winning weekly podcast heard by thousands.  I recorded the narration before my brother passed away, did most of the editing, and then John died.  I couldn’t focus enough to revoice the MC, but they liked the product anyway.  They also added a nice tribute to my brother in the intro, which I found very touching.  Click the link and listen.

Princeton Writing Group:  Every Tuesday, I lead the meetings at the local Panera Bread.  This is where I got most of my writing and editing done.

Speaking of editing, I have finished the First Flensing of The Honorable Thing.  I cut it down from 221,000 words to just under 106,000.  The Second Flensing will whittle that down further to 85,000 or less.  It’s now out to Alpha Readers, so that I know it is at least somewhat readable before I invest more time in it.

Oh, and I’ve submitted stories in a few spots.

And…that’s about it.  Sorry it seems like I’ve been dogging it.  John’s Estate sucks up a lot of time.  I really miss him.

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An implied question on the 3DayNovel boards got me to thinking about the pantsing/plotting question. The poster said “It’s a good start to a story I like. I know I need to plot!” The implication here is that if you have a problem just pantsing it (writing without a pre-planned plot) then your only choice is to plot. The problem is that decision is, IMHO, missing a vital first step. So I wrote the following response:

I would like to propose a distinction here: Everyone talks about plotting. Plotting, plotting. In my mind, that calls up the image of everyone in the villain’s lair, over a guttering candle, with a roll of plans held down by a rock, a knife, and a pistol. Sure that happens, but I think it is a late-intermediate step in the creation of a work.

First, you must think. Ask some hard questions. What is the MC’s purpose? What is the villain’s purpose? (I think that one is more important). What is the story question? What happens if the MC doesn’t solve the story question? How does the MC divine the story question? Does he have upside to avoiding the question?*

If the plot is the step-by-step construction of the story, putting the framework on the house, then the thinking is not just the foundation, it’s the siting of the story: are you building this house on a steep 60 degree slope? In a river? On a salt flat? Deep in the woods?

These are examples of bad places to site a house. Here’s the equivalent writing situations: Is your story so one-sided that you cannot depict a believable villain story and purpose (slope)? Or in such a chaotic setting that the idea of a stable, progressing story line is ludicrous (river)? Is the setting, or characters so arid that even you are bored (salt flat)? Or is the story concept so banal, so plebian, that there are hundreds of others like it (woods)?

That doesn’t mean you have a bad house. You have a bad site upon which to build your house. Manipulate some of your initial postulates in order to find that blend of contrast and utility that says :That house? It fits right in there.”

THEN you start plotting.


* – I’ve never been a fan of much of the horror subgenre where a bunch of young adults go into the only to have the evil pick them off one by one. About ten minutes into any such movie, I start cheering the evil for cleaning the gene pool of these obvious idiots. No, I get it…leave nobody behind, etc. But there is usually a period where escape is possible for all, and the apprehension of evil is there, but these fools keep going deeper. There is a huge upside to avoiding the main question here. Take the girl by the hand and leave. Come back in the daylight.

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Well, Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, and with it, another 3 Day Novel effort. This year, well, it wasn’t nearly as much satisfying as previous years. I’m not entirely sure why, though.

Maybe it was the length. At 21k, it was my ‘lightest’ effort yet. I don’t quite see how they could ever sell this as a ‘book’–it’s barely 100 pages long. My previous low mark for a 3DN was 25.5k. The story is only going to be as long as the story takes, though. I wasn’t about to fluff it up just so there’s more to read.

Maybe it was my writing speed. My first 3DN, I was running about 1250 WPH, whereas back then, my ‘normal’ pace was 1500. This one was just as slow, but my ‘normal’ speed is really up around 1800 wph. So, instead of going at 80% speed, I was going at 67%. It felt slower, and thus, more painful. I remember thinking I had lost my mojo…I was faster than this!

Finally, there was the subject matter. It was interesting to me, but it lacked something. Maybe because it was the written recasting of a long con that a TV series had explored, based on a movie, itself based on a book. Sure, the setting was novel, but the essential elements were not.

Well, it’s done and submitted, and all I have to do is wait. But I have no illusions–if it was this painful to write, I know it’s going to be painful to read. Well, we’ll know by 1 March.

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