Tag Archive: editing


Minnesota Stories

IMG_2706I’ve been revising my short story “The Satellite Dish,” which is a follow-up to “The Mailbox” and takes place  three years later, in 1984. Back in my college years while I was working toward my English degree with an emphasis on creative writing, I generally wrote nongenre fiction for my classes, what is sometimes called “literary fiction,” but that always sounds so pompous that I’m reluctant to use the label.

The first one was “Me and the Mean Kid,” which was about Nicky and the rocky start he had with Jimmy, a kid in his new Twin Cities neighborhood. After that came “The New Kid,” where the tables had turned; now Jimmy and Nick are best friends and a new kid moves into the house between them. Around the time I graduated I wrote “The Mailbox,” about Nick’s grandparents on his father’s side, who live outside the small fictional town of Lewis near the real cities of Cloquet and Carlton (my home town) south of Duluth. I still have the first typewritten draft of that, as the photo shows.

There were other stories and lots of notes about the intertwining characters. The setting of the earliest story I’ve written is 1944. A number of the stories take place in the eighties and nineties because that’s when I was writing them. I had grand plans for two short story collections and a novel; I even wrote the first chapter of the novel. Its present day is 1995, but the bulk of the story would be a flashback to 1965. Not all of these details were known in the stories’ first drafts, but have been fleshed out and added in over the years.

At some point I started calling them the Minnesota Stories, and I still have a fondness for them. The ones that focus on the extended family tend to be nice little stories. There’s a subset of the Minnesota Stories set in Duluth that are more tangential and edgier, however. Some are about Nick’s dad’s cousin, but the rest are about people who he knows or crosses paths with. Those stories and vignettes are more Raymond Carver inspired than Garrison Keillor inspired.

As my schedule permits, I’ll probably continue revisiting these pieces, revising them and putting them out as e-books. Realistically, I can now imagine someday having a modest collection of stories and a novella. If I ever get there I would probably look into a print version: I like to think that could be a solid regional seller. But that is still down a long, dusty country road . . .

Yesterday I submitted my final reviews of the invasive species manuscripts I wrote work-for-hire. I did four of these: Africanized honeybees, red imported fire ants, zebra mussels, and kudzu (the vine that ate the south).

These were very short books for elementary school reluctant readers, so they had to be at a specific reading level. The process necessary to get them there turned out to be the most difficult job I’ve ever had, and if you only knew the behind-the-scenes stories of some of the projects I’ve worked on in my years in this business, you would fully appreciate that statement.

OK, one story: I once worked on a book that the author submitted hard copy. I had to arrange for someone to key enter the manuscript into Word. At one point the author submitted changes, including inserts where he had cut manuscript pages in two and taped in new typewritten passages. Now that was old school! Great guy and a great book, but . . . wow.

Back to invasive species: the ratio of hours of research, writing, and revising to the final word count was off the hook. I only barely crawled across the finish line thanks to my editors on the project. The finished books will be another strange addition to my scattershot publishing resumé, which includes Star Trek stories, a Led Zeppelin discography, and poetry (with one poem given an honorable mention on Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year list in 2010).

I’m looking forward to sticking to one freelance project at a time for the foreseeable future. This will give me time to get back to some long-neglected writing projects of my own. At least that’s the plan, but . . . did I mention we’re house hunting?

As a writer and an editor, I have a pile of pet peeves concentrated around dialogue. It seems so simple, and yet it trips up everyone from beginners to pros. Although the basic format long ago became second nature to me, I still find examples of most of my other pet peeves in my first drafts. Sometimes I find examples of these in my published work, and that really drives me nuts. So, what bugs me about dialogue? Let’s dig in …

Talking Points
       “Dialogue format is pretty simple,” said Bob. “But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for beginners.”
       Sue nodded. “If you get confused, just grab a novel off your bookshelf to use as a guide.”
       “What she said. And start a new paragraph for each speaker.”

The dialogue above demonstrates the two key attributes of the format: indenting for each person and indicating—when necessary!—who’s speaking with phrases outside the dialogue. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen beginning fiction writers forget to use indentation, creating a solid block of quotes that’s difficult for the reader to untangle into a conversation. In other instances, dialogue is not clearly or correctly attributed, leaving the reader puzzled about who’s saying what. Once this basic format has been applied, we can dig deeper into the rest of my pet peeves, which are more about style and less about nuts-and-bolts structure.

Look, Who’s Talking? Dialogue Tags and Character Actions
There are three basic ways of indicating to the reader which character is delivering a line of dialogue. One is the direct dialogue tag, like the “said Bob” used above. Another is giving the character a bit of stage direction like “Sue nodded.” Both of these clearly indicate to the reader which character is saying the related quote. The third way is more subtle, as demonstrated by the final line of dialogue above. Because there are only two people in this scene, it’s clear that quote is from Bob. These few points are at the heart of a bunch of pet peeves.

Excessive dialogue tags: If there are only two people talking, don’t use a dialogue tag for every line. The reader gets that the characters are speaking alternately. If there’s a pause in the discussion, and then the same character who last spoke starts speaking again, that needs to be explained. Otherwise, just let the conversation flow.

Awkward saidisms: Using “said” is perfectly acceptable. Some direction can be effective, such as “she whispered.” But don’t go out of your way to come up with new expressions to describe a line reading, like “she grated” or “he masticated.” What do those even mean? And be careful about redundancies like “she yelled loudly.”

Punctuating actions like tags (or vice versa): Be careful about the format. These are not correct:

       “If you’re getting confused,” Sue nodded, “just grab a novel off your bookshelf.”
       Bob said. “What she said.”

Talking is Hard and People are Lazy
It’s easy to throw everything into dialogue, far more than what should be there. This is another source of pet peeves for me.

Wordy dialogue: People often speak in simple or incomplete sentences. A person wouldn’t generally say, “Bill, open that door for me because it’s locked, and I couldn’t find my key in my jacket.” The person stuck out in the cold would simply say, “Hey, open the door, I lost my key.” Or just, “Open up, dammit!”

Dialogue as first drafted can often be condensed for a more natural sound. Your characters’ speech doesn’t need to be grammatical. Of course, if one of your characters is a strict English teacher, maybe he will often speak in full, perfect sentences.

Exposition as dialogue: Explain background information in the narrative, don’t stick it all into your characters’ mouths. One reason this often falls flat is that, in order to give the reader necessary back story, the writer has one character tell another character something they both already know:

       “This is serious,” said Doctor Johnson. “Her heart’s in bad shape. She’s in poor physical condition, and her unhealthy diet hasn’t helped. If we don’t operate soon, her chances of survival are slim.”
       Doctor Smith frowned. “Well, duh, I’m her cardiologist, why are you telling me this?”

The Name Game: Outside of parents talking to toddlers, people rarely call each other by name. Unless a character is calling for someone in a group, leave out the name. Don’t resort to excessive use of names as a way to indicate who’s speaking. Using a character’s name in dialogue can produce a certain dramatic tone, but the effect is weakened if used repeatedly.

This Discussion is Over
Not because I’ve covered everything, but just the opposite. I could go on forever about little stylistic things, like if you need several dialogue tags in a row, vary the format (“said Bob” vs. “Sue said”) and the placement (before quote, during quote, after quote). Or if a character says, “Dammit, I don’t want to go, and you can’t make me!” you probably don’t have to add “she said angrily” because the content of the dialogue makes her emotions clear on its own. So we’re just stopping here for convenience.

       “And,” he said, “because I want to get some chocolate. Mmm … chocolate.”

My Lost Star Trek Sidebar

TrekUnauthBack in 2011, the ever-ebullient Bob Greenberger was contracted to write Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History for Voyageur Press. He solicited sidebar contributions from several other Star Trek writers and fans, including myself. I was excited to be able to contribute to the book. In fact, I’d actually helped the book happen behind the scenes. At the time I worked for Zenith Press, another imprint for the same publishing company that owned Voyageur Press. One of their acquiring editors had asked me, as the company’s resident Trek fanatic, if I thought they should do a Trek book. My response was probably something along the lines of, “Uh . . . YEAH!” We kicked some ideas back and forth, and I dropped Bob’s name as a possible author for the book. Happily, it all came together, which is never guaranteed in the publishing industry.

Then things took a twist. One day I was in my cube working on one of my projects, probably a World War II book, which was a specialty of Zenith Press, when Voyageur’s publisher dropped by. He said that it would probably make sense to have the company’s resident Trek fanatic be the editor for Bob’s manuscript, if I was interested in doing it. My response was probably something along the lines of, “Uh . . . YEAH!” So I took on the project (and suggested adding the silhouettes and Vasquez Rocks to the cover). But now that I’d become the editor, my previously contracted sidebar got a little weird. I would essentially be submitting something to myself. It seemed awkward, but I wrote the sidebar. When the manuscript went to the copyeditor, I explained the situation and said, “Be ruthless on mine.”

The copyeditor took that to heart and responded that some of the stuff I covered in my piece was similar to the other sidebars, and since I already felt uncomfortable about it, his suggestion was to simply cut mine from the manuscript. That was absolutely the right call, so Bob and I cut my sidebar and I didn’t have to feel weird about it any longer.

I stumbled across the piece in my computer files recently and thought that the sidebar, and the story behind it, might be of some passing interest to my fellow Trek fans. So here it is. (Side note: as the book was unauthorized, we generally couldn’t use official photography from the franchise, so much of the book is illustrated with photos of my personal memorabilia collection!)

Old Fans, New Fans

Tucked away somewhere in a box in the basement is a get-well card I received from a classmate in the third grade which reads along the lines of “Get well soon so you can come back to school and play Star Trek.” That would have been about 1972, so I’ve been a Star Trek fan for four decades. Not as long as some, but it still easily qualifies me as an old fan.

Flash forward from my childhood adventures aboard the Enterprise to about thirty years later, the early 2000s. My daughter, Ella, asked me, “What’s this Star Trek thing you’re always talking about?” I decided to introduce her through the animated version, thinking the cartoons might draw her in more easily than the original series. I figured she’d like it, but I didn’t foresee that she would love it and instantly become a fan. But even though she started about the same age I did, her experience of Star Trek is wildly different than mine.

For fans who came to the franchise in the twenty-first century, there is a wide-ranging body of TV series and movies that already existed when they started watching. That’s a completely different way of exploring the Trek universe compared to those of us who experienced its growth in real time, especially those of us who lived through the decades of a single show being the whole universe. In those pre-VCR years, you had to have a channel that syndicated the show or you had no Star Trek. I grew up out in the country with just four TV stations. There were whole years when I had to go without Star Trek on the screen. I once went to a family reunion, which required an uncomfortable overnight Greyhound bus ride, largely for the off chance that I might get to see some Trek. Indeed, it was on in Colorado, and I got a fix. But now Ella can sit down in a coffee shop with her Wi-Fi iPad and stream any of the series from Netflix.

A side effect of this is that Ella accepts all these shows as Star Trek without pause. While I’ve embraced the new entries in the franchise as it grew, I can still understand why some people are devoted to just the original series or how people who started by watching The Next Generation in the 1980s can have a different view that doesn’t quite embrace the show from the 1960s. When you’re a more recent fan, however, it’s all there at once. You can watch an episode here and there from across the Trek timeline whenever you want, instant gratification instead of investing seven years in finding out if Voyager got home or not. I think this makes it easier for new fans to embrace everything, while old fans experience “you ruined my childhood” moments while watching a new incarnation.

Of course, there are even newer fans now, who started with the Abrams reboot and only know Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. (Cue sound of older fans gasping.) Recently, Ella was stunned that one of her eighth grade classmates didn’t know who William Shatner was. But there’s no way around this for a franchise that’s been chugging along for nearly fifty years. And without new fans, where would Trek be? Still rerunning those same original episodes? This old fan and his new fan offspring—as much as we love the Shat—are glad that Trek keeps growing. We can’t wait to see what new versions await us in the future, and we hope that those new versions introduce even more new fans to this universe that we love.

Okay, it wasn’t a bar, it was just me at the computer with a glass of wine. But anyhoo . . .

So I’ve got this short story I’m fond of, “The Sad Rains of Mars,” an homage to the late, great Ray Bradbury. It had a couple beta readers during the first few drafts, and I was happy with it. Over the last year I’ve been sending it to various markets. I started out big, sending it to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, then to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. After a form rejection from both of them, I had another friend read it, and she had some nice comments that led to a few minor tweaks.

Next it went over to Tor.com. Then Clarkesworld after that. Two more strikes. Yeah, that’s up to four strikes now, pardon the sloppy baseball metaphor. I took another look at it and restructured the first page or two a bit. It struck me that those opening paragraphs were a bit back-story heavy, and I think I achieved a better balance between the dialogue and the exposition necessary to set up the world for the reader.

At this point I should mention that I don’t advocate rewriting after every rejection. That way madness lies. On the other hand, if a story isn’t getting placed you should be open to the idea that there might be good reasons for that. You have to find the right time to double down for your art and when to admit that your manuscript isn’t the shiny stack of awesome and rainbows you first thought it was.

With the repolished opening, I once again felt pretty good about the story. But I needed to pick a new market. I started going through some old bookmarks I had in my browser. Wow, that was depressing. Several cool markets, both print and online, had gone out of business over the last couple years. The URL for Lissette’s Tales of the Imagination now takes you to a Japanese porn site. Either that or Lissette’s has substantially changed its format and target audience.

The other thing I noticed was how many of the remaining markets I had bookmarked paid quite low rates or minimal flat fees. Like, say, $50 for a short story. That’s the business model that keeps these periodicals going, and I recognize that’s the cold reality of a lot of small markets. I am not dismissing them as a group; there are a lot of fine publications and publishers that work on that level, and they’re publishing great stories. (Of course, there are also others who take advantage of eager beginners desperate for publishing credits, young writers willing to essentially give away their work to see it in print.)

As I clicked through more markets, I realized that simply getting another publishing credit isn’t important enough to me to justify handing over a story for a few bucks. At this point, I’d rather sit on a story or self-publish than get underpaid. I eventually found a market that pays a reputable six cents a word, which is the rate that the Science Fiction Writers of America uses in its definition of a professional sale.

So off the manuscript went. We shall see what happens.

So. Last blog post dated July 29, 2014. Today’s date January 25, 2015. What the heck? Well, things just got away from me. I got busy. Last fall my freelance work started picking up after several months of silence. After a mountain of metaphorical tumbleweeds rolling past though empty streets, with only Vincent Price, Charlton Heston, and Will Smith wandering about during daylight hours (Boom! Geek reference!), I started getting work.

Simon & Schuster called (well, emailed). Would I like to copyedit Ken Lui’s epic first fantasy novel Grace of Kings? Uh, yes, please. Then would I like to copyedit his collection of short stories, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories? Yes, I’ll have some more. Those two are forthcoming this year from the Saga Press imprint. Meanwhile, their Pocket Books imprint also dropped a dime on me (well, emailed). Would I like to copyedit Star Trek novels? Uh, would I?! Just last week I sent in the fifth novel I’ve copyedited in the Trek line. The first one I worked on, John Jackson Miller’s Next Generation novel Takedown, hits the stands any day now.

Then came work-for-hire writing. My former boss at my former day job at Zenith Press, gave me a jingle (well, emailed). Would I be interested in working with Piers Bizony on the 2015 brochure for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex? Uh, get paid to visit KSC and write about it? Mmm, yeah! Then a former coworker from my former day job—yeah, okay, he emailed, let’s just go with that. Would I be interested in writing some science-themed books for kids? Sure, why not? I’m a jack-of-all-trades, bring it.

And my friend Tony Dierckins called (no, really, on the actual phone). Would I like to cowrite his new history book on the Glensheen mansion in Duluth, Minnesota? Sure, buddy, sign me up!

IMG_2489Then things started getting a little wobbly. Some projects came in later than expected. Some projects came in sooner than expected. Deadlines started crashing together. Holiday scheduling at my part-time day job edged closer to full time. In October a couple weeks after getting back from my trip to Florida, I fell asleep at the wheel in broad daylight after the best night of sleep I’d had in weeks. My daughter, my only passenger, yelled at me, but as I woke up I still lost control of the car. We fishtailed wildly across the freeway before sliding off the pavement and rolling over once. That was the end of the car, but we walked away unscathed.

And now it’s 2015. After downgrading from coauthor to copyeditor on the history book and getting some deadline extensions during a scourge of a cold in early January, I was able to make it through the whole tangle of jobs. The schedule at my day job is getting lighter. I’m no longer saying yes to every freelance offer I get. I’m still behind on the podcast I do with my daughter, Generations Geek, but should get that back on track soon enough. I’m finally getting some of my own writing done, which had gotten backburnered to the point of falling off the stovetop during all this other stuff.

So . . . time to just dig back into my own projects. Irons in the fire. Stuff happening. Networking. Hope for some interesting things to happen this year. Be back soon. Yadda yadda yadda.

ImageWhen I decided I wanted to be a writer, back in the miasmal swamps of prehistory, I was writing on an electric typewriter and using a lot of correction tape, Wite-Out, and erasers. Inevitably I did a lot of retyping when a page became too messy for submission. I also borrowed an idea from Ray Bradbury, who used 3×5 index cards to jot down story and title ideas. When he wanted to start something new, he could simply pull a card out of his little file box and let inspiration strike. I’ll pause a moment to let the kids Google “electric typewriter” and “Wite-Out” and “index cards.” There. Yes, we used to use those things. 

It was all very simple. Write story. Look up markets in the Writer’s Market. Affix appropriate postage to envelopes. Mail story. Get rejection slip. Rinse. Repeat. That’s what you did. Writers who paid a fortune to get a box of hardcovers printed by a vanity press were generally suckers who wound up with a lot of extra insulation in their attic. But now we’re in the twenty-first century, and it’s a whole new ballgame. 

Back in the day you really didn’t have to wonder how to be a writer. You just wrote and submitted. Boom. Now you can spend days surfing the net just researching self-publishing, traditional, hybrid, and what to do or not to do to best pursue each of those labels. Plus, buzzwords: platform, online presence, social media. 

A few months ago, as I pursued freelance editorial work, I contacted an online business that’s a perfect example of the new publishing. A collective of freelancers that helps authors get published in both eBook and print formats, providing editorial and design services. I was hoping I might get some editorial work with them. But their response was “Hey, great resumé for both editing and writing . . . but can you produce eBook files?” 

Ouch. Reality punch in the face. These days, you can’t simply be an editor, you also have to do eBook design. You can’t just be a writer, you also have to be a publisher. Agents are also trying to find their way in this new world, and they find themselves working with writers who aren’t interested in traditional publishers, which used to be the whole purpose for an agent. 

Everyone’s trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. It reminds me of Jack Lemmon’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross, the old-school salesman, Shelley “The Machine” Levine, desperate for some good leads to reenergize his sales and keep his job. Writers, editors, agents . . . we’re all looking for some good leads so we can just get back to what we love doing. 

As for me . . . I’m teaching myself a lot more about eBooks. I’ve got software for creating eBook files. I’m looking at my backlist of stories from two angles: what will I self-pub, and what will I continue to pursue traditionally. Long ago I came up with a name for my own imprint and got a simple logo designed (that’s it, there at the top of this post). We’ll see what happens. I’m working on a short collection of humorous vignettes and other silliness that I’ll self-pub when it’s ready. Stay tuned.

ImageTwenty-eight years ago when I graduated college with the highly employable degree of Bachelor of Arts, English and Philosophy (the previous statement has been validated by the Sarcasmatron 9000), I just wanted to get some job I liked to pay the bills while I put most of my energy into my writing. That led to four years of working at a video rental store (there used to be these things called video rental stores) followed by four years of working at Barnes & Noble (there used to be these things called bookstores). I had a couple years at home unsuccessfully pursuing freelance work, and then became  employed as a stay-at-home dad for five years.

Shortly after I become a stay-at-home dad, we moved into a new house. About the same time we moved into the neighborhood, a tea shop, called TeaSource, opened up six blocks or so from our house, and I became a regular there, known to the people in the surrounding shops as “the guy with the baby in the stroller.” A couple times I proofed the TeaSource catalog and was paid in bulk tea. I did a lot of the editing of the true crime book Will to Murder there. The owner sometimes joked that I kept the shop open for the first year until business started picking up.

All during that time, from college through stay-at-home dad years, I was realizing a couple things. For one thing, as I did more freelance editing, I found that it didn’t wear me out on writing. I’d never considered a job in publishing because I thought working all day on editing would burn me out for my own writing. But that wasn’t the case. Another thing was that my writing wasn’t selling anyway. So when the kid started kindergarten, I took the plunge and got a day job as an editor. The following year I had a Star Trek story published by Simon & Schuster. Over the next several years I had two more stories and a novella published by S&S, and also had some small press success with short stories in a number of genres. Clearly, editing as a day job wasn’t hurting my writing.

When I was laid off last spring, I plunged into my freelance editing career. Or, rather, I plunged into trying to jumpstart my freelance editing career. It rapidly became clear I was not going to bring in the kind of paychecks I needed anytime soon. And although I had some good stuff going on with my writing, like my upcoming Trek eBook, I really needed to get a job.

There were two ways to go: get back into a full-time editorial position or reinvent my post-college strategy of getting some job I liked while, this time around, growing my freelance editing business and keeping the momentum going on my writing. I gave a shot at the full-time day job, but such positions are few and far between, and I didn’t get either of the positions I applied for.

So this brings us to my new job . . . I’m working part time at TeaSource! That’s just weird. For sixteen years I’ve been a customer, but now I’m brewing tea for people. I can walk to work, and, since I’m only working twenty-five to thirty hours a week, I’ve got good writing and editing time left over. I’m drinking lots of tea, I’m working on my steampunkish novel, and there are other various irons in the fire. It seems 2014 is going to be interesting . . . who knows which way I’ll stagger next.

ImageLooking back on 2013 is a mixed bag for me. In April I was laid off, and I have been without a day job ever since. A few new day-job opportunities didn’t come through, unfortunately, but my dream would be to go completely freelance anyway, working on my own writing while also doing freelance editing. So far, however, those pay checks have been few and far between. 

Looking on the bright side, though, my lay off was a good thing in many ways. The burdens placed on small publishers by upheavals within the book industry made my job increasingly stressful over the last few years, and after moving on my stress level went way down. Plus, around the same time I got a big freelance job and a contract with Simon & Schuster for a new Star Trek eBook, The More Things Change, due out this July. The extra “free” time also allowed me to pursue a pitch for a middle-grade tie-in book series for a TV show I’m not at liberty to mention. I wrote five sample chapters, an outline, and additional materials which are now being shown to publishers. It may well go nowhere, but this, along with other irons in the fire, has helped make the last several months the most active I’ve been in writing for years. That makes me happy. 

I also continue to develop my freelance editing business. I’ve had a few jobs over the last couple months, and in addition to maintaining a Yeahsure Editorial Services website and some related social media, I’m pursuing other internet opportunities. One interesting thing I’ve stumbled across is the website Thumbtack. Thumbtack facilitates connections between people who need some work done and people who can do that work. Basically, people post the available job and then receive quotes for the job from interested freelancers. The client can then pick the best freelancer for the work. I’ve now set up a page for Yeahsure Editorial Services on Thumbtack. This is a great way for people to find freelancers instead of just Googling “freelance editor.” There are small fees involved for the freelancers, which I consider a reasonable cost of doing business, like buying an ad. I look forward to the chance to bid on editing jobs.

On the writing side, I just plan on doing more this year. I’ve already started digging back into my long-suffering steampunkish novel, and I will maintain that momentum moving forward. Alongside that, I hope to write the occasional short story, both in various worlds I’ve already created as well as some new standalones. Overall I’m hopeful that 2014 will shape up to be a good year for my writing and editing!

ImageMany writers admit that it’s a constant struggle to get at the page. There are always things to distract you from the keyboard: family, friends, day jobs, chores around the house, freelance gigs with actual pay checks involved, various neuroses, and blogging about all of the above. As I’m doing right now. See what I did there? Got all meta on you.

One recurring victim of all of the above is my sort-of-a-steampunk novel. I’ve been kicking it around for a couple of years now, and all I have are three chapters, a complete outline, a bunch of notes and research, and some great feedback from friends. When I was laid off earlier this year, one of my first thoughts—after the immediate “holy shite” reaction and the disappointment following the realization that the bar next to my now former job wasn’t open yet as I walked down the sidewalk in the rain with my box of personal effects—was that I could get back to my novel. Here it is eight months later, and I’ve barely touched the thing.

Of course, I have also had a half-dozen freelance projects, worked on a couple of short stories (including “The Squid That Came to Phil’s Basement,” due out in January 2014 in Space and Time Magazine), written The More Things Change (Star Trek: The Original Series eBook due out July 2014), and written five chapters, an outline, and a series concept for a middle-grade media tie-in project that’s being shopped to publishers by an agent . . . but that is kind of the point. There are always reasons, often very good reasons, why something has been left on the stoop quietly waiting for you to swing by and pick it up. In the rain. Before bars open.

But I have finally gotten back at the thing. My first goal is to rewrite the three existing chapters while incorporating the changes suggested by beta readers. Let’s call the word-count goal 15,000. Having just started, I’ve only rewritten the first 637 words, as represented in the graphic below. I’ve already let putting lights on the solstice tree and writing this blog delay my work today, so I’m going to make shoveling the sidewalk wait for a while and get back into my alternate nineteenth century and have some fun.

 

637 / 15000
(4.25%)