Still at it…

September 26, 2018

Editing is not easy. I’ve never really looked forward to the task, no matter how large or small, but it’s something I do. Necessity is one of those annoying things in life, after all. But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to cruise through it.

So I’ve been trudging my way through The Third Tower, editing like a madman. Most chapters are no longer than five pages (double-spaced, natch), and you’d think I would get through one in no time at all.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongity-wrong!

My first draft was sloppy, to say the least. While I’m happy and occasionally impressed with my writing abilities as I read through it, there are a lot of things that need tweaking. Excess words, oddly phrased sentences, and just plain grammatically incorrect bits and pieces.

But then there’s the rewriting. Cutting words like crazy (hey, I’ve killed many darlings in this, and haven’t batted an eyelash at it!), adding new sentences, extra description and stage directions, the like. But man oh man, is it frustrating when I spend more time re-reading the same paragraph that is clearly a little off, but I can’t quite figure out what the specific issue is.

I guess patience is a virtue? I can take a little bit longer to have a better written piece in the end, with less work and time spent from an outside editor. Of course, I’ll need to be able to pay for one…

Stories are still getting sent out. I’m not neglecting everything, but naturally not writing anything new. For once, I don’t feel an urge to stop editing so I can work on a new story, but it also worries me. Am I out of ideas? Or is my brain finally allowing myself to focus…

Whatever the case, I hope to be done soon. Here it is, September 26, so I’ll say it now: The Third Tower will be fully drafted a second time by October 1.

If not, well, just wait longer, I guess…

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Weekend Musings

August 11, 2018

Well, it’s Saturday. The weekend. Whoo hoo, and shit, right? Time for some margaritas and sleeping in. Or, in the case of an author, time to really put the nose to the grindstone and write, write, write!!!

Yeah, sure.

So here I am, stuck at work, because my job sucks. I work in an office, Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 4:00. I have to work every other Saturday, 8:00 to Noon. Since I do about four hours of actual work throughout the week, it leaves me plenty of time to “work on writing” and other activities. Mostly checking Facebook, sifting through ebay, and staring at the wall.

See, I’ve hit a slump lately. Aside from spending the last two weeks sick as hell and feeling beyond miserable—seriously, I haven’t wanted to do anything but curl up under a blanket and stare out the window—I’ve just felt…despair. Not at life in general (I always do that no matter what), but at my writing.

As I’ve said, on July 1st I started my big edit of The Third Tower. I did, too! I trudged through the first twenty chapters of the book, and felt very satisfied when I finished them. But I didn’t want to go any further, and haven’t wanted to, either. I keep wanting to write or edit other stories, but if I have an idea, I don’t want to start it, and I don’t want to clear the time to edit.

The problem? I often give my wife stories and chapters to have her check them out. She’s a voracious reader—seriously, she logs about 100 books a year, if not more. She knows the written word. She doesn’t read like an editor or another writer, but someone who loves stories. So I gave her the first two chapters to read, and see if she had any thoughts on them.

I got a shrug.

I haven’t tried to get her to elaborate, but I feel like that shrug told me it was just…meh. Not bad, but not great. Not the type of opening chapters that will make her want to come back for more, to keep reading until 3 am, and to eagerly await the next book in the inevitable trilogy.

So why should I continue? Why bother? Will someone else like the book, or will everyone give me the shrug? Is this yet another work of mine that I spent more than enough blood, sweat and (yes) tears on, that will ultimately end up in the “who gives a shit” bin?

Are my ideas really that bad?

So I’m in a bit of a slump. I want to finish it, but I don’t want to waste the time. I want to write other stories, but if no one’s going to read them, why bother? I have lots more to edit, but if no editors want them, why not do something else?

I’ll be over this soon. Probably once I sit down and start working on something. But that niggling little voice in the back of my mind keeps asking me the same thing, over and over: Is it really worth it?

I have been giving serious consideration to publishing something, and not just my own stuff. I really want to do a sword and sorcery anthology, and a science fiction antho as well. First, I need someone to fund the whole thing. Anyone got $5000 laying around with nothing to spend it on? Thanks, I’ll take it!

More positively, I’m eagerly anticipating my story “Sunday Evening” for publication in Broadswords and Blasters. It won’t be out for a few more months, but seriously, check that publication out! They are awesome, and have some great stories. No joke, I’ve been a longtime reader and fan before they even accepted my story. Please, support the arts!

I’m Still Here

August 1, 2018

I’ve been conspicuously absent for some time. Or haven’t you noticed?

I assure you, I’m okay. Fighting illness (just a cold, albeit one lasting several days longer than I’m used to…), but okay. I’ve been meaning to stop in and say hi, catch you all up, and do the usual, but just…haven’t.

So here it is, August 1st, and I’ve gone more than two whole months without blogging! Lazy! Apathetic! Callous! Shallow! Well, maybe not ALL that, but yeah, lazy at least.

I vowed back in June that no matter what I was working on, no matter what I had to do, I would begin editing The Third Tower as of July 1st. I held true to my promise! I started right away, and got into it when I had the chance.

And boy, has it been a go.

I’m literally one-third of the way through it, and it’s been a month! How?! It’s just so…tiring. I don’t know, I’m bumping into several issues, but I’m still working on it. I guess I just have to power through it. And I will, of course, but sometimes it’s hard to force yourself to do it, no matter how much you want to.

I have story ideas, and I’m eager to get working on two different novels. I’m looking into several different contests, and of course Star Wars Destiny has a new set and lots of tournaments right now. Oh, and I’ve been sick as hell (that really feels like it’s been going on for way too long).

I think I’ll go get a flat white tonight. Maybe I’ll vacuum my car. Maybe I’ll take a walk, go pet some dogs in the neighborhood.

Case in point: I’m alive. I’m here. And I’m working on it.

All of it.

Spring Into SciFi is out now! Go here to get your copy if you haven’t…but you DO have one, right?

Pretty much anyone reading this doesn’t need to hear what I’m about to say, but I’ll reiterate: supporting small-press publications and authors like this is GOOD. Not only does it bring in revenue and allow the publishers to continue putting cool things out like this, it also shows the authors that people are interested, which in turn allows them to keep doing what they love.

Over the past few years, as you know, I’ve self-published several short stories and given them away completely free, mostly on Smashwords. There are so few downloads it makes me sick. Not because it’s my writing and people need to bow down to me, but because I’m always hearing about how people love to read. I hear about how self-publishing is THE way to go.

So why isn’t it working? Why doesn’t anyone care? Surely I can’t suck—no one is reading it to know if it does or doesn’t!

Look, I’m guilty of it too. There are times I need to get the free downloads, even the cheap ones. I can afford it, and so can you. And how many times do I find myself sitting around the house, done with my writing and bored as hell? (Not that I have any reason to be, given all my myriad hobbies, but I digress…) Or when I’m sitting on an exercise bike, staring at yet another rerun of This Old House or whatever the hell it is the TV’s at the gym are playing.

It’s like donating to a charity. Sure, you only have $1 to give. But if one-million people donate $1, that’s $1,000,000. I’m not saying this as a way to help get other people rich, but just to show that donating and helping and supporting are—no duh—quite good. And who knows? Maybe it’ll come back and help you in the end.

In other news…

I’ve been editing a lot. Like, more than writing. But to be honest, I’m loving it. Sure, I’ve got a ton of old stories lying around that need to be cleaned up, and I’m finally making the time to do so. Maybe I can make the leap from writer to editor…or just continue to balance the two.

Viva life!

There’s something horrifying about not having anything to do.

After finishing The Third Tower, and any novel for that matter, I give myself two weeks. I can do whatever I want—write, don’t write, come up with ideas, edit, whatever. I don’t want to feel tons of pressure after finishing a huge undertaking, especially when it’s, as of now, a “hobby.”

(If you’re wondering, I have three other novels I’ve written. One I tried hopelessly in vain to have any kind of reaction towards, and two that didn’t quite cut the mustard.)

My day job is entering the slow time of the year, so I have a lot of 8 hours days where I sit around and do nothing. Perfect time for writing/editing/etc., right? Nope. It’s hard to stay motivated when you sit around and do nothing all day. I open an MS Word document, tap out a few sentences, and put it aside, promising myself to do more later that day, later that night, the next day, the weekend, or basically any other time than when I should be doing it.

So yesterday, I started a story. Something I’ve had an idea swimming around in my head for a few weeks. I got about three paragraphs into it and…got mad.

Not mad at the story, just mad. Thing around the house, things at work, things within my family, personal things that have nothing to do with writing this story. But somehow, those thoughts came to mind and I couldn’t continue writing, so I put it aside.

And here I am on Sunday, writing about how I can’t write.

Maybe I’m feeling that slump of no contact from editors. Not only did I send out 10 short story submissions (with no responses yet), I’ve had multiple queries, asking editors what’s the status on my story sent out half a year ago, with no response.

Is there some behind the scenes “let’s screw over this Myke Edwards guy, because fuck him” conspiracy going on? Are they just lazy? Did I do something wrong and they just tossed out my submission without bothering to let me know?

Why keep writing if no one cares? If people won’t even post my story on an unpaying blog that posts free stories for people to write, why bother? I mean, seriously, that means I literally can’t even give it away for free.

Maybe I’ll finish the story. Maybe today, even. Maybe I’ll edit The Third Tower and attempt to get it published. Maybe I’ll realize that someone, somewhere, gives a shit.

And that is what is horrifying to me. Not knowing whether or not I should keep going, keep working hard at punching a brick wall because maybe, just maybe, despite my broken and bleeding knuckles and overly-exhausted nature, it will fall down and I can get by.

Maybe.

Focus Like a Jedi

September 3, 2017

Having hobbies is a great thing. If not for hobbies, what would we do with our spare time? Clean the house?!

Way back when I was 13, my brother and I got a game called Hero Quest for Christmas. It wasn’t your average board game. It had a campaign feature, lots of interactivity, and an ever-changing game board. Neat!

That love of gaming carried over into my freshman year when not only did I get into this new thing called collectible card games, but a few friends introduced me to role-playing games. I mean, I knew what they were, but didn’t have anyone to enjoy them with.

I never looked back, despite a few years of not doing much.

So for the past few years, I’d been out of gaming pretty big time. I wanted something new that I could play, not waste a lot of money on, and actually enjoy with a community of others. Last October, I found my game.

Star Wars Destiny, a new collectible card game from Fantasy Flight Games. My relationship with FFG is long and varied, but I can always count on them to make quality games. This was no exception.

I’ve been into the game pretty hardcore since it came out. Due to a lack of funds and time, I haven’t been able to go to any of the big, major tournaments, but that should change next year. What’s cool is, there’s a new set coming out in two weeks!

It’s been killing me. Specifically, my writing.

Okay, not that much. But I recently made my master list, and I’ve been following it pretty good. Editing, mostly, but things are getting done. I’m happy! It’s a lot better than sitting around and not doing it.

The worst thing is, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the new cards from the upcoming Star Wars set. More than I should be.

It’s okay, though. This excitement lasts a few days, then dies down, and I’m back to the grind. In fact, as I write this, it’s a three-day weekend for me. What time I have to myself (which is most of it), I can do pretty much anything I want, which again is mostly editing.

However, I did come up with a new story idea the other day. Why?! I’m trying to finish a novel here!

I just need to promise myself to keep working on this. Star Wars is awesome, and I’m super excited about it! But it’s killing me to have to wait. That’s good, though—it isn’t going anywhere.

And neither am I. But the chance to get my writing back on track and have things where they need to be is. Time to keep it moving. Time to put the cards aside for the weekend, and focus. Like a Jedi.

Bowing to the Master

August 27, 2017

Earlier in the week, I created a “master list” for writing. It is my most important stories that need worked on, and specifically what needs done with them. I’m very happy I did this.

Mainly, it’s staring me in the face. I literally wrote with an ink pen on college-ruled paper what needs to happen. It is sitting on my desk in a place where it won’t get covered with junk. I need that.

See, I have this big problem with mentally telling myself to remember to work on something. As the days pass and I still haven’t touched it, it slowly slips away, and I move on to something else, usually not involving writing at all.

Sound familiar?

We all do it. I know not everyone does, but a vast majority of human beings don’t follow their own basic rules or agendas. It’s okay, but not for me. I was having one of my typical days of anguish last week while on vacation. Five days in a row without having to work, and did I work on writing at all? Not very much.

I know my wife and I did a lot of fun little things, so it wasn’t like five 24 hour writing sessions in a row. But I could have done more. I should have.

So I made the master list. Not only am I managing to get these things done, I’m also able to plot out timelines of when they’ll be out and into the wilds. I think that was the main reason, to be honest. In addition to not having The Third Tower finished and ready for editing (which, believe me, is at the top of the list like King Kong high atop the Empire State Building…), I realized that I have three short stories out in the wilds right now, and they’re not exactly having much luck.

More stories need to be out making the rounds. Things need to be edited (seriously, why would I do a second draft on something in 2012 and then never touch it again?), and things need to be ready.

Things need to be DONE.

And that’s what I’m doing with my master list. If you don’t have one, seriously consider it. It might just change the way you work on your writing.

Finishing Things

June 17, 2017

There is good news, because bad news isn’t the only thing that encompasses my life! I’m happy to report that a story I’d been working on for quite a while, “Bog’s Wrath” (working title, of course), is finished. Well, the first draft, at least. I need to sit on it for a while before I edit it and then start getting really serious about it.

It’s a Clay and Styg story. I’m glad to get back to them, but I’m even happier to be done with it. Why? Well, I’ve been trying this technique where I write whenever I have a chance. So, if I have ten minutes to do nothing, I’ll write. Less than that, it’s not really worth getting into, but sometimes I’ll put down a paragraph or two.

Usually, I’m frightened of doing this. I always feel like I need big spaces of time to sit and write so I can get it all out. What if I get really into the groove, but run out of time before I’ve finished my thoughts? How can I get back into it and remember everything I wanted to say?

The words are all there, man. I know what I want to write, so what if a few words are different? The story will still be the same story when all is said and done, right?

Unfortunately, using this technique, I found myself only able to write about a half to a full page within the course of a day. I still need to sit down and write, dammit! I can’t just tell myself, “Hey, Myke, you already wrote a few words. Why not watch an episode of Riverdale or whatever it is you like?” Then I respond, “First off, I finished season one of Riverdale a few weeks ago, so right now I’m trying to catch up with Luke Cage and Girlboss on Netflix. Second of all…great idea.” I need to be disciplined, and believe me, it’s happening.

Now that I’m done, I can get back to The Third Tower. Why did I ever abandon that book? Well, aside from having tons of little ideas and needing to catch up to what I wanted with it, but really, why? Sigh…I’m lazy. Yeah, you got me.

Anyway…

Crimson Streets has the first 26 stories published on their website available in a paperback book! Go get it! My story, “Tyree’s Diadem,” is in it. You’ll know this as the introductory tale of Clay and Styg, so it has majorly historical significance!

Pulp Modern is still available, with my story “Out of Sight.” I hope you seriously consider purchasing a copy of this, not only because it’s so cheap, but because it supports a great cause. Having independent publications such as this one are what allows authors like me to thrive, so please consider picking one up.

That’s all for now, my sexies. Time for a salad, a few chapters of “Blindsight” by Peter Watts (GREAT science fiction book!), and some air conditioning on this stuffy Saturday.

Mr. Proactive!

January 25, 2017

I’ve been busy busy busy!

A short story I’ve had an idea in my head for over three years finally got written. I’m happy with it, but it’s not perfect. I know that’s nothing to worry about, especially at the beginning of it, and also because it’s part of a triptych. Three related stories, all with the own characters and plots. Now I just need to write the last part!

I went through my writing folder and found several stories I had, erm, forgotten about. I hate it when I do that, but several works are finished, and have been for some time. I need to go through this more often!

This also means there is another flash piece I can give ya’ll! I have a whole bunch all ready to go, but this one especially fitting, given recent events. You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

Also, with all these ideas out of my head, I’m able to get back to the nitty gritty. In the Pale Moonlight is almost ready for release (next month!!!), and The Third Tower is able to get finished…finally!

Just wanted to keep ya updated. Hope you’re having good luck too!

PS – I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack for the past few days. I haven’t listened to it in some time, but man, it really gets my brain juices flowing!

This morning before leaving for work, I checked my email as I usually do. Surprisingly/not surprisingly, there was an email from a publication regarding a story I recently submitted. I was happy! Specifically because it only took them five days to respond—that’s impressive!

Well, it was a rejection. No biggie, I’m so used to it that I don’t even flinch when someone tells me no. I mean, it’s not me or my writing, right? It’s the fact that they just don’t need it right now. Right? Right?

Right.

Anyway, I’m not trying to have a pity party for my rejection. I’m more upset at whom the email was addressed to.

Michale.

Not Michael. Michale.

I know, I know, it’s an easy mistake, especially when you’re typing fast. The peon that had the luxury of reading my story (or in this case, the cover letter and tossing it into the reject pile based on the unfamiliarity of my name alone) probably had a virtual stack of fifty stories he couldn’t care less about and wanted to get these emails sent out asap, the quicker the better.

Juxtaposing two letters in a name is not difficult. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Everyone has. But for some reason, I can’t get it out of my mind that this guy simply did not care.

And that’s the problem. If these publications/editors/first readers would actually take the time to do their job and read these stories, all the while ignoring the cover letter and the name and everything else that is not specifically the story they are deciding whether or not to publish, maybe some yutz could remember to try, at least try, to spell my name correctly in the rush to get to a story written by someone they actually know.

Accidents happen. People make mistakes. Know what else they do? Pass over quality for a friend.

Food for thought, editors.

Addendum – I received another rejection this afternoon, long after writing this. They spelled my name correctly. Thank you!