Jungle’s First Draft … is Done!!!

Yes, I used three exclamation marks there! I earned those!

Because the first draft of Jungle is DONE! After a writing day of 5,236 words. Bringing the final wordcount for the first draft too …

457,931 words.

Yes, you’re reading that number correctly. 458k. 2.1 MILLION characters.

That’s insane. Colony was only 334k. Which makes Jungle a third-again as long as Colony. So we’re looking at 2400+ pages, easy.

Editing should trim that down a bit, but still. What a beast.

And now, now, editing can begin on Shadow of an Empire. The work never ends, folks.

But I think I’ve earned a small celebration.

And by the way. This book? Prepare for ride.

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2017 in Review—The State of Unusual Things

Before you start, there’s a Christmas Sale on! Colony and Dead Silver both are reduced prices through Christmas! Perfect for last minute gifts!

This year … was rough. I’m not going to lie.

To be fair, that wasn’t the writing’s fault. More it was other circumstances. Like the knee injury I acquired in June (which is still healing) and every thing that it brought with it. Okay, mostly it was the knee injury. Pretty much just that. With the knee injury came medical debts, which brought extra work shifts, and that then led to less writing time, and …

Well, let’s just say it’s not been the best year. Which is kind of a lousy lead-in to a year in review article, but it was bound to happen sometime, right? I mean, no matter what, one of the years writing had to be a rough one.

Anyway, 2017 marks the third year of Unusual Things being up and open. Which means that despite how rough this year was, it’s time for another look back at the year in review to see how I did compared to years prior, and make plans for what’s coming.

You ready? Let’s take a look.

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The November Patreon Supporter Reward is Here …

… and it is a big one!

How big? Well, let’s just say that as thanks for their support this month, Patreon-goers are getting an early look at … drumroll please … The first chapter of Jungle.

Yup. Which, by the way, I’m in the last few chapters of. At last. This book has swollen far past what I expected. Editing it will be a nightmare. But at the same time … Well, I’m not going to say anymore.

Anyway, if you’re a Patreon supporter and read Colony, what are you hanging around here for? Don’t you want to know what happens next to Jake, Anna, and Sweets? Sure you do. And given what happens in this opening chapter, I— Well, I’m not going to get ahead of myself. But I expect you’ll have questions for me.

So quit hanging around here and hop on over to November’s Patreon Reward on Patreon! And if you’re not a Patreon Supporter yet, it’s pretty easy to do. In return for helping support Being a Better Writer, you’ll get access to monthly supporter rewards, which range from early looks at chapters and stories, to behind the scenes stuff … to even some exclusive stuff long before anyone else, such as a look at a short story for More Unusual Events!

Cool, right? All that’s yours to look at for supporting! So get on over there!

Hardware, Halloween, and Other Updates

You know the deal, guys! It’s a news post. And there’s a lot of it this week, but I have categorized it, so skim through and see what the updates are!

Hardware Horrors

You might have noticed I’ve been quiet this week.

Like, quieter than normal. And it’s not just here. I’ve been almost 100% silent across all my usual online hangouts. And the reason for that is actually pretty simple. Right now, I’m writing this post through a tethered connection with my cell phone.

No, Google Fiber didn’t go down. My phone’s buzzing through them. The ethernet port on my desktop shorted out. Thankfully, without taking the rest of my motherboard with it.

Yeah, I’m still nervous about that one.

For those who aren’t computer literate, however, the ethernet port is what you plug the internet into if you’re not using wi-fi. Desktops don’t usually come with wi-fi, and I prefer the speeds and latency that a cable offers over a wireless connection (it’s a bit more reliable).

In any case, I’ve ordered an ethernet card for my desktop, but it won’t even ship until the 30th. So … I’m a little disconnected at the moment. Which leads me into my next point here—

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The News

Last night, I reached the … Hang on, would this be a spoiler? Thinking about it … no. Because if you’re reading my stuff and don’t expect this, it must be the first thing you’re reading.

So, last night, I hit the last twist of Jungle.  Everything in the story is in the endgame now.

Which is good, because I’m behind schedule by about two months, between the knee and getting sick. So I need to catch up and get this draft finished so that I can pour through and get the next draft of Shadow of an Empire ready for the next phase, so I can stay on track getting that out by the end of this year.

Granted, this means I’ll be pushing hard over the next few weeks. I need to pull my bank account out of the red, which means additional shifts at work, but I also need to knuckle down and get Jungle done. It’s going to be busy.

I am confident enough, however, that I can do this that I’m going to start putting some ticking clocks on things. I expect in another two weeks, three at the most, Jungle‘s first draft will be complete.

So, hopefully first week of October. From there, I dive into getting Shadow of an Empire into Alpha 2 (3 if needed), Beta 1, Beta 2 … you get the picture. October, November … I may be able to make a December release.

At the same time, I’ll be readying myself for Hunter/Hunted, which will be the next big writing project. And … that’s as far as I want to confirm for the moment.

Wish me luck, guys. It’s going to be a busy few months.

Knee’d-ful Things (A News Post)

Yes, that title is pungent. As was that. Gotcha looking though, I hope. Because it’s time for the news update! There are a couple of things to bring up, from an injury, to new fiction, to progress on Jungle, Patreon, and info on a Rolling Sale! So keep reading!

So first, why the pun in the title? Well … because one of the things that’s been controlling my life lately has been a knee injury I acquired last month at my part-time job. And on Wednesday, at long last, I got to go see a doctor!

So, turns out I tore my meniscus, which is why I was limping everywhere and pretty much couldn’t walk for a short time (a few weeks, really). It still hurts and swells up a little if I walk very far at all. But the good news? It’s not a permanent injury. Or at least, it doesn’t look like it. If it’s not healed in a few weeks I need to go back and get it looked at again, this time with an MRI, but at the moment the doctor’s pretty sure that it’ll make a full recovery. Now I just need to worry about collecting my workman’s comp (this was a work-related injury) and hope it’s enough to keep me financially solvent. In the meantime, I’m wearing a brace or a wrap everywhere (up from just the brace) and taking anti-inflammatory meds to help with the swelling.

I’ve never wanted to be able to go on a walk so much in my life. I can’t wait to be able to get exercise again.

Anyway, that’s the news on the injury. May I be walking fully again soon! So, onto the next bit of info!

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Being a Better Writer: Getting in the Zone

Welcome back, all, to another Monday! I’ve got to type fast with this post, as I’ve got another shift at my part-time today. This time, it’s in the afternoon rather than the morning, however, so as long as I keep my fingers moving, you’re getting a Monday post! Really quick, however, before I get started: some quick news updates!

Jungle is currently sitting at about 190,000 words (check the “Current Projects” page) and is over 50% done! The only part that saddens me about this is how long it has taken me—now I fully see the effect of working part time and trying to write a book: I just don’t have the same amount of time. I’ve been cutting back personal time, however, and gotten my monthly goals back on a somewhat reduced track … but it still sucks, because I’d really like to finish up Jungle and get started on the editing for Shadow of an Empire so that I can get that out by the end of the year. Granted, I could just stop writing massive epics … but what’s the fun in that?

Discord Day Care, meanwhile, is almost ready to go up. I’m going through the last stages of Beta right now, giving it the final polishing touches. That just leaves me with a cover to find, and to get it all uploaded and ready to post. The publishing schedule for the story, I have decided, will follow the timeline of the story itself. Each chapter will be published as it occurs in the story, in real-time. The only thing that won’t match up will be the dates. I debated back and forth about the best way to do this, but concluded that for Day Care, a publishing schedule like this one should work best. So be excited, it’s almost here at last!

Just a bit more, I promise, then we’ll dive into this week’s topic. First, last month’s Patreon supporter post was a pretty in-depth look back on the origins of my first book, One Drink. It’s something I’ve meant to do for a while now, and yes, for those of you supporting me on Patreon, you can expect in-depth retrospectives on each of my other works to make their way to you as time moves on. Those of you who are not Patreon supporters, it’s only a $1-pledge to become one, and you’ll get access to some behind-the-scenes stuff and previews. Plus, you get the satisfaction that your dollar helps support content like Being a Better Writer!

Now, last, I swear, and then we’ll be on topic: The Rolling Sale. No defined date on this one yet. I’m still working out some details. But the general idea is that it will be a month-long or so event, starting with One Drink and stretching up to Colony. The general idea will be that the first title in the chain will go on sale, alongside an announcement of tiers for the next sale. The more copies go out, the deeper the discount on the next book in the chain. Ditto for when the sale shifts to that title. Kind of a “the more people take advantage of this, the better it gets for everyone” angle.

Right, that’s all the news. Now on to today’s topic: getting in the zone.

So I’m fairly certain that some of you may be scratching your head over this title … and that’s partially my fault. After all, there are a lot of “zones” authors tend to get into when writing. There’s getting in the character’s heads. There’s getting into the world so it feels like we’re living and breathing it. And there’s even just hitting our stride and typing out endless chains of smooth sentences that come together to build the perfect paragraph. Technically, there are a lot of zones in writing.

But today, I’ve going to talk about the most general ones. This is, actually, a requested topic from a reader who wanted a bit of advice on this matter. I don’t recall their exact, word-for-word question, but it went a little something like this: When you sit down in the morning and get ready to write, how do you get yourself into the mindset to write? How do you clear your head? How do you pull yourself away from the rest of the world and immerse yourself in whatever fantastical world you’re putting together?

And … the truth is, this time, that there’s actually a magic bullet.

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