Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Nanowrimo Summer Camps, etc.

I have a couple of times tried to write during National Novel Writing Month, but November is a busy time of year for me, so I've only managed to meet the 50,000 word quota once. Now, The Office of Letters and Light has introduced Summer Camps in April and July. By complete coincidence, my wife had organized a 21 day writing retreat for me in late April and early May, so I had already planned to devote much of April to my own writing. Synchronicity demands that I therefore sign up for the April Camp Nanowrimo.

I probably won't take advantage of many of the writing supports offered by Nanowrimo, as I suspect the various forums would serve more as distraction than stimulus, and also because I'll be away on retreat and therefore offline for most of April. But I really appreciate the daily deadline implied in the word counter and the calculation of how many words one has to do each day to make one's target. The summer camp has the advantage of allowing one to set one's own target. I think I need about 30,000 words to finish off the first draft of my first novel, so that's what I am aiming for. Once I finish the first draft, I can grind away at editing at my leisure.

So am really looking forward to April, though that puts a lot of pressure on rest of March to clear the decks by finishing everything else off.

Meanwhile, I currently have five short stories (around 23,000 words in total) in circulation; target is to get another seven out before New Year's for an average output of one a month. As usual I am behind, partly because of usual responsibilities of job and family, partly because I had taken on way more editing jobs than I had proper time for. But these great manuscripts keep dropping into my lap, and it is very hard to say 'no'. My publisher has insisted on taking some of these off my hands before my slowness ruins the press' reputation for promptness, but I have been equally insistent on keeping some of them to myself, being convinced that only I can see what needs to be done to have them realize their fullest potential. So at last count, I have six science fiction/fantasy novels on my desk that I have to get to before I start on my own work. In my view, it's not fair to hold up others' writing careers to attend to my own writing. Once I can send their work to press, or at least off my desk and back to the author for the next round of rewrites, then I can turn to my own work with a clear conscience.

I did get three nonfiction pieces out this year as well, but those count for the day job so fall in a different category in my mind. I gave a co-authored paper at a Miami conference and took "Best Presenter" award; I had an article published in Obsolete Magazine I was rather pleased with, and I have another one sitting with a new journal, so will see how that goes.

At some point, will have to manage to work in some leisure reading. Someone asked me about my favorite reads for the year, and the trouble was I really hadn't read anything other than the books I was editing. Some of those were very good indeed, and I wanted to recommend them, but couldn't really until they are published. (Indigo Time, The Runner and the Wizard and My Life as a Troll come immediately to mind, but there are a lot of great books that come across my desk. Candas Jane Dorsey's Black Wine was absolutely brilliant, for example, but I didn't get to edit that past the acquisition stage because it basically didn't need anything, either because it was already thoroughly edited when originally released by Tor, or just because she's just that good. (Why Tor never reprinted it is a complete mystery to me: the damn thing had sold out even before its official Canadian book launch, so that ought to have told them that there were more sales to be made....Not that we're complaining! More for us!) So I certainly get to read a lot of great books in my editor's hat, and increasingly they are by my favorite authors (Dorsey and Duncan, for example) as our press grows and attracts bigger names. But sometimes its nice just to read a book without going into editor mode. Though, if I'm honest, there is nothing better than being an editor, because whenever I hit something in a book I don't like, I get to change it....

1 comment:

Robert Runté said...

I should mention by way of update that I managed to write roughly 30,000 words on my novel, and a 2500 word short story at camp Nanowrimo this April (though to be precise, my writer's retreat started April 19 and ran into first 5 days of May) so exceeded my goal of 30,000 words for the camp. Am well pleased with the experience!