Accountability post

Yesterday our critique group met and, as is usual, I asked everyone what they happened to be working on. Part of the reason I do that is so I know what might be coming in for critique for our next meeting. Another reason, the most important reason, is to hold each of us accountable for what we are doing — or not. It is very easy to say “I don’t have time to write.” And, yes, there are times when that really is true. There are times when real life becomes so busy or overwhelming there just isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything that has to be done.

However, more often than not, we use the not enough time excuse as just that — an excuse. We still find time to watch TV, to play video games, to stare off into space. We hit the snooze button two or three times instead of getting up a few minutes early. You get my drift.

It isn’t that we don’t want to write. Often, when I find myself making excuses for why I don’t have time to write, it is because there is something about my current work in progress that is bothering me. It could be my subconscious telling me there is something about the plot or characters that isn’t working. It could be that I’m at that point in the story where I’m uncomfortable because it hits too close to home. It could even be that my craft has taken a step forward and things don’t quite feel like they did before. It happens to all of us. The key is finding out why.

That is sort of where I am right now. I have finished the rough drafts for two novels — one is a very big departure from what I normally do and, as a result, I’ve fought it for several years. Skeletons in the Closet is part romance, part supernatural I’m not quite sure what and part humor. I could handle the romance and supernatural part. But the humor — where it came from, I don’t know and I found myself fighting it all the way. Because it is so different from what I’ve done before, I am going to let it sit for a couple of months before going back to do my edits before sending it off to the betas. I know I need to look at it with fresh eyes and without the “WTF was I thinking?” that I still feel when looking at it right now.

The second draft that is finished — and it is in very, very rough form — is Nocturnal Serenade. I know it needs a lot of work, as in filling in descriptions, expanding some scenes, etc. By the time I finish, another 30k words or so will probably be added. If anything, this reads right now like a very detailed outline. But it is the way the book came out. I think I know why. I have been pushing to finish drafts before LibertyCon. That way they aren’t pushing on me for a few days when I know writing isn’t going to happen.

The next book I need to write is Honor from Ashes. I have the basic plot in mind but it isn’t quite there yet. Part of the problem is Dagger of Elanna, the follow-up to Sword of Arelion, is pushing to be written. Then there is the military fantasy that has been playing at the edges of my imagination for a couple of months that is finally starting to take hold.

I have a feeling, I’m going to be writing several projects at once — if I can find the time.  😉

coverSword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1)






Nocturnal lives boxedNocturnal Lives (Boxed Set)





VfAVengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)


  1. Humor is hard. If I’ve learned nothing else as a writer I’ve learned that. Don’t fight it. Instead, explore it, experiment with it, see if you can develop the skill, which is neither common nor easy. It’s a market that is so badly served that publishers I’ve spoken to tell me that humor doesn’t sell. Which is nonsense; see Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and (back when I was learning how to write 40-odd years ago) Keith Laumer. The market is badly served because nobody writes for it.

    I may be wrong; I’ll know once I publish my all-humor novel in January. I just don’t want you to write off that element of writing before you understand how much of the gift that you have and how well you can learn to control it.

  2. Thanks again for a timely post. Four the last four evenings I’ve intended to kick my writing into a bit higher gear, and got sidetracked each night. Tonight, so far, I’ve written six hundred words {about a good start}. I still have at least two hours.

    Your post helped me stick with it.


  3. I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but Amazon just upgraded the way their review system worked.

    Since tomorrow is the day that “Ranger Ask Not” gets published on Amazon {ebook}, I took a gander at my Author Page and a few other things. While reading “Author Central”, a place I haven’t read in over a year, I noticed that the review system has been upgraded within the last week to more of a machine system.

    It looks like it might help the authors occasionally. “Lion in Chains”, a novella I coauthored with Mark Teppo back in ’12, used to run a 3.6 review average. Now it’s 3.9. I don’t see a whole bunch of new reviews that would bring it up.

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