Gabby: Last Shot (End of Chapter One)

I finished the next installment of my novel, Gabby the Bug-Eyed Monster.  This finishes chapter one and I achieved two of my goals: finish the first chapter and also finish with that wretched cave.  My first chapter was a bit over 5300 words, which means word count-wise I’m about 5% done.

The title of this section is Last Shot.  I decided that each of the subsections is going to be no more than two words.  I’m really only doing these chapter subsections because I’m doing this in an online format and need to break it up more than I would for a physical book.

Gabby by Stefan Ljumov

Steady but slow progress.  I’m looking forward to my schedule changing in October.  One happy consequence of that is I’ll have more time for writing on a set schedule instead of carving out some time here and there when I can, which doesn’t work very well for me in terms of completing long-term projects.

I have a pretty good idea where I want to go for Chapter Two, which will get me through the next few weeks of writing and give me some time to think about structure and plot beyond what I already have.  I have an idea for a sub-plot that I introduced the fleeting germ of at the end of the first chapter, and think I know where I more or less want to go by the end of the book though at this point that could still change.

Of course I can go back and fix structural problems and the like in a second draft at some point, but I would like to get as much right as I can on the first go.

The next section will go live on September 15, 2019.

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Gabby: Picture of Main Character

I thought it would be fun to have some drawings made for my novel that I’m working on, Gabby the Bug-Eyed Monster.  The other day this depiction of my main character arrived in my inbox, complete with the eyes on the arms, just as I hoped!

Gabby the Bug Eyed Monster as drawn by the talented Stefan Ljumov

I have the rough draft of the next section already done and plan on tinkering with it a bit before going live on Wattpad this Sunday, September 8th.  That will wrap up the first chapter.  The working title for the section is (without apology to Henry James!) Turn of the Screw Last Shot.

I’ve also been thinking about where I want to go with the story through the first quarter of the book.  That will be about 20,000 words or so, and since I’m already up to 4,000 that will happen fairly soon, even though it still seems like a lot to me.  Especially if things work out with my schedule as I anticipate and I have more time for writing starting in October.

A friend suggested playing some sort of cooperative space platform defense board game.  Hope to attend that soon.  It’ll be nice seeing some friends, who I haven’t gotten together with for awhile now, and (of course) gaming.

 

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Gabby the Bug-Eyed Monster: Eternity

I’ve managed to keep my schedule of posting new material every Sunday for my novel-in-progress thus far.  The latest bit went live yesterday and is titled, Prologue: Eternity.

The novel so far is located here.

“‘The Stars, Like Dust!’  Wait, I think that one’s taken.”

As the title suggests, I went back and did a little preface.  I figure that since I’m sharing a story pretty much as I write it, then if I’m going to write such a thing in such a way I should get any introductory bits out of the way early in the game.

I’ve noticed that I’m developing a tendency to work backwards a bit, editing and correcting things as I go along.  While it has been working so far it is early days yet and I think this could be a dangerous thing, when the story is longer, and could stall my first draft progress.  So in the future I’m going to make notes somewhere about things I need to correct once I’m done. I’ve fallen into that trap before with other projects and avoiding said trap is one object of this pantsing experiment.

I plan on writing a final section to wrap up Chapter One for next time.  While I’m doing that I hope to finalize in my own mind where I want to go with this for the first quarter of the story.

Gabby cover 125 wide for WordPress

 

Gabby: Blind Ants of the Outer Darkness

I posted the next installment of my novel-in-progress, Gabby the Big-Eyed Monster, this past Sunday, August 25, 2019.  The title of the new section is Blind Ants of the Outer Darkness.

The novel so far is located here.

The new section is a bit over 2100 words, which is about double the length of the first one.  I don’t want the sections to be too long and 2000 words or so is about the longest I will go.  In general   For the chapters I’m organizing it like this for now:

Chapter One: The Forbidden Cave
Blind Ants of the Outer Darkness
Next Section

Chapter Two: Whatever I call it.
Next Section
Next Section: and so on….

I’m planning on getting the next section up on Sunday, September 1, 2019, which will end chapter one.  I certainly have a long way to go.  I’m aiming at making this an 80,000 word novel and I’m at about 3100 words now.  Fortunately in October my schedule will change and I’ll have more time for writing.

I also engaged someone on Fiverr to draw a black & white picture of Gabby, the main character.  If I like the picture and I’m happy with how the project is turning out then I’ll probably have him do more illustrations for the book.

Gabby cover 125 wide for WordPress

Novel-in-Progress: Gabby the Bug Eyed Monster

So my writing efforts continue unchecked at least for the moment.  I have some stuff making the rounds with various editors, and was trying to decide what to do next.  So I decided upon a little experiment.

I’ve written a few longer stories from outlines with lots and lots of plotting, but I’ve never attempted a short novel without having an outline or really much more than a couple of characters and some initial ideas.  So I thought I’d give it a try on Wattpad.  I’m going to publish one or two chapters a week (500 – 1000 words or so) until I write myself into a corner and blow up my creation or manage to write said short novel.

My working title is Gabby the Bug Eyed Monster.  I put up the first chapter up on Wattpad and plan on posting chapter two no later than August 25, 2019.  For anyone who might want to check this out, be warned this is not a complete story.  It is the first chapter of a work-in-progress.  I’m sure that the 40K-oriented readers on here will notice some passing similarities to a certain favored xenos race….

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Cover makes me want to re-read Dune.

I made a quick and easy cover for the story.  If I manage to make decent traction with writing the thing, and it gets a half-way decent reception from the reading-free-stuff-online crowd, I might commission a nicer cover for it down the road.

Otherwise, I joined the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge and pledged to read at least  50 books this year.  So far I’m up to 34, which the site tells me puts me three books ahead of schedule.  So that’s keen.

My reading for July 2019 was:

  • The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber
  • The Howling Asteroid by Murray Leinster
  • Forever Free by Joe Haldeman
  • Mulgara: The Necromancer’s Will by David Rose
  • Appreciate Your Life: The Essence of Zen Practice by Taizan Maezumi

I’ll be back again (hopefully) with Chapter Two of Gabby next Sunday, and if my sacrifices to the Elder Gods have been particularly propitious maybe I’ll even make some progress on another poxwalker as well!

 

Red Spiny Backed Poxwalker

Another poxwalker enters the painted ranks, this one being number sixteen of twenty.  A classic example of the Red or Eastern Spiny Backed Poxwalker as coined/pointed out by that Perspicacious Poxwalkerer and Taxonomist, Alexis West.  As she points out in the comments appearing with the post here, this worthy is the “rarer Eastern Spiny Poxwalker … [with its] reddish tones.”

The trend of yellow clothes/red skin continues.

I was originally going for something where the spines/horns/pointy bits were a bit more set off from the rest of the hide, color-wise, but decided that perhaps I was happy with how it turned out more or less.  I find that once they are done, poxwalkers sort of grow on me, and my energies turn toward the next experiment and it is best to close the book and let events take their unnatural course.  After all, what is another soulless minion in a horde of the damned, even if its horns are or aren’t heavily contrasted with the skin in a way satisfying to even the most discriminating warmaster with a eye for color?*

I might add some color to that tan on tan plant…

A funny thing about the yellow pants (and it somehow keeps happening with this mob) … I put quite a bit of effort into the pants and by the end I’m covering up all of my hard work with goop, gore and brown ink.  Then I resolve to not put so much work in to the next poxwalker’s yellow clothes and then I do!

… but probably not!

Another view of the formerly yellow pants.  I got particularly carried away here with the ink, blood, toner, sand, and who knows what else.  Oh well, it is all good though because the next time I paint one of the red/yellow poxwalkers I won’t put so much work into the clothes.  Did the weapon pretty much the same as before, though I went for a slightly darker effect with more black with a little brown ink as opposed to the converse, which is what I did on the other Spiny Back.  A pretty subtle difference, I think.

So I’m in the last month of my second MFA class.  I plan on getting another poxwalker done in the interregnum between the end of this class and the start of the next one.**  Also sent some stuff I recently wrote to a few magazines, as well as a poem I wrote over 20 years ago to the school magazine, which made the mistake of telling me that consider previously published work.


* One is of course aware that poxwalkers, strictly speaking are not ‘soulless.’  As stated in the heretical Lexicanum, “The jolly humour of Nurgle is such that they’ve remain cruelly conscious and aware of all that occurs with them, souls of victims trapped in their dead bodies and with a rictus grin they stagger out in search of living meat to feast on.”

Always good (for a Chaos God) to have a sense of humor, I guess, even (or perhaps especially?) at the expense of others.  Better than dour old Khorne, incomprehensible Tzeentch, and most especially the Dark Prince, who seems really great at first, sort of like getting to eat your favorite food and then you find out you are in hell and all you will be doing for eternity is eating your favorite food.  Makes Happy Grandfather seem pretty good by comparison.

** I was going to say “or maybe two!” but that would be sheer hubris.  Of course any good Chaos Lady would just go for it and say “It’s only hubris if you fail,” and upon failing execute any and all involved or who witnessed it, including any star systems where the populations may or may not have heard someone allude to it in a redacted transmission.  But who has time for that?  So I’ll just stick with the one.

Works Cited

Poxwalker.”  wh40k.lexicanum.com.  Lexicanum, 1 March 2018.  Web.  12 July 2019.

West, Alexis. A Taxonomic Discussion of Poxwalkers Common to the Fourteenth Legion After the Death of Pertinax up to the Ascension of Regalianus the Usurper: A Short Study. [REDACTED], 2018 CE

January Thaw: Short Story

School has been keeping me pretty busy, and one of the things we’re doing is mucking about with social media as writers, potential writers, people posing as writers, etc.  So I’ve been flogging around my short story, January Thaw, in various places and thought I’d make a link to it available on Ye Olde Blog for anyone who might be interested.

January Thaw posits a future where old age is a thing of the past and no one dies anymore. Carolyn Deschaines is a woman who has lived too long, and after 150 years she has decided to gracefully “die of old age.” She puts her affairs in order but then she meets Theo…

January Thaw 350 pixels wide

Additionally, I finished the Red Spiny Back Poxwalker, who is now ready to take to the field with its green twin. I hope to get some pictures of my newest addition to the Festering Horde soon.