May 31, 2022

What I’m up to - May 2022

You May find this update interesting…

This is a cross-post from my current Now page.

The year feels like it’s on fast forward or something.

Currently writing

  • May has been The Month Of Production.
  • After putting my solarpunk murder mystery on ice and getting about 14,000 words of a spy thriller currently titled The Disaster Club in April, I spent all of this month working on that novel.
  • That has added up to a really chunky 39,000 words on that new book, which took me over the halfway point of the novel this very morning.
  • I’ve been aided in this effort by badly spraining my ankle a couple of weeks ago, so my morning walks have been swapped for quite a few double-length writing sessions. Turns out an hour of writing, quick teabreak, then another hour is a really productive cadence for me - I can get about 3,000-4,000 words per day with that amount of time.
  • My friends and I at Edinburgh SFF are having our inaugural EdNoWriMo (Edinburgh Novel Writing Month) starting tomorrow - it’s just like NaNoWriMo, but more chill - bring your own targets, your own cadence and get involved with as many or as few writing sprints, catch up calls and writing chats as you want. I’m hoping to get through the remaining 48,000 words or so of this book in June. I may end up doing a bit more editing as I go, extending into the first week or two of July, but we’ll see how it goes.
  • My new story Carapace’ looks like it’s going to be in July’s Clarkesworld. I’ll post about that once it’s confirmed. Really looking forward to the reaction to this story, I’m really proud of it.

Currently reading

  • TITLE REDACTED by Lia Holland - I spent a good chunk of May re-reading the beta version of a novel by one of my critique partners Lia Holland. I’ve read the book before in various draft forms, but this was my first front-to-back readthrough of a mostly-ready book and it was great. I can’t wait to see how agents react to this one. I think it’s timely, smart and just a bloody good story.
  • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi - Still reading this in short sips at the end of the day. The early starts on my own writing are making me exceptionally sleepy in the evenings, so my progress is very, very slow, but I’m still really enjoying it.
  • Refuse to be Done by Matt Bell - The first craft book I’ve read in a while and it’s a fun read so far. The first third seems squarely aimed at discovery writers who need to feel their way into a story, which ain’t me, so I’m looking forward to parts 2 and 3 which seem to be about structural/reverse outlining and in-depth line revision respectively.

Currently doing

  • I’m a month into my new day job and enjoying it! Not been down to England yet to meet the rest of the team, but hopefully in June.
  • I have also been cited to do my public duty (3 days after starting my new job, of course), so right now I’m waiting to see if and when I have to go to court. Obviously no updates on that here or on any social channels - I take the commitment to fairness and confidentiality seriously.
  • I triumphantly finished Couch to 5k! Then of course I did two more runs and immediately sprained my ankle really badly. Very, very irritating. So now I’m slowly building back up to regular walking, then I guess I’ll go back two or three weeks in the C25K rotation and work my way back up. I think I’ll also need to work on some calisthenics and strength exercises to build up my overall resilience to this kind of injury. Whenever something like this happens, it makes me worry about doing something worse and permanently injuring myself, so I want to try and minimise the chances of that.

Currently planning

  • In just two days, it’ll be time for the Cymera Festival, live and in-person for the first time since 2019! I cannot wait - I’ll be there all three days and volunteering on Sunday afternoon. I may also be donning the blue t-shirt to fill in on other days as well. If you’re attending, make sure to join the Cymera Discord and say hi if you see me. I’ll be the massively enthusiastic bearded fellow that looks like the image in the top left.
  • I finished my editing series with a monster post about my current, as-of-right-now editing process that clocked in at over 3,000 words. Probably could have done with a bit more editing, ironically. Next on the blogging agenda, I’m going to have a scan through my Big Folder of Ideas for new series. I think I might do a bit more detail about the rituals and routines I use to (fairly) consistently clock in a minimum of 6,000 words a week (this week is at 6,800 already, on a Tuesday, but that’s out of the ordinary even for me).
  • As noted above, I’m over halfway through my current draft. I’ve been powering ahead to catch up to the rough plan I made for myself with Pacemaker, so hopefully that will give me a little leeway for some editing. I already have about 10,000 words I know that I’ll need to fairly extensively rewrite, so I will hopefully make some time for that in the middle of the month.
  • Since I’ve finished my editing series, I’d love to hear what you’d like to read about next, publishing or writing process-wise, so please give me a shout on Twitter with any requests. If you’re new here, I’m a published short story writer and agented writer on submission with my first novel (and writing the next one). Let me know what you’d like to read about!

now update personal


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How I write - Editing Part 3 - How I actually do it This is the fourth in an occasional series of posts about writing process stuff that has worked for me, and the third in a sub-series about editing.
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What I’m up to - June 2022 Hey June, don’t bring me down… This is a cross-post from my current Now page. June was a month of things coming home to roost, in good and

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