Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Greatshadow 69874

In theory, I want to always crank out 10k words a week, minimum, when I'm writing a novel. Momentum is very important for me; if I leave the story for too many days, I risk losing the thread. People who are good at math will notice that I missed my goal from my last post, clocking in with a measely 9k in what's actually a little more than a week. I have two excuses:

1: I'm taking part in the annual Codexwriter's Halloween Short Story Contest. I'm the reigning champ from last year. In fact, I've taken top prize in two out of the five years the contest has been going on, and sold every story I've written. "Final Flight of the Blue Bee" was from the first year and sold to Asimov's, ISLI, and Diakaijuzine (where you can read it for free... ignore the fact they've misspelled my name, please!) "Echo of the Eye" took second place the next year, and was published this spring in the Blotter (again, you can read it for free online, but don't if you're offended by kinky cannibal sex; also, the pdf takes a minute to two to open once you click the link). "Silent as Dust" was my first #1 win in the contest, and can still be read at IGMS for a small fee, and will be appearing next month in The Year's Best Fantasy and Science Fiction 2009 edited by Rich Horton. Last year, I wrote "Where Their Worm Dieth Not," which will be published in an upcoming superhero anthology called With Great Power, edited by Lou Anders. I'll talk more about it as the release date draws nearer.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that my word count on the novel is low because I wrote about half of a short story for this year... which I'm now going to throw away. Normally, I'm a believer in slogging through to the end and fixing in rewrites, but there really was nothing to fix. It was a perfectly fine story. It just wasn't a kick-ass story, and didn't have any hope of ever becoming one. It was just an idea with a plot; there was no loneliness or grief or sadness attached to it. It's funny, I don't normally think of myself as someone who writes sad stories. I normally think of my identifiable story elements as weirdness, humor, and odd takes on morality. But, Blue Bee works because the villian, Stinger, is so heart-broken. Echo works because the cannibal protagonist has a secret that he can't share with anyone but his monkey. Dust works because the hero has screwed up his life so badly that he's turned himself into a ghost, haunting an old mansion, without going through the normally required step of dying. And Worm has a weary superhero facing up to the fact that beating the latest bad guy hasn't reduced the sum of evil in the world at all. So, I'm back to the drawing board with 9 days to go before deadline. I intend to win this thing.

2: Writing is really a wonderful, wonderful activity. I love crafting stories, inventing characters, weaving plots. But, I have to tell you, the actual business of writing, the part where you try to get paid, is just painful. I signed a deal earlier in the summer to sell the French rights to Bitterwood and Dragonforge (Dragonseed wasn't out yet when this started). I've been sitting around all summer, daydreaming about the day when I'd finally get paid. So, last week I followed up with the French agent, and discovered that they'd never received any paperwork back from me (it's a long story why, which I'll not go into here). So, two months of waiting to get paid amounted to zilch. Luckily, they were still wanting to do the deal. Unluckily, I had to fill out tax forms again, then scan them and email them, them Fedex the hardcopy. I've also swapped at least a dozen emails trying to sort everything out. The deal is on, everything's worked out. Still, too much of my week was spent focused on dealing with this rather than on daydreaming about dragons crunching on knights.

Anyway, I'll post again next week. Since I'm doing short story work, my word count goal by next Sunday night will be to reach the 75K mark. Then, the following week, 85k. I'm counting on all of you to tease me mercilessly if I miss.

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