Progress, progress bars and project updates9th July 20169th July 2016Darius Shakor

It has been a while since I blogged anything so here is a quick update on the ongoing projects I have as well as a little tweak to the site here and there.

Let’s start with that last one first. Up until recently, I have only been working on one thing at a time, first with The Skid Journals parts 1-1 and 1-2, then re-editing 1-1 and republishing as per my previous blog entry. However, I recently began writing a second short story along with part 1-3 of The Skid Journals. More on this below. So, with this dual project on the go, I felt it was time to start tracking them on the site. And going forward for any future works I have on my table. I have added a progress bar plugin to the sidebar to track ongoing projects and started with the first two and their current states. I was not really able to find any that fully matched what I am looking for, given that my writing is not set to any specific goal in terms of length or content other than getting it done. I was not sure how exactly I would gauge the level of completion of any of my stories and represent them in one single bar. Overall I view my writing to be a three stage process. First is the outline, where I scribble down a note form of the flow of the story. Second, I begin working on the draft for the story, essentially padding out the outline, and usually changing stuff along the way on a small scale as the narrative takes shape more naturally. Finally, I proofread the story giving it two passes of editing. The first focusing mostly on grammar and punctuation and the second pass being a readability check making adjustments to wording and such. With the single progress bar, it is difficult to track this other than estimating the volume of workload represented by each section. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, though, and I feel I know my own writing well enough to quantify my own progress.

With that, onto the projects displayed on the new project tracker. Starting with the next installment of The Skid Journals. Progress has been a little slower than the previous parts given one reason or another, one of them being the second ongoing project requiring some detailed planning before I got started. Another reason for this is the current story having little in the way of action for me to sink my teeth into, and I find myself a little out of practice writing the back and forth of things when no one is shooting at anyone else. Having said that, part 1-3 following on from the group having made it to the town on the edge of The Skid, part 1-3 will give me a good setting to introduce several more characters to the story and close out part 1 entirely before the story truly gets started. Also, I will not lie, motivation to write this part or anything at all has been lacking somewhat this last month as some life decisions have weighed on my mind lately, though I forced myself to make a decent amount of progress padding out the first part of the outline. As I did I found my flow returning that day and got a decent amount done. Despite having a second story on my plate at this time, part 1-3 of The Skid Journals is my primary project which I will aim to complete before fully tackling the new story project.

So let’s talk about that one now. A while ago I came up with a good story premise that sank into my brain one evening while watching a TV series called Man in the High Castle. Which, by the way, I highly recommend. Occasionally I will have an idea for one scene in a story. It might be in the middle of the story, it might be the very ending. This one turned out to be the ending and felt like a good short story to tackle for a section I plan to begin on this site called the Scrapbook. However as I have delved deeper into this scene I have seen the potential for something bigger than what I intended the scrapbook to be. Ferum Republic is a story set in a steampunk-like setting. I have heard the term ironpunk muttered here and there, and some people say there is no difference between the two. However, it feels to me this is a much more accurate description for this theme than steampunk could be. It is hard to separate the two ultimately but this is what I am going with. It is a story of a power struggle in a fictitious despotic military republic in which snakes in the grass seek to grab power and further provoke war. The only thing standing in their way is a highly venerated retired war hero.

Working on this new project has enabled me to indulge in a little world building, something I am always keen on. One such challenge is setting thematically fitting names for people and places, which I always enjoy working on. Also, the facets of the world and its settings such as religion, social structure, external politics and their history with each other right down to the ethnic groups spread across the world. Or at least this one portion of it where the story takes place. So I think you can see why this one scrapbook story is becoming something much larger for me. I am not sure at this point if it will become a series, or if I will write several parts and cap it off at the end scene that spawned this whole idea. I will see where I can take it though I will likely not debut this in the scrapbook now and fall back on one of my other ideas afterward.

Well, that is all I have for now. Thanks for reading and I look forward to getting both of these projects out for you all to enjoy.

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