First update of 2018!

Last month, I made a new goal to write 10 short stories this year and January was the first month of that new direction. I didn’t totally crush this month like I wanted to, but I did make some accomplishments. I completed two short stories and they are currently in the editing pipeline.

Here are some quick highlights of January:

1. Writing Process.
January was all about falling back into the process of writing. I tried to establish a writing schedule, and be more consistent, with my eventual aim to become prolific. Fell short of that goal, stumbled and fell, even, but I’ll make adjustments and keep doing it next month. It’s all about managing the chaos of daily life.

2. “Don’t overthink. Trust your instincts, you’re a talented writer.”
One of my early readers said this to me and I can’t thank her enough for the advice. She was talking about the opening two paragraphs of a short story that I sent to her. Ironically, I spent the most time and effort “crafting” these two paragraphs. As a result, they came off as “stiff” in her words, and overwrought.

I’ve been guilty of dwelling on my writing in the past. Last year, I especially had a tendency to overthink my work to the point that it became stifling. Going forward, I don’t want to work too hard or second guess myself too much, or get so “inside my head” that I get psyched out,  but rather I want to let my thoughts and emotions flow.

3. Feedback.
I’ve been lucky enough to connect with some really helpful, professional readers who have provided some amazing guidance with my work. It is impossible to catch every single mistake that I make and I’m so thankful for the people who have helped with these short stories. If you’re reading this, thank you!

Oh, and a quick shout-out to all the people I’ve met on social media! What a great, supportive community of readers and writers. I’m really glad to have met all of you and I’m looking forward to knowing more about your stories 🙂

Other than that, not much has happened in January. I just want to continue the daily grind and keep at things.

For February, my goal is to flourish.

Will touch base with you soon.

-Peter

“Sometimes you need to go backward in order to go forward.”

A few months ago, I gave my friend Brandon a piece advice about his writing career. He was having trouble with a novel and after scrapping his pages several times, I told him to take a year off from the novel and instead to write short stories.

Well, I should have taken my own advice.

For more than a few reasons, I’ve decided to write 10 short stories next year. The main reason for this is discover. I want to experiment, learn, and fine tune. Maybe even push the envelope with a few. I’m going to be trying on different tones and styles, trying different characters, and subject matter.

So December was mainly about re-positioning myself to write short stories. After my decision, I looked through my writing notebook and picked out a few concepts that I thought could make good shorts.

The first one that I chose was a thriller about a detective searching for a missing person. I tried to complete it, but it just didn’t really feel right it its short form. I wound up putting it down.

But the next one I finished. I picked up an old concept that I just couldn’t crack because I was trying to develop it as a longer piece. I always knew it had to be a short. It’s finished and I’m currently in the editing process of it. And hoping to release it next month, so please keep on the lookout 🙂

For January, I’m planning on releasing the short story and writing another one (maybe two). Hopefully this new direction pans out.

-Peter

 

 

A lot of my friends ask me what writing’s like and I tell them that writing is constantly being frustrated. Either you’re stumped on a scene, a character, or something about the story – something is always puzzling you.

I was hoping to get three chapters done this month, and reasonably expecting two, but closing out November, it looks like I’m only hitting one: Chapter 4. Obviously, this is a bit frustrating. I can’t have too many months like this if I want to launch this book next year. If anyone is counting, I’ve got 4 chapters written out of my anticipated 30. Only 26 more to go. Really still hoping to get this out to everyone by September. Remaining optimistic but I’m not afraid to push the date back either. I’ll never sacrifice quality just to get something out there.

The good news: The chapter that I did write was quite difficult. It was an introduction of a new character and I was stuck on it for some time but I finally think I cracked it. Now that I have a better feel for who these characters are and their dynamic, I’m hoping to cover a little more ground in December.

My goal for December is to continue honing my voice. I know that’s kind of abstract but I’m honestly still tweaking things in terms of my overall style and how it affects the tone of the work. Also, hitting a respectable chapter count would be nice as well 🙂 Here’s hoping.

I’ll check back with you in December.

-Peter

Last month, I told you that I wound up scrapping my work. Well, no more looking back, October was the first month of writing in this new direction of my novel. Overall, I feel really good about it. It’s good, clean work. The novel is going to be different. It’s going to read different, it’s going to feel different than the other novels out there.

Looking at my pace this month, I wrote two chapters. I want to be able to get to three chapters a month, but I’m not going to force it either. At this point, I’m abandoning hitting a daily word count, and simply focusing on time plus effort.

I probably won’t be soliciting feedback from anyone for this. I truly think I just need to incubate this and put in the hard work in solitude before I release anything out to the world. Thinking about doing a solid draft, and then going out for notes.

Oh, and I’m not forcing myself to follow the treatment as it’s written. I got a solid route I can take, but I’m also giving myself room for improvement. I’m letting myself be carried away by the story a bit as my understanding of the true story starts to unfold.

Another thing is sacrifice. I can’t go out and play too much if I wanna give everyone the story they deserve. That means no drinking or partying for a while, but I guess it’s high time for that. I gotta buckle down and grind out this novel.

November, I’m looking to continue putting in the hours, staying focused, writing quality material. If all goes well, I’ll be messaging everyone in a month and saying I did exactly this.

-Peter

 

 

What the hell have I been doing for the past few years?

It honestly all seems to blur together at this point. In the age of hyper-productivity, it’s popular to set goals and track progress. I knew I should have been doing it, but alas, after not having really tracked my progress for a few years, I felt compelled to compile this list of checkpoints that I hit while working on various projects. I came up with this list:

2015

October 23rd – FINALLY complete The Lottery, a spec screenplay co-written with my friend, after an arduous three year process, send to friends and mentors for feedback

November 18th – Receive notes from college professor/mentor on The Lottery. Some encouragement, mostly negative

2016

January 17th – Submit The Lottery to a workshop in the Itaewon district in Seoul

February 25th – Complete an early unfinished treatment of a Sci-Fi Thriller. The first sign of my new project after deciding to write novels.

March 7th – Complete list of changes needed for The Lottery, prioritized by importance

July 9th – Finish experimental chapters of Sci-Fi Thriller

July 15th – Finish revision of The Lottery

August 20th – Receive competition feedback on The Lottery

September 4th – Send First Act treatment of Sci-Fi to potential editor

September 20th – Final rejection letter for The Lottery rolls in

November 27th – Send experimental first chapters of Sci-Fi Thriller to workshop group in Itaewon.

December 17th – Attend first meeting of workshop in Gangnam

2017

March 5th – Send 20 pages of psychological thriller to a workshop group, calling it “While You Were Asleep”. It’s about a guy who hears his wife confess a murder while in her sleep. First documented evidence of my story.

April 26th – Send 8 page outline to a friend, calling it “Untitled Mystery Thriller”.

April 9th – Send one page outline on the story to a friend, very thriller-esque, lots of plot

May 4th – Finish eight page outline

August 3rd – Send 13,000 words of novel to a friend.

Summary

So, I worked on three projects during those three years.

  1. The Lottery, a spec screenplay
  2. Sci-Fi Mystery novel
  3. Psychological Thriller novel

I completed the first, abandoned the second, and the third is what I’m currently working on.

2015

I was simply revising my spec The Lottery, getting feedback and rejections, and also most likely mining concepts.

2016

This was a year spent trying to crack a very difficult, ambitious story, plus also trying to find my voice as a novelist. Whenever novel writers try to write scripts, I always say that you can’t just walk in day one and try to write a screenplay. Well, it’s the same vice-versa, I should have taken my own advice! The process was much more frustrating than I had imagined and, while I’ve now found a style I can run with, I don’t feel I’m completely matured in my voice just yet. I wound up abandoning that tricky story altogether. I did do some revising on my spec script as well, but it didn’t take the bulk of my time I think.

2017

This year isn’t over, but it was equally frustrating, as I was trying to crack a new story that I thought was simplistic. (It’s never simplistic). I was writing a lot of pages and throwing them away. Rinse and repeat. It was a very humbling, unpleasant experience. I wasn’t doing well in the story department, and I wasn’t doing well in the craft of writing either. Wound up scrapping somewhere along the lines of 50,000 words that were just simply horrible.

 

What I learned:

So what was the major takeaway of doing this and also the past two or three years? Now that I have a good view of the previous two years, I can say that they were a great learning experience. Two major things come to mind:

 

  1. I learned a lot about story. I did a bunch of treatments and I did a lot of thinking about the true meaning of

    story. I also learned about what appeals to me as a writer is very

    important,and that audiences have expectations as well.

  2. I learned a lot of adapting my style to novels. You can’t just

    forgotten years of playwriting and screenwriting knowledge, throw it all out the door when you start writing novels. I need to fall back

    onmy craft. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just need to adapt my current style so that it fits the conventions of novels.

One more thing comes to mind: I threw away tons, and tons of pages. Like, actual weight in tons. Alright, not really, but it sure felt like it. I think I threw away about 90-95% of the words that I wrote.

 

I came up with a few rules/takeaways for myself:

  1. Know when to walk away from a project. Seriously, my sci-fi thriller had tons of potential, but I just didn’t have the tools to execute it. Had I doggedly pursued it, I may have written something bad.
  2. Listen to your inner critic. There was a solid stretch there where I was just typing away, knowing something was wrong, but not addressing it. It came back to bite me and I wound up throwing all of those pages away.
  3. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Gotta fall back

    onmy craft and not forget about everything I learned up

    untilthis point. When I decided to switch over to novels, I felt like it was this strange new territory to be conquered, but I realize I just need to do what works for me.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to writing-wise for the past few years. When I decided to switch over to novel writing two years ago, I didn’t envision this happening. But looking back, I can say it’s been a valuable experience for me.

 

 

-Peter

 

Hello everyone,

Just a quick update.

I scrapped my pages. All of them. It’s hard to admit this, but the quality just wasn’t good enough. I think I was really impatient on getting something out there, too focused on the result, that I just completely rushed the process. In the words of Toy Story 2, “You can’t rush art.”

I also psyched myself out of it in a way. I don’t want to get too into it, but for a number of reasons, somewhere along the line I got convinced that this project wouldn’t be very successful.

So where am I now?

I’m beginning again. It can be frustrating, but setbacks are a normal part of the game. Just need to have faith that things will work out in time.

I just finished Chapter 1 and so far it’s going really well. Like most writers, I never really consider anything “done” but I do know when I’m “close enough” and these pages are right there. On to Chapter 2 with this new direction.

For anyone who has been waiting for this novel, sad news, but I’ve pushed the release date back yet again. At the pace I’m going, I’m thinking I’ll be finished somewhere around Winter 2018. Sorry for the wait!

-Peter

 

 

Hi Everyone,

Sorry, I haven’t posted in a while. Finally taking some time to chill out and update everyone on my progress.

I’m deep into the writing phase of this novel. When it comes to writers, they say there’s two kinds: architects and gardeners. I’ve always preferred the more structured approach of the architect, but for this novel, I’m embracing a more fluid, spontaneous style. As a result, I’m discovering a lot about the characters and the story as I write it. Which keeps things exciting to say the least.

Next, I just want to say thanks to all who send positive comments and direct messages my way. Really grateful for all the support I’ve been getting. I read every single message and I want to respond to every one of them. Thank you so much for the encouragement. It means a lot.

Stand by for some cool news in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a title reveal as well as hopefully doing some other cool stuff, sharing some more details. I’m very excited to be bringing this story to you and can’t wait for you to check it out!

-Peter