It was a big basketball weekend, of course. My Cardinals of Louisville are riding high, and seem to be a reasonable favorite to win it all. Lots of good teams out there, though, far too much competition left to get particularly cocky.
Myke Cole, a writing acquaintance of mine who I recently met in person for the first time, tweeted yesterday that “Writing short stories because you want to be a novelist is like practicing to ride a motorcycle because you want to drive a car.”
Given that there exist many very fine race drivers throughout history who learned their race craft on motorcycles before moving to automobile racing (can you say world champion John Surtees, among many others?), and given the fact that for many, many years a gajillion novelists in our speculative field of Fantasy and Science Fiction got their starts writing short stories, I have to admit I found Myke’s commentary a bit too restrictive. Myke and I bandied about conversation on his FB page, and then let it die. As I said there, we would agree, I think (I hope?), about more than we disagree. Myke is a completely Grade A guy, and I admire the heck out of him for many reasons. Realize, too, that at the end of the day, though I’ve written several novel-length works, Myke is successfully publishing them. In that light, I am a short story guy. So take my thoughts with big grains of thought-salt.
And my thoughts here are that–especially for new writers–the most important thing is to learn how to actually write as rapidly as possible. And I think you learn to write by writing things that get you excited. For some folks writing novels is what gets them excited–they can deal with the time investment required to complete one on spec and move on. But a vast majority of new writers I run into don’t have that psychology. They want a sense of having completed something … and in most cases that’s an important aspect of the learning curve. For them, short stories work as their proving grounds just fine. For them, the act of writing short stories provides them the ability to rapidly try out new and different forms of storytelling–fiddle with plot points, and with structure, and characterization and dialect and whatever. Writing short stories gives new writers a place to practice basic prose craft, and work out how to make the flow of information in their work happen well for them.
Of course, plotting a novel is different than plotting a short story. The pacing is different. The short story is more precise–more focused. But ultimately, I think a novel has many short stories in it. A good one, anyway. I think every major secondary character in a good novel has his or her own storyline, and that storyline is essentially a short story in itself–the telling of which is spread out over the entirety of the book. So it seems to me that the act of writing short stories can’t possibly do anything but augment a new writer’s ability to write a good novel.
Perhaps I’m just making that up. I don’t know.
I’m a short story guy, you see?
So, while I agree totally with Myke that novelists can learn to be novelists by writing novels (and that perhaps that’s even the best way), I think there is no reason you can’t include writing short stories on your list of activities that will help you become a novelist, just like riding a motorcycle over a road course is a helluva good way to learn the racing line (which is paramount to being a great race car driver).
That’s my .02, anyway.
So, after this morning’s work episode 5, Lords of Existence, is “in the can.” This means, to me anyway, that the creation of story is now done and it’s moving into the steps more closely aligned with production rather than deep story telling. I personally include some beta reading in this production phase, but that’s just me. It rings in at about 25,400 words by the trusty Microsoft counter, and brings our hero to a new understanding of both himself and the world at large. I’m quite enjoying it.
We now move to episode 6, which I’ve laid out previously but which will need a bit of tweaking based on a small turn that rose itself up in episode five. That happens, you know. And mostly it’s pretty good when it does–though a bit annoying with the rewrites it causes.
My intention is to get either seven or eight episodes complete prior to moving into the release phase–which could, of course, go a few different directions. More coming on that in the future.
I’m a little late on this, but I’ve been busy on NaNoWriMo. Yes, life is tough. Anyway, a local writer, Paul Hoffman, invited me to participate in a My Next Big Thing blog tour. Paul is a local guy (assuming you live–like I do–in Columbus, Indiana, anyway), and he’s written A Murder in Wautosa, a book detailing the true-life murder mystery that happened in his boyhood city in the years before he lived there. You can pick up a copy here. I suggest you do.
Paul’s suggested I talk about a book I’m working on, so I’ll discuss Wakers, the book I’ve just finished the first draft of. Since Wakers won’t be available for a bit, you’ll have to look into See the PEBA on $25 a Day or my collection Picasso’s Cat and Other Stories (available through links on the sidebar) if you’re interested in checking out my work while you’re waiting.
So, here it goes.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I sat down to write this book with a completely clean slate. I had earlier agreed with Lisa Silverthorne (who I’ll link below) to write a book in October–it’s something we’ve done occasionally before, doing tandem novels removes that feeling of being alone you can sometimes get. Anyway, she had an issue, so we pushed it back to November. I sat down on the first of the month with no idea, really. Except … well … except that I had been thinking about what the world might be like if there were no need for money.
So I thought about that some more.
What kind of things would have to happen for such a world to actually evolve? What kinds of people would this create? Suddenly I had an idea and a couple characters I really enjoyed, and we off to the races. Turns out the book isn’t really about the lack of money at all, of course, though that’s still in there.
What genre does your book fall under?
This one is clearly a work of science fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
These are fun questions. I’ll put these forward, realizing that the story is still in first draft. But what the heck…
- Bexie Montgomery – Maybe Leroy McClain
- Kinji Hall – My brain is stuck on someone like Emma Stone
- Maine Parker – This will be a debut role, filled by a guy who will go on to be a heart-throb superstar
- Tania DeBrae – I could see Dakota Fanning doing this
- DeJenna – Mila Kunis? Maybe. Strong expectation to learn more about DeJenna in the second draft.
- Pauli – Shia LaBeouf in an un-credited, but scene-stealing appearance
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A modern-day capitalist wakes up in a not-quite-so benevolent future.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll decide what to do with it after I finish the second draft. I think it will be under 70,000 words, though, which makes me think it will be more successful in the indie-world. I am really hoping that the “new” world of publishing will see us return to the days of short 50-60,000 word novels. I love those things.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Thirty days. I believe in driving first drafts pretty quickly.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is such a hard question. I don’t like comparing them, really. But I leverage a lot of Asimov’s robot framework, and there’s some cyber-punkism in there that might pay homage to Sterling/Stephenson/Gibson. I play with a deviation from the standard futurist’s conversation around the singularity concept (if there can be said to be a standard, anyway).
So it’s hard to call. I hope it’s unique, but of course others will bring their own associations. That’s the beauty of books, really. The way I interact with a story will be different than the way you interact with it. So in that sense, they are two different stories.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It was a mix of things–not the least was probably watching the latest round of political debates around the topic of our economy. I was interested in exploring the concept of a world without monetary currency, and it was a great deal of fun to think through elements that make our society work, to research economic levers that we all take for granted, and to apply them into a more human framework that help me understand those concepts even more. All that research was also a fabulous way to justify spending hours goofing off on the internet. [grin]
In all seriousness, I think writing this book was a great educational tool, and it’s probably changed the way I think about the world as a whole.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Stories are really about people, and I love the characters in this book. I really enjoy their take on what freedom means to each of them, their flare for art, and love. I think people who read Wakers will find themselves seeing nobility in places they hadn’t expected it. I think they will want to know more about them, which, to me, is always great fun.
I’m really excited to pass the torch to a pair of writers:
I’ve known and read Lisa Silverthorne, a writer who lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, for a number of year now and can say that she is one of my absolutely favorite writers. She has publishing a bunch of short stories in the fantasy and science fiction genres, and works in romance and paranomal-ism genres. I absolutely adore her work, which has been on the preliminary ballot for the SFWA Nebula Award. You can find more of it at Elusive Blue Fiction.
I very highly recommend her duet titled “Shipwrecks in Sea Minor” (of which I intend to write more about on this blog later). I also think her collection Sound of Angels should be on everyone’s bookshelf.
Vera Nazarian is a Russian-born writer who found herself living in a myriad of European countries before growing up in California–only to later make house in the eastern regions of Vermont. Talk about a world-traveler. Not too surprisingly, she’s an eclectic writer and publisher, writing work that spans the spectrum from high literary (serious stuff, right?) to quirky comedy and Jane Eyre send-ups.
I adored her debut novel, Dreams of the Compass Rose, and recently supported her kickstarter effort “The Cobweb Bride.” You can find her work at http://www.norilana.com/
Wakers “finishes” NaNoWriMo at a final tally of 51, 735. I added about a thousand words this evening, but also killed about 500 others. Ultimately the last, say, 2000 words are really a coarse outline of the end of the story. So it’s a stretch to say it’s really “done.” But it’s done enough for the purposes of a first draft, and so I’ll claim it. What the hell, eh? I’m going to guess now that the full book will come in a something near 60K.
I’m probably going to write more about this in the next couple days, as I’ve been thinking a lot about the process again. But I’m brain dead now, so I’ll wait to go too far into things. Suffice to say that I’m still really streamlining the ending, but it’s all good.
But I want to mention how excited I am to see Brigid kicking it this past couple days–including punching out a 7-or-8K day today. Her work as a whole is getting up close to 60K. Pretty danged good work, give her struggles over Thanksgiving (where she was busy doing things like wedding planning and inviting her dad to cake and reception tasting events), and given that she dealt with her very first bout with the mid-book blah. Now we’ll see if she’s still enjoying the process as she nears the end of her full book–wherever that is.
All told, it’s been a pretty great month.
Morning Update (7:23) – A tad over 2K this morning brings me to well over 51K for the month, which means … I “win!” The story stands at present at 51,493 words, and I’m thinking it really needs about 2K more. My experience with making my own estimates, though, is that this means I’ll need 4-5K. Technically I can call the novel “finished” because I have the entire plot told–though the last pieces are in outline mode, so even I know I’m really cheating if I say it’s finished. Of course, even if I finish expanding the final pieces that are currently in outline, I’ll still be “cheating” since I know I have one medium-big plotline that’s not properly started in this first draft. So at this point we’re arguing technicalities. [grin]
I might get a little time tonight, but I’ve also got to get to the health club to fill a commitment there. So, we’ll see. I would really like to get a more official “the end” tagged onto this today, but life is what it is.
Either way I suppose I’ll jump into the NaNoWriMo site this evening to figure out how to validate my book. But for now, I gotta get to work.
Have a good one.
Morning Update (5:47 AM) – About 500 words this AM. Yippee.
I knew it was going to be a sparse morning because work has made a special call, and I’ll be heading it early for a day-long session. These things are particularly wearing because you have to concentrate all day–unlike a usual office day where you have breaks and changes, and your attention has peeks and valleys where it can restore itself. In other words, I anticipate being pretty washed out this evening, so any words I get will be undertaken with caution. That said, I’m up over 49K, and can see I have three, maybe four main scenes left to write on the draft. If I can get one full one done tonight, I might be able to make “The End” by Friday night.
If not, it’ll be Saturday.
Either way, I should have 50K in easy. So the NaNoWriMo game will be successfully concluded. Yay Me!
Hopefully there will be an evening update, though. Yes. That would be good.
Morning Update (7:02AM) – Got a cool 2,064 words this morning, or just over 1,000 words an hour of effort. And I’m certain these are some really good words. The story at this point is getting depth that wasn’t totally there in the earliest stages of the work. Not surprising, of course, when you think about it. The story is now rushing toward its end, with two of what I had perceived as the main characters linked up and the third on his way.
The writing of the story has brought two other characters to life, though. One has been there for the entire writing, but was a secondary character who has raised her head just through force of personality (and become indispensable for it). The second fringe character to insert herself into the the mix really just appeared in full force this morning. I’ve had this shadowy character planned for some time–he was going to be an older, semi-wise gentleman who would essentially act as a guide. But when I got to the point of writing the character she said I have it all wrong. Instead, she’s a street-smart younger freedom fighter who, with her longtime boyfriend, has been hanging low and working to free herself and the rest of the world from … well … the bad guys.
So it may turn out the second draft will need a little more of her. Much fun, eh?
The total work is nearing 47K. No question it’ll get to 50K before the deadline…but getting to “the end” may be pressing it, especially as it seems I’m going to lose chunk of time tomorrow morning due to work.
Never say never though. Hopefully I’ll be back later tonight with more words to report.
Have a good one …
Evening Update (9:47 PM) – Big movement. Finishing my first 4K+ day of the novel at 4,071. Lots of plot movement with both Kinji and Maine’s lines moving. I’ve set things up slightly differently than I expected, so I’ve got a couple new plot inconsistencies–but, hey, it’s a first draft. They won’t be too hard to adjust to in the second draft.
At 48,700 for the total package, we’re nearly past the post.
Congrats to young Nick-o for completing his 50K!
Morning Update (7:06 am) - Two major scenes of progress this morning, and over 1500 words of true progress. Counting a tiny bit of rewriting, my pace is up to somewhere around 900 words an hour, which is the strongest indicator that I’ve actually got a real handle on what I’m doing now. Technically I picked up over 1500 words this morning, but that doesn’t count the 500 or so that I kinda rewrote again. So, no question I’ll hit the required 50K. What I like best is that the characters are starting to jump off the page at me now with great regularity. I don’t know how else to describe it except to say characters are jumping off the page, but I’ve always found that to be bot a great sign for the story, and to be great fun for me personally. It’s like new people talking to me and imparting things about themselves without using words. Yeah, I know. Weird.
The day’s going to be a full one at work, including a lunch session, so probably won’t see much more progress today unless I’m feeling up to words in the late night period. Always possible.
Excited to see where this will end.
Evening Update (9:57PM) – Picked up a quick 500 or so words, finishing up at a hair over 2K for the day. I only got a half-hour in, but that means I’m still working at about 1000 words an hour. Pretty cool.
Morning Update (7:32 AM) – Something over 1,200 words this morning, and the work is actually flowing pretty well. I would say that for the past two weeks my work on this book has been a case of “two-steps forward, one step back.” But the past 24 hours things seem to have improved to maybe “four steps forward, one step back.”
Hey, I’ll take my joy where I find it!
I’m definitely into my third character now, and definitely have all his motivations and whatnot arrived/contrived/developed. He’s actually a very deep young man. Much fun.
Hope to have an update regarding even more progress this evening. We’re heading toward the finish line, and I would like to have a “the end” by Friday.
Evening Update (9:37 PM) – Picked up another 350 words or so, but mostly I think that, for the first time, I can now say that I know pretty much step-by-step exactly how the story is going to end. That makes things suddenly a lot easier. Four days to go. Let’s see if we can get this puppy to the finish line.
We had a great long weekend, with Brigid and Nick joining us Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Did some wedding planning (well, I did wedding cake and wedding reception dinner tasting, Brigid and Lisa did the wedding planning). Always great to have the kids here. I know Nick got some words in, and I got some words in. Poor Brigid, though, was pretty much busy all the time. Of course, she was already into her novel before November, so she was playing along for the fun of it.
Back to the grindstone, though…
Three-Day Update – The good news here is that I’ve probably written 8K-words over the past three days. The bad news is that only about 4K of them actually work. At least that’s bad news on the mathematical front. On the whole I’m pretty happy right now, though, because I actually have the answer to how I’m getting all three characters together, and most of it is now in the manuscript. Poor Maine Parker (the third character). Nothing worse than finding that someone special only to have her taken away in the most insidious fashion possible.
The solution to my problem itself is pretty okay. But I absolutely get fascinated by the process by which these things come. It just kind of arrived in this weird, holistic way as I was typing along earlier this morning. If I hadn’t pressed it, written the words that ran up to it, and then doubled back and tried it again, I don’t think it would have come.
As Lisa Silverthorne said in her comment on my post below, that’s the great thing about writing. you never know where or how things are going to hit you. Brigid and I (with bits of additions from Lisa and Nick) had a fairly long conversation about her project last night, and touched on this a few times. If I knew how ideas sprung up, I would bottle that patent and be a gazillionaire. Alas, though, I am just like the rest of us.
I’ve learned a lot about this third character the last three days, mostly by just writing along and the tossing out stuff I don’t like. It’s a pretty brute-force, don’t-try-this-at-home-kids method of progress, but it worked. And now I’m flying toward the end.
I think. [grin]
I’m definitely looking forward to the second draft of this one. Regardless, as of today I’ve officially crossed the 40K level needed to call the thing a novel! Woot! And I think I’ll be able to get the 50K limit by Friday. All good.
First Report (1:27 PM) – Overall I guess I can’t complain, though I will. I managed a bit over 2K words this morning, which gets me up to nearly 37,000 words for the whole. But I admit that the work today was difficult in an odd way. I have a plan for where I want everything to end up, and I’ve figured out the whole dilemma that the three main characters will face and what their stories kinda mean. But I’m not 100% sure what steps I’m taking to get there.
Much fun, but it’s also like walking on thin ice. I’m constantly worried I’m going the wrong way.
Yes, I have such a tough life.
Congrats to Lisa on cresting the 50K mark! You just can’t beat her, you know?
Morning (7:00 AM) – It was a good morning, with just over 1,400 words logged. The main character has gotten himself fully ensnared, and it looks bad for him. Wonder how he’ll get out of this one?
On a process note, I’ve realized that in relation to progress on earlier novel dare’s I’ve undertaken, I’m losing a little wordcount to one simple fact–I’m getting up at least a half-hour later than I once did. My alarm has been set for 4:30, rather than 4:00 as it had been in the old days–hence I’ve been 300-500 words short on many of my basic work days. So, I fixed that day, setting the alarm back to 4:00. Voila! 1400+ words.
50% more time = 50% more words.
I am a total genius, I say. Total genius.
I’m hoping for a quiet day at work, seeing that it’s pre-T-Day and all that. With luck I’ll get an hour at lunch to add more. The suspense is killing me, you know? [grin] But for now, it’s off to the shower to get myself ready for the rest of the day.
Morning (7:04) – Picked up a good 1,098 words this AM. Not Silverthornian, but I’m not complaining. the main character is in peril, and a plan has been launched to save him even if he doesn’t quite know it. Tiny plot obstacle will need to be overcome here at my next sitting, but it _should_ be one of those fun, inventive moments rather than a major headache like some of the others I’ve dealt with on this one. I’m learning more and more about the personalities of these characters as I go, which should make the second pass that much easier, and that much more fun.
See you later today, I suppose. Would like to bump this to 1700+ for the day again.
Morning (7:13) – Managed an official 959 morning words via the Microsoft Word judge. The second character, Kinji Hall, takes a step back and ties into her support infrastructure in the form of a night out with a best friend. she’s not feeling good about something, and the friend is going to help her see it. Hoping to get another few pages in before the end of the day.
So we’ll see about working at lunch, or when I get home.
Evening (9:05) – No work at lunch…or at least no work on the book. But I spent a chunk of time this evening and finished up at just over 1,800 words for the day. They were interesting words, too, combination of characterization and new realization for me–in this case, the conversation between Kinji and her friend helped me uncover exactly what she thought about the “main” character, which was very helpful.
The even better news is that I still have a few bits to add to this conversation, so I’ve got a jumping off place to start first thing in the morning, too. But for now I’m brain dead, so I’m calling it a night.
Have a good one.
So I picked up 2,610 words today, coulda/shoulda done better, but I’m not going to complain. Story is still moving, and I know pretty much where we’re going starting in the morning–which should portend good progress tomorrow, too. This was a milestone day, too, as we crossed 30,000 words for the package.
Five tough hours, only about 300 words or so in productive moving forward.
I have done a lot of thinking through motivations of the “big bad guys” here today, though. The problem here stemmed from me asking myself a fairly simple “what if” question about an AI element of the world I’m creating. The answer brought me up pretty short. It was essentially the classic “why is your bad guy bad?” kind of question. In my case it was more along the line of looking at behavior of the AI. Why was it interacting with humanity in such a passive fashion when it was obviously in its best interest to be more aggressive?
There are answers, of course.
The end result cost me a couple thousand words–some actual cuts and some I had to redo. And it annoyed me to have to make these changes as I was going back over things. It’ll cost me a little more thinking time in a day or two when I get to some mechanics of moving the main guy to a particular scene–and probably cost me some work in the front third of the book, too. But I’m happy with the decision at this point.
Welcome to first draft, eh?
Managed a hair’s breadth less than a thousand words this morning, the good news and bad news is that a lot of this was an expository dump of story infrastructure in almost outline level detail. It’s bad news in that I’ll need to go back and expand it out–present it in better and more interesting fashion. It’s good news because the raw word count will almost certainly go up as I work on it, and probably go up considerably.
First drafts are weird like that.
Regardless, it’s another day over my 800-ish word goal for a week day, so I’m happy. I have several things going on in my mind right now, to0, so if I get a chance (and the day doesn’t wear these ideas out) I hope to add more this evening.
Have a good one.
Just over 800 words this morning, which meets my minimum expectation. I spent much of the morning fleshing in a little of the details of recent pages, which expanded word count in a good way, but I feel like I’m shying back from the next big movement of the story. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. In my behalf, I’ll say that the chapter I finished today ends with a somewhat unexpected cliffhanger that should pretty much guarantee someone turns the next page.
On the milestone front, I crossed the 25K mark well in advance of eh half-month mark, so from a pure NaNoWriMo perspective I’m still on track. More goodness, eh?
The main character finds a way to deepen his plot twist, and the second lead gains a fresher life (to me anyway). This will be helpful as we move into the end game. The third character waits in the wings, nearly ready to play his part.
This is getting fun again.
Just over 1200 words this morning is pretty good. I would like to average 800 or so a morning during the week, so 900 yesterday and 1200 today works. The story as a whole has risen past 24,000 words. I think I’ve got 50K worth of story to tell. We’ll see. As I said before, I’m more interested in getting to a fitting “the end” than I am in hitting 50K. No real idea of exactly how many words that will take for this one.
Well, it’s not going to last long, but I admit fully that it’s fun to see my word count raise up past both Brigid and Lisa’s. Nick the Wonderboy’s word count is clearly out of my range … but what the heck. Had to post now while I could say I’m in second. [grin]
The observant among those few who care will note that I had no Day 11 update. I did manage 2200 words or so, but got caught up in other things while celebrating Lisa’s (the copy editor wife Lisa, not the writer/friend Lisa!) birthday. We saw “Skyfall” and had a brief dinner–then Skyped with Brigid. All-in-all, a nice day. This morning marks the end of me week off, and so it’s off to the salt mines of the real job. The goal now is to keep my word count up in the 800-1,000 range every day in order to make sure I can use 2-3K weekend days to bring the thing home. The story is coming together now. I’m in that middle stage where you just have to kind of slog through it to get to the light at the end, but it’s coming. If I can power through this week and get my third character’s tie-in working, then I think I win.
500+ words so far this AM. Going back in for the last 300 or so now.
Update: 7:10 AM — Finished the morning at 940 words, and with a character who’s gotten a little more mouthy than expected. Must explore this a bit more.
Interim Post (11:14 AM) — My real progress today is better than the 1,000 words I get to claim. What this means is that at present the sum total of my body of work is just over 1,00 words more than it was, but in reality I stripped away probably 1,000 words, and added back 2K. Such is the life of a novel you start from vaporware, eh? Some of what you write just doesn’t work in the end.
In this case, I have three major plot lines moving through the story, and as a result of things I did early this morning I essentially cemented down the first/main line. This is very good. But it meant that work I had done earlier (that I now see is associated with the second plot line) needed to be reconfigured. The good news now is that I have a little smoothing to do, and then both of my main characters on screen at present are going to get into neep that’s deeper than deep.
All total, the 2K for 1K swap is, I think, a great deal. One I’ll make every day of the week.
Back to the sweatshop. With any luck I’ll get this ting to 20K total by the time I hit lunch break.
Update (5:54 PM) - Made it up to 2,167 “new” words for the day. This is in addition to the 1,000 or so I rewrote, so overall it’s been good progress. I also watched Louisville stink up a football game and made a trip to the health club. Note — when I got home I found that the Officially Best Wife in the World had used this great afternoon to wash our cars! It’s off to dinner, and then the grocery. If I get a chance, I may throw a few more words down this evening…or not.
Interim Post — Managed nearly 3200 words so far. The main dude senses things around him might be deeper than what he was originally thinking. Today represents his first full attempt to wrest away some control of his environment. Will it work? Maybe. Maybe not. All I can say for sure is that things are about to get worse. [grin]
Going to take a brief break and get back to it. Looks like I’ll have a record day–at least as far as this book is concerned.
Afternoon Update (5:36 PM) – Picked up another 700 words or so. Would have done better but I got sidetracked by a bunch of YouTube videos featuring Milton Freidman and the ideas behind his book “Free to Choose.” The videos in question are interesting because they are captures of a series of TV shows that start with a 30 minute segment that covers Friedman’s views on a topic, then closes with an open and civil discussion between Friedman and several other thinkers of the day that expose and cover multiple points of view. Whether you agree with his free market views or not, there’s something here for everyone, really. Thought provoking, and actually quite fun to see people with opposing views who can discuss a topic in respectful tones.
All total, I think this is already a record day for me, but I’ll see about stretching up past 4K and maybe getting to 5K later this evening. Depends a bit on (1) whether my brain wraps itself around a solution to the “tiny” problem I’m looking at now, and (2) how I feel after Lisa and I get back from dinner.
Interim post – 12:47 — Just returning for a brief stint after lunch and before working out. This morning went quite well, notching just under 2200 words. This included time spent doing some re-arranging, which is necessary now that I actually think I know what the hell I’m writing. I have more of that to come, too, but such is life when you start out with a truly clean slate on November 1. This morning was mostly about going back and buttressing the storyline and adding more characterization in a few key places. I can really feel the book right now. It seems like I know exactly what ought to be happening in each place–of the first half of it, anyway, which is odd given that I have no actual outline.
Perhaps I’ll create one of those soon–but right now I don’t need it, so pish. Hoping to finish the day well past 3K, perhaps nearing 4K. So I had best get going, eh?
See you soonish with an update.
Evening Update – Crested the 3K level again today (so far?) at 3,090 for the day, bringing the work up to 14,250 total. This means that, for the first time ever, I’m above the projected word count to “finish” before the end of the month. This is good, eh?
We’ll see what happens tonight, but with a little luck I’ll get a few more words down before the end of the day. For now, though, it’s off to dinner with my beloved. Yay!
Interim Post – I admit fully that I’m having a hard time concentrating on the book today, what with all the election stuff and whatnot. But I just laid down about 500 of the most interesting words. I think the world just up and spoke to me.
Not sure where they came from, but there’s not doubt they’re going to lead somewhere. [grin]
I’m going to have to think about this a little … I’ll be back soonish, I’m sure.
Final Update – Officially I ended today at 1,688 words added, which is not as many as I intended. But I’m pretty happy with them–not because they’re great or not great, but because they knocked down what I think is the last major barrier between me and the root of the story. As a result, I now have what is at least my working title “Wakers.” (BIG relief there)
I know I’ve still got at leat two major plot points to work out, but that’s a different problem than understanding the story.
In the big picture I’m at 11,160 total words in these six days, which I think is pretty good, because if you’ve been following me you’ll know that I’ve been working hard not to just chuck words down, but have been dancing around the story itself trying to make sure I finish the month with a full story rather than “just” 50,000 words of stuff. If I’m right about the understanding I’ve gotten this past day or two, you should see my word count jump substantially in the next day or two.
So, we’ll see. [grin]
Interesting day, this election day. It’s fair to say that voting cost me probably 1,200 words–though it trough I probably would have used that hour and a half wait to cut the grass. But I got 2,600 words this morning, and then I got back to it over the past hour and powered down another 550 or so, for a total count today of 3,123 words by the Microsoft word counter.
Aside: I can’t help but notice how word count has changed since I started writing. We used to count by the printer word–which is basically 250 words a page. This was independent of white space (which is often prevalent in dialog, for example). The printer’s word count will tend to expand the count vs. the “actual” count that Word will give. Not sure what it means overall, but for magazines–that generally pay by the word–it reduces the value of stories. Whatever. no one seems to ever use printer’s word counts now, though, and I never hear any writer talking about it, which seems strange, really. We’re usually so nit-picky about anything that affects the money that flows toward writers.
Anyway, my work this evening was useful in that much of the word-count I’m gathering is in pseudo-code, that has really helped me power through a couple plot issues I’ve been worrying about. For example, I now know what’s going to happen with these two main characters I put together this morning, and I know coarsely how the third character is going to interact with the other two. Good deal, eh?
This is also a good portent for tomorrow’s word count because 500 or so words in pseudo-code will probably expand to 3-5,000 words in manuscript. Perhaps more if weird story magic occurs along the way.
So, anyway…I hit my 3K goal again, so I declare it a great day. And, oh, yeah, I must say it’s nice to see my number edge past Brigid’s–even if it’s for only a few moments. [grin]
My 1,800 words or so grew this evening, edging to just over 3,000 for the day mostly on the power of adding character background on the most entrepreneurial of the main characters. I’m happy with this, as I want to get at least 3K a day while I’m off this week.
Things are coming together, and conflicts are growing.
And, perhaps even more important right now, having much fun.
In real life news, my beloved wife convinced me to ride our bikes into town today to have lunch at a local pizza place we both love and that Brigid is considering for a rehearsal event. Yes, it’s November. Yes, it was barely 40-something out. Silly, eh?
But we got a few thousand steps out of it, and the Italian sub was great, and we gathered good info.
By the way, if you’re checking out the word tracker at the right, “purellian” is Brigid, and “nkendall” is her hubby-to-be Nick Kendall. That’s right, both of them are taking the challenge.
Both of them are also, of course, kicking my butt.
Go, guys, go!
And finally, Lisa finished copy editing the first four episodes of the fantasy series I’m intending to release here fairly soon.
When it rains it pours, eh?
Added another 750 words tonight, fleshing out a bit more on the third character and his relationship with his coach–which is really a conduit to his relationship to the world, I guess. More to come there. The character is a runner, which I’m finding interesting to think about.
I’ve come to a firm conclusion about the environment/setting that I may discuss a bit more openly once I’ve actually created some words around it. Total word count via Microsoft’s counter stands at 3,283. I’m expecting to add some velocity in the next day or to, because each decision makes the slope a bit more downhill–for a bit, anyway. [grin]
Listening to: Radio Paradise
Also, my epic reading of “The Count of Monte Cristo” moves into the last 15% of the book.
Good, but tentative progress. I’m up to a not startling 2,543 words total (which means I’ve added about 1500 so far today), but I’ve used those words to explore three of the four main characters of the book. Two of them I have down pretty well, and the third is about half-and-half fleshed in–maybe 75%. The fourth I know I need, but haven’t really addressed yet. I’m also tiptoeing around the central premise of the entire environment that the story is set under, and that will drive its soul in the end.
My guess is that finishing my initial cut at the fourth main character will knock over the final big-picture barrier I’ve got, and then the rest of my problems will be “simple” plot structure. Perhaps then I’ll even have a title, eh? This whole process really reeks of some work I did to prepare for a discussion at the Bartholomew County Writer’s Conference, whereupon (whenupon?) I ran into Stephen King’s commentary that the first draft of any book is really about finding out what that story is really about. I can feel that in my work the past few days. I understand the base environment I’m fiddling with, and I’m slowly hitting on issues that environment causes. And in that process I’m settling on the things this means for each of the four characters.
This is pretty fun for me. It’s like solving a puzzle. It’s consuming that way, really. I could be happy sitting down here in the basement all day playing with the problems I’m creating and seeing how the people I’m thinking about would react to them. This isn’t really work at all. It’s enjoyable to just kind of drop all the other things going on at any one time and just focus on a few words here and there, and think about situations from these people’s points of view.
Anyway, at present I’m feeling pretty good.
I’m calling it a morning, though. I’ll zip off for lunch and a trip to the health club. Perhaps when I get back I’ll be ready to take on Character #4, eh?
Okay, I think I ‘m actually ready to start now.
This month’s novel is truly just that–a novel in a month, all the way from concept to end. I honestly had no idea what I was going to write when I sat down on Monday morning. I started with only a very vague notion that I wanted a book to be set in a world with one particular trait.
I wanted to start something, though, so I threw down almost a thousand words Thursday. Then I spent almost all my Friday writing time falling back and thinking about the path those words were sending me down, and about alternate possibilities. This included writing a couple paragraphs on a second start.
But in the end I’ve decided to pursue my initial “gut instinct” beginning. So this morning I went back, ran over those thousand words and refreshed them a bit. Yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to rewrite if you want to get to the end. It’s advice I’ve given Brigid and Nick before. But I’m not worried about getting wordcount. I’ve done that before–and I’m going to be off work next week, so time should not be an issue. I’m much more worried about getting a full story in the month. Story is, for me, the key.
All seems to be going tin the right direction now. So, we’ll see where we end up, eh?
Off to do some morning chores, and probably a trip to the health club. Perhaps back to it tonight.
BTW — I did join NanoWriMo. What the heck, eh?
BTW#2 — Still waiting for that title. Any time now, okay?
Lisa Silverthorne and I are doing a Novel Dare during NanoWriMo. We were originally going to do a Dre in October, but she got caught up in work issues that pushed it back, and as luck and synchronicity would have it, I got caught in work issues later in October that made this decision work best anyway. Serendipity and all that.
So this morning I sat down and started writing.
I don’t have a title yet. And I didn’t even have a story in mind. I was a proverbial blank slate. Except for one thing … I dug down into a concept that I’ve had playing on the back of my mind for the past few months. And I started typing. The story is SF, and it’s set in the future, and it follows (so far) a guy named Bexie Montgomery as he wakes from a deep sleep. He’s an entrepreneur who paid to be reconstituted in the future, and he’s in for a series of awakenings that are going to shake his foundation.
While I only finished about a thousand words this morning, several things have fallen into place for me and I had a good deal of fun.
We’ll see where it takes me. [grin]
It’s World Series time, and I figure it’s time to celebrate with a special deal!
If you’re into the Tigers or the Giants, I’m sure you figure this is the best time of the year. And if you’re not, we’ll … there’s always the Hot Stove League. I decided that the best way to help folks out would be to run a special on my alternate history/baseball fantasy, “See the PEBA on $25 a Day.”
It’s yours in e-format for just $2.99 (reduced from $4.99) for as long as the series runs.
Got a Kindle? Go to Amazon.com.
Like it in other formats? Well, here’s a path to Smashwords.
Same deal both places. Get ‘em while they last!