• WIP,  Writing

    Writing Report for March 2019

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    Holy word count, Batman! Going back through my records, this was actually my best month for word count ever, and the first time I’ve ever broken 100,000 words in a month. Distant number 2 was January this year at under 82k, and 3rd place was September last year at a touch over 81k. I know I’ve said my goal is progress rather than word count, but wow.

    Accomplishments in March:

    1. Battlefield: complete at 74.4k, but with a lot of dictation cleanup still to be done. Of course, that’s goes along with the previous two novels in the set, so there’s still a lot of work to be done there.
    2. Welkiri Corps: complete at 60,003 words, but only about 60% dictation clean. Only 10k more than I’d been thinking it would finish at, and very briefly, the projected finish date was the same as for Battlefield. Reality was two days after.
    3. Still on the novel front, I started in hard on Big Hair Day. After a little struggling in the first couple of chapters, I think I’ve found the character’s voice, and I’m not stressing over the outline. Currently at 23,285 words with a projection of 46-50,000 in a very bare bones first draft.
    4. And, since I didn’t have any short fiction in my skull screaming to be written at the time, I started in on Fallen Heroes, the third book in the Citizen trilogy, and broke 14k on the weekend working on it as a secondary project.
    5. Editing: all of the Undead stories now resting at final draft, with the last one getting there just a couple of days ago. The cover I’ve envisioned for this one needs some original artwork, and I’m toying with a bit of internal, too. Not releasing for a while, but I’m happy to have the stories complete.
    6. Still editing: finished the final draft of Fractured Unity the night before last, and definitely ahead of the original schedule. Cover design needed there, too, but I’m hoping to Wattpad this awesome work of Star Trek fan fiction in June.
    7. Fan Fiction: the conversion from Audio Drama to first draft prose novel of A Matter of Honour, is about 54% complete. Slow going as this is a “spare moments” conversion that really wasn’t on this year’s list, but I’m hoping to have this one converted before the end of May. Original Series Star Trek, if that surprises you. Or if it doesn’t.
    8. 11 blog posts. A little light again, but I missed a whole week.
    9. 14 journal entries. More here than I expected, as I was originally aiming for a minimum of one per week. Averaging 3 most of the time.

    Total word count for the month of 100,981 which seriously kicks the planned 40k. It was already going to be a solid month when a solo trip to Ottawa with zero side trips gave me a 9k day and an hour’s worth of podcast listening at 2x normal speed.

    I don’t expect to produce at this rate every month. I didn’t expect to produce at this rate this month. The week that borders April and May is a vacation week, and I’m sure I’ll take more time off somewhere. Remembering always that life happens. But even looking at the week and a half I spent on vacation in February, my average month of word production in 2019 is a little over 76k.

    The problem with that, of course, is that I’m generating new words far faster than I can polish most of them. Not a bad problem to have, but still.

    On the indie publishing side, I’ve made some progress here on a bunch of projects. My goal is to get to the point where I’m working about two months ahead.

    1. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” is available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback. Heroic Fantasy novelette.
    2. So is Skip to My Luu. Full-length Science Fiction novel.
    3. Turn the World Around is ready to go and just needs uploading. Science Fiction novella, within visual distance of being a novel.
    4. Cover re-design and upload for “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus”. Ebook slotted for May.
    5. On the fanfic side, “Breath Control”, a ST:TOS fanfic starring Dr. Chapel, is complete on Wattpad or available here.
    6. Also fanfic, “Wolves and Sheep Dogs”, a ST:TOS story starring Lieutenant Leslie, is ready to go and will release in April.

    Next up, primary writing goals for April. I’m going to keep them light

    1. Primary Novel project: 21,000 words on Big Hair Day would make me happy. Having a similar primary novel word count as in March might get me to the end of the plot, and that would make me ecstatic.
    2. Secondary Novel project: see point number 3 in this list, but I’m going to set the word count target here at 5k.
    3. Short Fiction: looking to write two short fiction stories, in the 2-5k range each.
    4. Plotting: Unified Destiny (3rd book in a trilogy) plotted out to the scene level and ready to pick up the first draft right after I draft its predecessor, Converging Destiny.
    5. Plotting: start the plotting of the novel where Curaçao figures as a primary setting.
    6. Editing: I’m going to start on the read-throughs of volumes 2-5 of Troll World, remembering that what’s currently volume two is going to get split at the appropriate point. This is a quarter of a million words in rough (dictation clean up not done) first draft, so I expect this to take a few months. Hoping to devote enough time to cover 50k per month on clean up and note making.
    7. Non-fiction word count goal for the month 10000 words. Blog and journal, mainly.

    Switching over to publishing:

    1. 10 short story submissions. This is going to be a standard target, but I’m going to keep mentioning it to keep myself honest and because I haven’t actually hit it yet this year.
    2. Keeping working on finding a home for Ancient Runes. Traditional publishing, so this goal is going to get repeated a lot, I think.
    3. Serialization continues for “Thorvald’s Wyrd” and Skip to My Luu, continues for “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, and runs completely for “Wolves and Sheepdogs”.
    4. Ebooks for “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus” and “Wolves and Sheepdogs”. I actually could have done both of these last month, and they’re both essentially ready, but while I want to produce steady content, I’m not looking to flood things.
    5. Design and layout for Heroes Inc. (Superhero novel), “Graceland” (linked collection), “Babysitting the Taran-saurus” (SF novelette, and Fractured Unity (ST:TOS fanfic novel).

    The total word goal for the month is about 45k, depending on the length of those two short stories, and the publishing side should be doable. Just keep swimming.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • WIP,  Writing

    Back On Track?

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo I’m starting to feel like I’m back on track with the writing.

    While I’m not back up to the daily output of August to October yet, there’s at least some word count. Some days are pretty solid. Others are lighter. This past weekend, I actually had no words on Saturday, but that was due to a set of all-day seminars in the karate part of my life. Whenever I take all day for something like that, there are other things are left done, so I when come home, there are a whole bunch of chores to do. By the time I was caught up to where I wanted to be, I really had very little energy left, and let myself sink into the couch to watch a movie with my wife and my oldest daughter.

    But otherwise, the word count is on the upslope again. Yes, there are some days where I’m under a thousand, where I choose to listen to something on the way home from work rather than dictate, and the novel progress is suffering a bit that way, but that’s okay, if I think about it a little. I have lots of stuff that needs a lot more editing, and the more time I spend drafting, but further behind I’ll get on the editing side. To stay even, or get ahead, I need a whole more editing time than I’ve been getting, and that’s a lot harder to come by.

    I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but I do four drafts of most things: story dump, fix what’s broken, make it pretty, read it out loud. Actually, technically there is a partial draft in between story dump and fix what’s broken, where I read through the story and make notes so that I can figure out what needs to be fixed. All told, on average, every hour of drafting probably needs about 2 1/2 hours to get through the various editing passes.

    I’m thinking that means I’ll never catch up so long as I am working a regular job five days a week with a commute that lets me dictate. Ah, well. I have a lot of stories I want to tell. Maybe I’ll get most of them out of my head before I die.

    My current process makes more specific use of my commute, as well. The morning commute, or the commute to work, whichever phrasing seems make more sense that day, is about evenly split between a blog or journal entry, and a piece of short fiction. Although, based on where my mind is going with it, the piece of short fiction I’m working on right now is probably a fairly long novella. Evening is dedicated to the current novel project, which is still Palace for another 22,000 words or so.

    In practice, if I’m on the ball for all of both commutes, that’s around 2500 words once it’s been run through the transcriber. Twelve to thirteen hundred in each direction. And that’s a good total for me, even if it is divided among three things. At an average of 22 working days per month, that should usually wind up in excess of 50,000 words each month. And that’s not a bad monthly total. If I can find some evening time and get a couple of hours of work in each day on the weekends, the numbers should only go up from there, right?

    But I really, really need to find some editing time. Lots of it.

    If I could just afford to take a year or two off work…

    Be well, everyoneFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    Writing Report for the two weeks ending 12 August 2018

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherI may do a couple more of these weekly just to help establish the habit, but I think over the longer term monthly is better. It’s a nice way for me to catch up, but I want to get as many words into active projects as possible.

    During my vacation week, I built the basic set of targets, making things concrete-ish beginning August 2nd but not going beyond the end of the week at that point. Since coming home, I’ve fleshed out a real plan on multiple levels (as suggested last week), and thought I’d list what I’ve managed since starting to use the keyboard for its intended purpose (in my view) again.


    1. Finished “Replaceable”, with the first draft coming in at 6,589 words. I’m rather pleased with the result and will probably do the editing job on it sooner rather than later. It uses a difficult theme, but I think builds well to a mostly satisfying ending. ‘Mostly’ because there’s at one aspect of that ending I’d like to make a little more subtle.
    2. Also in the area of short fiction, I added 503 words just yesterday to a story I left hanging a couple of years ago with the unlikely working title of “Space Broccoli”.
    3. I’ve put 10,611 words into Shrine, taking it to 57,628 and with an estimated 18,000 to go it’s going to come in at more than 15,000 words longer than the first draft of Arena. There are some sequences early in the book that can probably be shortened. I have the idea that all four books in the set will be of similar lengths, but I’m not too married to that. The story length for each will be what’s needed.
    4. And speaking of Arena, I’ve done the 3rd draft pass up to the middle of Chapter 10 (quite a long chapter with 4 separate scenes), which puts me about 4k words short of the book’s midpoint by  word count. The third draft is where I make sure that everything says what I want it to say, which I talked about in a more detail last year. (Reference the old post on what each draft means to me).
    5. Completely finished the scene-level plot on 7 Days a King. This isn’t the next long fiction project to go, but I’m glad to have the rough plot done.
    6. 6 blog posts (counting this one)
    7. 4 book reviews
    8. My first journal entry in almost 10 months.

    A total word count of 27,723 or about 5k more than the whole year before this two week period. All in all, I’m pretty happy with that.

    Significant projects on the horizon:

    1. Next Long Fiction: Star Trek: Fractured Unity. I’m a little over 25k words into something that I think will wind up at about 50k.
    2. After that: Bad Teenage Poetry, which is not speculative fiction and takes place in the mid-1980s.
    3. Editing: once Arena has gone through the last two drafts, I’m going back to Hero’s Life, the sequel to Heroes Inc. Fallen Heroes, the third book in the trilogy, has scene level detail plotted and is on the draft schedule for early next year, I hope.
    4. Short Fiction: 10k or so per month in short stories is the target going forward. After “Space Broccoli”, I have four more I specifically want to finish (none of which is more than 800 words in yet) before I dig into the archives or start on any of a variety of new ideas I’ve got.

    And there are other creative pursuits in the offing as well, things that are part of my overall life goals but not necessarily connected direction to my writing goals. As far as the writing goals go, I need to type faster.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    Writing Report for 08 August 2017

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherThere should have been one of these last week, but I guess that will just make this one a little longer. Projects completed:

    • Last week, I finished off the Star Trek Marathon logs, at least the written versions of them. All 53 drafted. A little polishing at a later date and then recording sometime after that.
    • Late this afternoon, I finished the read through on the “final” draft of Scattered on the Wind. Time to find some beta readers for this one, and a couple of other things.

    Which makes the “next 10”, in currently anticipated completion order:

    1. Star Trek Comic Strips
    2. Haiku Selection
    3. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
    4. Shrine 1st Draft
    5. LoC 2 Plot
    6. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch
    7. Fallen Heroes Outline
    8. Palace Plot
    9. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
    10. LoC 2 Outline

    There are a couple of short forms at work here.

    “Star Trek Comic Strips” is actually tentatively titled “Star Trek: The Badly-Drawn Stick-Figure Comic”. I have the rough plots for all of them and have some truly horrible first sketches done for seven or eight strips out of a planned twenty.

    LoC = Lords of Creation, which is the name an adversarial alien species gives to itself in Universal Destiny, something else I need beta readers for.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • NaNoWriMo,  WIP,  Writing

    What I’m Writing: Scattered On the Wind

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherA quick snapshot of works in progress.

    Novel: The Godhead, Book 2

    Short: “Hitching Home, A Ghost Story”

    Year of Trek: “Scotty’s Enterprise”

    Editing: “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus”

    Plotting: Scattered on the Wind

    Too much? Well, it’s not technically everything I have in progress at the moment, but these are the main things and I am trying to limit myself a bit.

    I’ll draw your attention to Scattered on the Wind today. I have, for reasons I don’t understand, decided to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. It’s been a while, and I feel like I need the boost that will come from writing a 50,000 word story in a month.

    Except that I think I’ve rough plotted Scattered to 60,000-ish words. So that means I need to do 2,000 words per day instead of 1,667. Assuming my rough plot is roughly accurate.

    Oh, and I mostly don’t write on weekends these days, so that leaves only 20 days for me to write during Nano, which means I have to average 3,000 words per day.

    Only one conclusion can be drawn from this data: I’m crazy.

    But it’s a good crazy, and I’ll tell you why: it’s important to have a variety of goals, both realistic and unrealistic. Sometimes, you’ll actually hit one of the unrealistic ones and you’ll get to revise what realistic means. That’s what I’m hoping to do.

    For a little story detail, Scattered on the Wind takes place in the nebulous semi-near future where colonies are placed on other worlds with a Gateway. One such seed colony is placed on an apparently quiet, gentle world without a lot of high end predators or things that want to kill people. But strange signs of mental illness start to manifest among some of the colonists, and at the same time they start to find hints that maybe they’re not on the first colonial expedition to the world.

    The primary POV is Jules, a 15-ish year old girl, victim of the colonial program her parents enrolled in when she was a toddler, but having grown up knowing it might happen some day. I’m using bits of behaviour modeled from teenage girls I know to build her character a bit, but not too in depth.

    Because this is a NaNo project, you’re not supposed to do any writing ahead of time (plotting and character sketches and that sort of thing are fine), but there’s a line that keeps sticking in my head, not that I promise it will make it into the final draft unscathed, or at all.

    “Strange that so gentle a world could kill us so quietly and easily.”

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    Note on the Godhead Trilogy

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo the Godhead trilogy that I keep talking about is my primary new fiction project for the year. It’s a fantasy trilogy that I originally plotted out to about 100,000 words per book based on the scenes I originally wanted to include.

    Note the word originally. This story seems to grow in the telling almost every time I start a new scene. The first book had the shortest outline by several thousand words, with an original projected length of 94,500. This was based on previous work, knowing my own writing style well enough to estimates how long I would take to tell each little piece of the story. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Oh, nearly every scene I plotted has fallen within about 500 words of my estimated length either way, but I keep finding things to add. There needs to be a scene here. And there. And in between these two.

    And there are several of those I haven’t written yet, with little notes in the text to myself. Things like, “Somewhere before this scene, we need to see the young prince interacting with the members of the Duke’s court, particularly his twin daughters.” Scenes to be written later.

    As of right now, and writing this I haven’t touched the novel yet today, I’m a little over 85,000 words in. The outline suggests I should be at the 67,000 word mark. Making me 17,000 words heavy, and that’s with probably 8-10,000 words that I specifically haven’t written yet.

    My projection currently suggests the novel will end up in the area of 118-120,000 words, and that’s without those three extra scenes so it could go as high as 130,000, making it the largest single story I’ve ever written by more than 20,000 words.

    It’s worth noting that I have deviated from my outline for book 1, although those deviations mesh back in with the overall story fairly well. The overall narrative is still moving in the direction I want, just not quite on the same line. But that’s okay. Surprises are nice.

    But all of this is a long winded explanation of why I’m probably not going to jump into book 2 right away. I need to think about the ways I’ve expanded book 1 and see if that requires any plot adjustments in books 2 and 3. I haven’t yet decided if that’s going to be a pile of extra short fiction towards The Undead, or if I might plot and write the first book of the Becoming Human trilogy.

    But since I still have 30-40,000 words to write in the first Godhead book, it’s not a decision I have to make right now.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • WIP,  Writing

    The Novelette Project Update

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo when I first conceived of the Novelette Project, sometime late last year, the idea was to write three 10-15,000 word novelettes, all falling into the general bucket of the Fantasy genre, but all of different sub-genres. These would go along with Thorvald’s Wyrd, possibly to build a small collection.

    I had thoughts for three more novelettes when I began, with a fourth idea coming in later, and five is a nice number, so I let myself have that leeway, and I gave myself December to get the bulk of them done. Three times 10,000 words is 30,000 words, which seemed like something I could accomplish in light of the totals I’d smashed out in October and November.

    But something funny happened on the way to the coliseum: I only wrote one novelette. The next two became novellas. The final one is almost certainly going to get there too. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s often a problem I often have when I plot ahead of time instead of as I go along: as I’m writing the story, I fill in gaps that I didn’t realize were there when I made the point form plot or I think of other things that logically follow from things that I did plot. Sometimes these later get removed, but I feel like when I finish the first draft I come in fairly tight to what the story needs. Unlike the “old days” when a second draft might fill in a lot more holes than it does now.

    My real problem is that I feel like I’ve deliberately kept the writing very bare bones for all of them so far. To make the worlds and the action more real might need a fairly significant word bump in a couple of cases. We’ll see what happens when I get to the editing phase. I haven’t actually finished the last one yet and I’m actually supposed to be getting ready to do the second pass edit on Universal Destiny, but that’s another story.

    But, for those curious, here’s a tiny bit of detail on the novelettes that make up the project.

    Thorvald’s Wyrd – Heroic fantasy borrowing heavily from Norse mythology, an Ice Giant sorcerer kidnaps the goddess of the sun. Originally projected as 100 scenes each 100 words long, the final version came to 129 scenes with nothing else I could comfortably remove. (This is the novelette that started me down this path. I actually wrote and edited it between late 2010 and very early 2011, serialized it on my blog, and got some great feedback on the story. After a recent reread with an eye towards publication, I thought it needed company.)

    Trollsign – A little of my own riffing in the urban fantasy subgenre, following a trail that begins with a bizarre murder in a casino. There is a hint in the title. Estimated at 10,000 words originally, the first draft comes in at 12,536 and will probably grow by less than 1k on subsequent drafts as I flesh things out.

    Last of the Sorcerer-Kings – Sword and Sorcery, two centuries after the collected armies of the south overthrew an empire ruled by sorcerers, not everyone has forgotten. I plotted this one at a generous 15,000 words and ended up writing 21,465. There’s a significant sequence I want to change in the middle that will likely lose a couple of thousand words, but the rest of the story will gain in description and descriptive action. Not sure where it will wind up.

    A Gathering of Heroes – An epic fantasy story again plotted at 15,000 words, but winding up being the longest of the group at 22,031. A group of aging heroes get together to finish off the last quest of their youth, the one that never made it into the songs. This one needs the most work on subsequent drafts. There are big holes in the story where I had to move things along, and half a dozen characters that are barely used so should either find some use or be rolled into existing characters. If I pick the first option, this is going to go much deeper into novella territory and maybe wind up as a short novel.

    Company of the Dead – I’m not really sure what subgenre bucket this one goes into. A necromancer raises a small army of undead super-humans in hopes of turning the tide in a war his kingdom is losing. My estimate on this one actually had a range of 12-15k depending on how certain scenes went, but I’m just above 15,000 now with the climax and denouement still to write. Probably another 3,000 words.

    And here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m done after Company of the Dead. There are a lot of other subgenres and blendings I want to explore and the novelette to novella length seems to be a great range to play in for me. Trying to figure out if I want to try Steampunk, Superheroes, or Comedic Fantasy next.

    Open to suggestions, and not terribly worried about how it will impact my other writing plans for the year. Everything is fluid.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    Not As According to Plan As I’d Like

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherWriting is a very strange business sometimes. Actually, writing is a very strange business all of the time, but I have something specific in mind at the moment.

    When I try plotting something, or even just figuring it out in my head, I usually have a decent idea of the wordage something will take, at least at the scene level. I can think about what’s supposed to happen in a scene and guess roughly how long it will take. The first draft will usually wind up somewhere in the ball park. If I estimate a scene at 2500 words, it will almost certainly break 2000 and probably won’t reach 3000. There are certainly times I’m wrong, where I run out of things to say before I get near the estimate, or go on a little long on a subject or action, but I’m usually pretty close. A couple of hundred words either way is normal, and in novels I like most of my scenes in the 2-3k range, with some variety for pacing, so I build things that way.

    Except in my current novel project, I’ve had a couple of chapters run away from me and have to do a lot of typing to catch up.

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it plays hell with my projections.

    You see, I have the novel plotted out at the scene level, and my estimates total 95,000 words. A nice length, and the estimates are only estimates. I usually wind up running 5-7% long, so expect to break 100k, but not by too much.

    Right now, if everything else in the book comes in around my target, plus that 5-7%, I’ll scrape up against 106k, which is a little longer than I wanted, but probably not enough to seriously jeapordize my plan. If I keep trending the way I am now, with one chapter in six demanding far more wordage than I’ve anticipated because more things need to happen, I’m looking at 117-120k. This isn’t a bad thing for the story, even if it requires some adjustments in later drafts, but it throws my writing year out of whack and shakes the longer term plan.


    Because I planned to draft a 95,000 word novel in three months, and I’m off that pace by several thousand words. 120K is going to take me four months. If the other two books in the trilogy wind up the same way, I’m going to have a tough time getting to the fourth book I’d planned for this year.

    Which is okay. The deadlines and goals I’ve set are all artificial and don’t affect anything but me, and the plan is adjustable to whatever degree I want it to be. I just really wanted to see if I could draft four books this year in the 80-95k range. That would have been awesome.

    Of course, a 360,000 word trilogy in one year would be pretty awesome, too. Maybe I’m just worrying too much. The plan is just a plan, and I do love to reforecast.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    I Should Have Killed the Shepherd

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherIn the novelette I’m currently working on, “Last of the Sorcerer Kings”, there’s a scene where one of the two POV characters comes across the results of the killer he’s chasing entertaining himself. In the raw outline, I just listed it as “The Shepherd Scene”.

    The idea was for the hero to further his resolve to catch the bastard who can do stuff like this to other people.

    When I got there, I realized I’d already hardened his resolve based on hints dropped about events before the story began. I also saw it as a way for the other POV character to impress the hero and develop her as a more complete person.

    So the shepherd lived, at least until the heroes arrived, and the murderer left him and his wolfhound both with wounds designed to stretch their deaths out over days or make them too weak to defend themselves against wolves. And to further increase the shepherd’ suffering, the killer did cruel things to his flock, making the sheep easy prey for the local wolves.

    But here’s the thing. My original outline had the story hitting about 15,000 words, getting long for a novelette. Letting the shepherd live probably doubled the length of the discovery scene and added two more scenes to the story that weren’t in the original outline. I’m now just finished the 7th scene of 18, where I should be done the 5th of 16, and I’m worried the pacing is way off.

    It works, I think, but now I’m pretty sure to break into short novella territory, and I think I’ll be able to see 20k from where I finish. Not a bad thing on its own, but disrupts the plan a little bit. Plus, even though my word count is tracking well, it’s going to throw my overall pace for this project off by a couple of days.

    I should have killed the shepherd. I might still change my mind.

    And yet, if it serves the story and the characters better, and doesn’t blow the pacing, why shouldn’t the shepherd live?Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • WIP,  Writing

    November Numbers

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherWriting Report, November 2013

    Keeping myself honest, and not because I expect many people will read this, it’s time for the first of the month writing update to cover the previous month. In this case, November 2013.

    I won’t go into the “productivity” experiment parameters again other than as they match up with the goals I reached or didn’t for November. Again, there are numbers involved, so if that bores you, skip ahead to the end.

    First, a quick reminder of the parameters of the writing experiment:

    • Limited, but daily when possible, social networking, mostly over breakfast. (I’m semi-failing at this. FB has done well enough from me, but only on a personal level, and I’ve probably only been on Twitter about half the days this month. More on that another day.)
    • Podcast listening cut in half, so that I can use at least one leg of my commute for dictation. (This is actually how I’m doing a lot of the first draft on my current WIP. It’s messy but fairly fast. The second draft will need more cleaning than usual.)
    • More of everything on my days off and especially when I’m on night-shift rotations. (And I’m almost ¾ of the way through a 4-week round of nights right now.)

    First, the hard targets, along with what I actually achieved.




    Manifest Destiny (SF novel)



    Short Fiction



    Godhead, Book 2 plotting



    Ancient Runes, Final Draft





    Breaking things out a bit more,

    1. Manifest Destiny is complete at 61,034 words and I wrote the last 3,223 in a sprint on the 26th after finishing the final draft of Ancient Runes the day before, and not doing anything creative for two days before that because I was sick.
    2. I met the short fiction goal only because I finished Manifest Destiny so early. Two trips out of town, illness, and several unexpected events left me putting in only a little more than half the time I should have on the short fiction front.
    3. The Godhead plotting has gone really well, and I’m starting December with 5 scenes plotted and about ¾ of the rest with ideas in mind.
    4. The last ¼ of the Ancient Runes final draft happened in one afternoon lying in bed, not so much reading aloud as whispering since I had no real voice at the time.
    5. And I seem to have difficulty getting much writing done when I’m working day shift with my days off actually falling on weekends. Family time and stuff around the house. So be it. I’ll live with a lower word count when that happens.

    Overall, I’m very pleased.

    Overall word production:







    Blog Posts





    Which comes to a grand total of 58,358 words for the month. A few thousand lighter than October, but still not too shabby. I debate all the time whether it’s fair to count editing or if there should be some kind of formula that works out actual change rather than net change. I’ve had editing sessions where I work three 4 or 5,000 words and have a net change in single digits even though I’ve made heavy modifications. An argument for another day.


    1. Even boosting the goals, I did pretty well and hit them all.
    2. I finished the first draft of a short novel in less than two months. This lends me hope that I can manage a 90k word novel in three months, and I’ll be putting that to the test beginning New Years’ Day. It can be done.
    3. I have this idea about the TWD (Theoretical Writing Day) Count, but I’ll cover that in another post because this one is already stretching out.

    Again, because I derive great joy from planning things, I’ve re-forecasted the test period, counting October and November as complete. Actually, there wasn’t a lot of joy because I changed exactly one thing. Since I’m not going to be editing Ancient Runes in December (because it’s “done”), I’m going to polish some short fiction instead.

    So the revised forecast to the middle of 2014 looks like this:


    Plotting/Other Drafting Editing


    Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Graceland


    Godhead Trilogy, plotting Manifest Destiny Ancient Runes


    Godhead Trilogy, plotting Novelette x 3 Short Fiction Cleanup


    Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny


    Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny


    Short Fiction Cleanup Godhead 1 Manifest Destiny


    Becoming Alien, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes


    Becoming Human, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes


    Bringing Peace, plotting Godhead 2 Novelettes


    I’ve talked about the novelettes project in a previous post (here), but I’m already worried about staying inside the word count estimates. The first one is going strong, and I feel like, 4,300 words in, it’s probably going to hover at about a 12k first draft. But I’ve started the second one, too, and 1,800 words in I’m only half way through the second of fourteen planned scenes. I’m pretty sure this one is going to break the theoretical maximum of 15,000.

    I have made some revisions to the 5-Year Plan, but mainly in the short fiction category, devoting a lot of my planned new short fiction time to a series of themed projects, the first one being an exploration of the Undead beyond (but including) zombies and vampires. And the second a collection of speculative stories focused around emotions. Probably. I keep flip flopping on which of those I’m going to dive into first. Right now, the Undead are winning, but not by much. I’ll commit to one at the end of December to start in January.

    Two months don’t make a trend, either, but they connect into a straight line with a good benchmark. Let’s see how December goes.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather