December is a crazy month

Holy Palm Tree

This month has not been good for my word count. After having such a successful November, I am now turning out very little in the way of word count. There are a few reasons for it, and the amount of work involved in just the holiday season can’t be ignored. I mean, the holidays are a bitch timewise.

Part of it was a mistake I made. Going backwards from one novel until the previous one is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

I am finding it very hard to write these scenes because in my mind the arc is already complete. I might be distant enough from the story to start editing it… and I need to be connected to it instead.

Next year I am going to plan things out better. I’m going to do my NaNoWriMo novel without being in the middle of another novel.

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NaNoWriMo – A Look Back

A Man on a Misty Road

This isn’t going to be one of those posts I’ve been doing, you know, a few words on NaNoWriMo and my progress. Instead, I’m going to talk about what I learned this time, what I think of NaNoWriMo as a whole, and some general thoughts.

Over the course of NaNoWriMo this year I finished the first draft of my fourth novel. Now, interestingly, I have some changes to make to it, but I don’t think there will be many story edits. I outlined the hell out of it, so I knew exactly what was going to happen in each chapter, what the arcs were, who the characters were going to be at the beginning and who they were going to be at the end. A few things changed during the story, but that was mostly events happening slightly sooner or later. I do mean slightly. The biggest shift was one chapter earlier or later.

This is a far cry from my last successful NaNoWriMo two years ago, where I actually reworked the novel from a single perspective to multiple perspectives, changed the ending to better reflect the characters I had built, and overall made the novel a completely different beast.

So, I guess my first lesson was that being a plotter is good. The writing didn’t lose anything, in fact, I think it gained something.

Most of my edits will be line edits, but there are going to be a lot of line edits. I will need to rework the language, the dialogue, the descriptions. All of that could be much better than it is right now, and it will be.

I’m also in a weird position. The book I just finished is technically a sequel. The first book isn’t written though. I put it on hold because of NaNoWriMo.

I also realised that I like to switch projects – one or two from a series, then move to something else. I can get back to it, and I have lots and lots of stuff planned for the world of the dead series, I have my Nic Styx series planned and I’m totally excited to work on that. I have a lot of stand-alone stuff as well. I’m also thinking about revisiting Spellcraft and Heavy Artillery – I have the planned structure and I’m at about a quarter of the way in. I’m thinking of releasing that as a series of shorter e-books, each one being basically a Novella. That way I can have frequent releases.

These are all thoughts that have come out of the NaNoWriMo process.

Some thoughts on it in general: There are a lot of writers out there, and I don’t know if it’s necessarily great for those of us in the business to have the market flooding with new stuff a few months after November every year. On the other hand, I think having more stories in the world is a good thing and I’m happy about it. I think the number of books for sale and the highly competitive market has more to do with Amazon than it does NaNoWriMo. Also, my first time doing it is what showed me I could finish a project on that scale. I would never have gone down this path without it.

If you are thinking of doing NaNoWriMo I recommend giving it a shot, see what kind of story you have inside you.

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NaNoWriMo Day 27 – Almost There

Snow and Sky

I will wrap up the story today or tomorrow. On day 27 I set up a character who is going to play a big role going forward, although he’s a minor character so far. He’s mostly going to fill in the comic relief role.

My word count was not quite at my goal, but it was still well over the NaNoWriMo target. I think that if I’d managed to hit 2500 words I would definitely be finishing the story today.

See, my main conflict has been resolved, and the only thing left if basically an epilogue where I show the consequences of the victory.

So, my book is less than 75k, but given my habit of underwriting, it’s probably going to be very, very close by the time I finish the edits it needs.

So, a successful NaNoWriMo.

This blog will be back to regular form by Friday of this week. Much longer posts, although I’m thinking of adding a weekly bit of fiction in addition to A Long Walk (especially since A Long Walk won’t be taking up posts for too much longer, it’s complete sometime in January or early February).

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NaNoWriMo Day 26 – So Close Now

This is Just the Beginning

Alright, so I’m almost done. I hit over 3K words yesterday, almost at sixty thousand words. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stretch to seventy-five thousand words, but I might cap out at sixty-five for this book. The problem is I don’t think I have fifteen thousand words left in the story. I know that’s not a huge amount, but it’s not zero.

I’m trying to finish off a large web app as well right now, and that’s probably what’s going to take up my non-writing time for the next few days. The goal is that by end of this week I have the book and the app done!

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NaNoWriMo Day 25 – Christmas Cheer

About to Die.

I’m very much in the home stretch. My primary villain, the one who’s been manipulating things behind the scenes is finally directly confronting Jenny, my heroine. She’s got the tools, the tricks, the knowledge. All she needs to have is the will. This is more of an issue than one would think, since there is a very, very high price to pay to defeat Manakel, and while she paid part of it already, the greater part is still to come. Also, made my word count goal.

Christmas is near, and today was a bad day. I’m having a glass of rum and eggnog as I write, and listening to the most violent and aggressive music I can find. Right now it’s the Butcher Babies. There was a long stretch of Marilyn Manson and Ministry earlier tonight.

So, I’m getting right into my usual cheery Christmas mood early.

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NaNoWriMo Day 24 and Cover Art

A Woman on a RailRoad Track

Nothing very exciting on the NaNoWriMo front. I did more writing. Made my goal plus a few words. Got to an important point in the storyline. The final confrontation will start tomorrow, maybe the next day.

Cover Art. I have a comp for the new cover for A Long Walk, and one for Resource Economies as well. Time to get off my ass and finish the new edition of A Long Walk, finish the edits to Resource Economies. I would like to launch both books very, very soon. Maybe even before Christmas. Now, I’m not sure that’s realistic, but it’s worth a try.

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NaNoWriMo Day 23

A Turtle

Well, I cracked fifty thousand yesterday, and today I was actually a tiny bit short of my count. So, I was under 2500 but was over 1700. Not bad I guess.

More to the point, my endgame is close. I don’t know if I will hit 75000 by the end of the book, but I know I will hit the end of the book before the end of the month.

My story is good. It’s going very much exactly as I want it to, and I think it’s a good first draft so far. Clearly, I will need a second draft, because I always need a second draft, but I think it’s not going to feature a lot of story edits, more lined and detail edits. That’s what comes from doing so much work up front. I will never go back to not doing an outline.

Seriously, if it weren’t for the outline I wouldn’t have even been able to start this book since I’m not finished the last book… The outline meant I knew what happened with enough detail to ensure continuity.

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NaNoWriMo Day 22

Clouds Over Sea

I hit novel length. Fifty thousand words. Still a fair bit of story to go, but it’s a novel officially! So, that’s the fourth piece of writing I’ve gotten to novel length.

The story is near conclusion now as well. A bit to go, but not a whole lot. A tiny bit of setup left to go and then I’m into the endgame, the final confrontation.

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NaNoWriMo Day 21

Capppucino in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.

So, the writing is going well. The story is on pace, and it’s damned good. Horrific. The current chapter deals with swamp dwelling leech children. They look like children but have hundreds of razor sharp teeth and once they dig into you they start drinking your blood. Mind you, I’m not doing a full post today because it’s new chapter day.

I will hit 50k either today or tomorrow (the day this is published on, day 22, not day 21). 50K is slightly beyond my daily writing goal, but on the other hand, I’m trying to up my output a tiny bit to make up for my few missed days.

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NaNoWriMo Day 18, 19, 20. Random Life Stuff

Stairs on Citadel Hill

So, I didn’t update for a few days. I also missed my writing goal two days in a row. Once was my birthday, the 19th… I wrote zero words that day. I did, however, cook a very nice dinner for a large number of people.

The 20th I had to drive my son home and hit a snowstorm. By the time I got back I was exhausted. I tried to write but fell asleep multiple times while at the keyboard. Not like I got zero words, a bit over 1300, but still, not great.

Some random notes on life. My girlfriend gave me Eclipse for my birthday. It’s my favourite game, complex but easy to understand and with amazing replayability. I have the best girlfriend!

I’m losing weight. At my high point, I weighed 208. This morning I weighed in at 189.8. Now, weight isn’t that important, especially compared to things like body fat composition. My body fat percentage is going down too. It’s a bit up and down, of course, but overall the trend is downward.

I’m working on posts for December already. I won’t be doing this realtime stuff that causes me to miss days. It will be advance posts, long-form posts. This blog will get back to form.

Someone won the book. I did a draw on my birthday for a signed copy of A Long Walk. The winner happened, I will be informing them directly.

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