NaNoWriMo (day 3)

As many of you are aware, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  The idea is to write 50,000 words during the month, which equates to 1,667 words a day.  You can read more of the specifics at

Anyway, I was so disappointed last year that I didn’t get involved that I committed I would jump in this time.  This was actually a good thing for me because my writing has been extraordinarily stagnant of late.  You’ll remember I spent some time working on the short story for an anthology, but I haven’t actually written in my main novel in many months.

Well, I started the first day with a measly 750 or so words.  Not my goal.  But at least I started.

Yesterday I wrote over 2000 words and today 2500 or so.  All I can say is, it’s awesome to be writing again.  With as much as I love it you’d think I’d do it all the time.  This little adventure has reminded me just how much I love it.

Today was a big deal for me because I hit the 50,000 word mark on my novel.  That means that by the time this month is over I’ll be right around the 100,000 word mark.  I don’t know how big this book is going to be.  Initially I was thinking that it would end up around 200,000.  But, from a marketing standpoint as an unknown author, that’s a bit overzealous.  So, I’m going to try to finish around 150,000 or maybe even 125,000.  That’s not as long as I’d like it to be, but I also want to be able to sell the dang thing.  So, something has to give.

In any event, below is a screenshot of my NaNoWriMo stats.  These are kind of skewed because the clock rolls over at exactly midnight.  So, if you forget to update your word count before 12:00 a.m. (as I did yesterday), or write more after midnight, it shows up on the following day. This is hard for me because I do almost all my writing late at night.  So, instead of showing a huge day for today, it showed a good day for yesterday  (now since it’s after midnight) and a meager amount for today, putting me technically under budget.  So, the numbers are skewed, but that’s ok.  On the whole, I’m over and have already written more than half my needed amount for tomorrow.  I’ll keep hitting my 1,667 words per day budget every day, though, regardless of whether I went over the day before, because I want to get more than 50,000 words.  my goal is to hit 100,000 total words on the novel which will actually require closer to 58,000 words on the month.  Easily obtainable as long as I maintain my current pace.

So, keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck.  I’d write more but it’s already almost 1:00 a.m., and I have to be up early for court in the morning, so I have to get to sleep.

Until next time!


short story update

You’ll notice the progress bar shows that the first draft of operation sacrifice is now 100% complete.  Sorry I didn’t do a better job of updating that as I went.  And let me tell you.  Writing a short story is MUCH harder than you think.  It’s tough to build a believable setting with relatable characters and a good plot arc all just in a few pages.

Part of the problem is that there was nothing to update for a very long time.  We had several weeks to work on this project, and I am a terrible procrastinator at times.  I knew what my story would be about (or so I thought – see below), and so I took WAY too many nights off.

Well, our self-imposed deadline to post the first draft for critiques was 8/1/11 (aka tomorrow).

By Friday night when I went to bed, I had 1,500 words written of my 10,000+ word short story.  And, to make matters worse, my wife’s brother came to visit from Germany (military), and since we haven’t seen him in several years, we packed up and went over to stay with all the fam.  Not exactly the perfect atmosphere for distraction free writing.

This is the good part.  THIS is why I love writing.

Being at the fam’s actually worked out better than I thought because my wife and kids were occupied with family stuff the entire day, allowing me to hole up in a bedroom upstairs with my trusty netbook and type incessantly.

I started writing the story I had contrived in my head.  Only, certain things that I thought would happen, didn’t happen.  In fact, one path took a 90 degree turn on me, and before I knew it, the story was SO much better.  A twist was there that even I wasn’t expecting.  Believe me, I’m as surprised as you!  That’s what I love.  The story grows and develops on its own.  I’m just the cultivator.  I plant the seed, have a pretty good idea what the plant will look like, but you just never know.

The draft will be posted to my writing group tomorrow for the first round of critiques.  Then it’ll be back to the drawing board for revisions and rewrite.  I already have a small section in mind that I want to include.  Some sections need a little more detail.  Currently, I’m at just over 10,800 words.  I wanted to be closer to 12-13,000.  So, I may have to add a bit.  I don’t know yet whether there will be a second round of edits or not.  I assume so, but we’ll have to play that by ear.

Either way, I’ll let you know more when I know more.

In the meantime, I’ll be busy critiquing several other short stories and then fixing mine when it comes back.  So, I don’t think I’ll have time to get back to my novel yet, but hopefully soon.

The best thing about this project is that it finally got me writing again, and I remembered just how much I love it.

Thanks for reading.

reread (cont’d)

Word Goal:             2500 Words

Words Written:      0 Words

The reread is going fairly well, if a bit slower than I would like.  I just read through some scenes last night that I really liked.  Not because they contained any great action but just for their simplicity and effectiveness at introducing a seemingly unimportant character who actually will become rather involved later.  Often when I’m reading I constantly think that I need to make things better.  Every once in a while I read a scene where it just already feels right.  That’s how this was.

I’ve got a ways to go still to be able to make my goal to have this read by tomorrow night so I can start writing this weekend, but I think it’s still very doable.  I don’t have any early appointments tomorrow, and so I think I’m going to be up late tonight reading.  Actually, I’m looking forward to it.

When you read a book in sections (scenes here and there), it’s very different from reading the book as a whole like you would a novel.  The story really comes a live.  And, it’s letting me see how my writing began to improve as I wrote.  The initial chapters were fun from a story standpoint, but not that well written.  I’m starting to get into the chapters where my writing was starting to become more solid.  Where I was in the groove.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest tonight and tomorrow because I’ve never really gone back and reread these chapters.


I don’t know if any of you noticed, but Brandon Sanderson recently held an Ebay auction for the ability to name a character (i.e., have it named after you) in his upcoming second installment to his Stormlight Archive series.   I previously wrote a post about the first book, The Way of Kings.  You can read it here. Can you imagine?  It actually went for quite a bit of money ($1,825.00), all of which was slated to help the BYU Life the Universe and Everything (LTU&E) symposium held yearly at BYU, Sanderson’s (and my) alma mater.

I think it’s really cool that he did that charity auction to help out the program.

More to come SOON!


Writing Goal:       2500 Words

Words Written:   0 Words (yes, that zero is on purpose)  (no, it’s not a bad thing)

I decided to try something new.  I’ve always tracked my word count (goal v. words written) in a spreadsheet so that I knew how much I was writing and how often.  But, I’ve not really ever shared that before.  I thought that I would start keeping a bit of a writing journal on here both so you know how the work’s progressing and for a little public accountability.  I figure that if I share with you how I’ve met (or miserably failed) my goal, then it’ll help.  Right?

Don’t be discouraged by the big fat zero laughing menacingly above.  It’s not indicative of effort.  I am working.  I’m just not actually writing, yet.  I started to, don’t get me wrong.  But, my book is too lengthy at this point with too much going on to be able to just jump back into writing without a thorough reread.  Too many little plot arcs are surfacing.  Characters are developing.  These are all things I would miss if I just started writing.  I have some good ideas for scenes coming up, but in order to be true to the story and characters, I need to refamiliarize myself with them.  Oh, they’re not gone.  Just sort of like old friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  We’re getting reacquainted rather quickly.  Like riding a bike.  But, I still need to do it.  And, now that we’re talking again, I realize I quite missed them.

At the rate I’m going, I should have my reread complete by the end of this week so that I can start putting pen to paper, metaphorically of course, this weekend.  Then the numbers should start aligning a little better.

This reread is a dangerous thing, though.  You often hear writers say that the most important thing is to just freaking write the first draft.  Don’t get caught in the quagmire of rewriting before it’s finished, or you’ll never make it there.  I’m finding there’s actually a lot of truth to that.  As I read the pages I wrote a long time ago, I’m seeing SO many things that I want to change.  Stylistic problems.  Character traits.  Worldbuilding.  etc.  But, I’m consciously forcing myself NOT to touch them right now.  Once the entire draft is complete, I’ll go back and do it.  By then, I’ll know the entire story and it’ll be easier to fix the earlier problems to make them align.

In any event, I just wanted y’all to know that the work is progressing.

More to come on that front soon.


ps – I know I mentioned this before, but I thought I’d touch on it again.

You all know that I just finished Patrick Rothfuss’ new novels, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.  I’ve raved about them already, more than once, so I’ll try not to do that again here.  But, reading such great novels makes me sit back and wonder what it is that makes a book so good?  Why is his book devoured when so many others languish.  It’s daunting when you think that for every one Rothfuss or Sanderson that there are seemingly infinite nameless writers who get small first publication runs and then their books don’t even make it to your neighborhood bookseller.  Why do some writers take so long to break into the market (Sanderson wrote almost 10 novels before his first was published) when others have HUGE success with their first (J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Mull).  Are they better writers than Sanderson?  Absolutely not.  So what is it?

Luck?  Good timing?  Coincidence?  Pure happenstance?  Divine intervention?  Probably a little bit of all of those, actually.  But, I think the most important thing that all of them had is, well, a book.  So, I’ll finish mine first and then ask the questions later.  🙂