Who Says Outlining Stifles Creativity?

Last night I was writing a section in my WIP where, while riding in a carriage, the female characters engage in exposition as dialogue. Things are getting a little heated when the carriage stops – there is an obstruction in the road. Classic highwayman technique. The driver gets out to let the ladies know what’s happening when he gets shot with an arrow, turns, draws his sword and is slain by two more arrows.

As it turns out, it’s a character known to the ladies who does the killing. Evidently, according to this character, this is a plan to abduct or kill the occupants of the carriage. What no one knows yet, and probably won’t for several dozens of thousands of words, is that this character staged the entire false-attack event to get in the good graces of one of the ladies. There is no plot.

The best part about this? This isn’t in my very detailed outline. The journey in the carriage from point A to point B most assuredly is, but this bit with the arrows and blood and death and all just popped into my head as I was writing.

Just goes to show you that knowing where you started and where you’re going to end up doesn’t necessarily mean you know what’s around the next bend.

Be safe and be well.

#NaNoWriMo Week 1 Update

Just a quick after-the-patriots-before-the-pizza-arrives update on my NaNoWriMo Week 1 progress.

Billy, show ’em the chart:

Nano15 Week 1

As you can see, I’m a bit behind the curve and I know why. I violated one of my rules and did not use the Pomodoro timer at all until yesterday (the word count spike). The new words from today are in week two.

I find my lack of Pomodoro disturbing.

A mistake I shan’t make again.

I hope you’re doing better than I am.  Until next time…

Be safe and be well.

NaNoWriMo Productivity

NaNoWriMo Productivity

It’s only a few days until NaNoWriMo starts again so I thought I might give you a little bit of encouragement in your attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. What most people don’t understand is that writing the 1667 words you’ll need to write every day is not as difficult as it seems. As a matter of fact it’s as easy as writing a blog post every day.
If you’re in the habit of blogging on a regular basis, and some of you are, then you already have the discipline to write at the “blistering pace” needed to reach the goal. Many other authors, all of far more successful than I am (or probably never will be), will tell you that 50,000 words in a single month is standard for a full-time writer who makes his living from the printed word.
For the purposes of this exercise, and to help you understand that it is very much within your ability to “win” NaNoWriMo, we’re going to take the very blog post you’re reading. Continue reading

Novel Months

This is my first post-by-phone, so if KitKat decides to autocorrect something out of context or insert a random emoji, you’ll know why. 🙂
So in my last post I discovered that I’m, at his stage of my writing career, more interested (or capable) of writing novellas of about 20K words than I am of whacking away at a single novel length manuscript.
To that end, I will be producing these novellas as standalone, complete episodes within a serial story arc.
Think Veronica Mars, the eBook.
Not that the story mimics VM, but the structure might have similarities. This won’t be like House, where the whole story, with slight nods to exterior continuity, is summed up and complete between the credits.
Nor will it be like Lost, a continuing serial story that just runs out of time at 59 minutes, to be continued next week.
Let’s have a few stories that have a beginning, middle and end (or possibly *gasp* five acts), and are microcosms of the entire work, itself with a beginning, middle and end.
How about 9 of them?
Three episodes of about 20K words (available independently at 99¢), combined into a larger ‘Part One’ of about 60K words (about 200 pages) done three times for a trilogy of about 600 combined pages.
Bah! Artists don’t write to word count!
Perhaps not, but professional writers do.
I’m a storyteller and a publisher, not an artist. There is art to writing, no doubt, but I’ll take your filthy lucre if those artists over yonder don’t want to taint their art with it. I don’t even think ‘author’ has the same meaning anymore.
But whatever.
What I’m trying to say is that in the next 3 months, starting in September, look for about 20 new products from me, of various lengths and combination.
And yes, I just called my books (my babies, my art) a product. Because that’s what publishers do; they sell products, and I’m wearing my publisher’s hat, not my writer’s cap.

Be safe and be well.

My Fifteen-Thousand-Word Day

Below is the chronicle of what I did yesterday, followed by observations on an epiphany.

6:30 AM : Setting things up to begin at 7:00. I’ll be writing for the next 8 hours, maybe 10, with occasional feeding and watering. Plus I have to drive my son to work.

7:00 AM : It begins.

Cumulative Word Counts:

Hour 1 7-8:    1625 (1625)
Hour 2 8-9:    3692 (2067)
Hour 3 9-10:  5791 (2099)
Hour 4 10-11: 7754 (1963)
Hour 5 11-12: 9732 (1978)
Hour 6 12-1:   12762 (3030)
Hour 7 1-2:     12762 (0 – lunch break)
Hour 8 2-3:     13496 (734)
Hour 9 3-4:     15505 (2009)

So, in the last nine hours, I did eight hours of writing, taking a 10-15 minute break every hour.
My average is 1938 words per hour, though I admit I lost focus in hour 8 (the 7th hour of writing).
My best output was hour 6, 3030 words in that hour or 50.5 words per minute. Considering I took a small break in each hour, the Words-Per-Minute are a little higher.

Continue reading

Recharging

Yet another step in the process of transmogrifying from an ‘aspiring author’ to an ‘Honest to God, LOOK I WROTE A BOOK – BUY IT NOW DAMN YOU author’.

So here’s that graph I promised for February:

Word counts

Wordcount graph
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I’ve taken a step back from the writing for a bit of a recharge.  BTW this first draft is NOT the first draft i was talking about in this post. That one’s in the drawer, getting some of that ‘distance’ they speak of.  You know, write it, then put it away for a bit?  Yeah, that’s it. Totally unrelated bit of fiction of the animal fantasy sort.  Not ‘Incredible Journey’ or ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Watership Down’, just me thinking about the life of some of the furries I see in the backyard.

Got well above 3K words a couple of times, but it took me most of the day to do it.  Not that it took so many hours to write that many words, but it was the weekend and I still have the day job, so I had other things to do as well.  But I did crack 3,000 words, so that’s a new record.

Yeah, I know. High output, and then? Nothing. For. Days.

Got a lot of snow, and I’ll tell you it’s taken a lot out of me.  I’m not as young as I used to be.  Hopefully I’ll get this finished, edited, cleaned up, and covered with enough time to make snow blower money by November.

Gahh… I’d hate to stay in that damn office for another 8 months, but if that’s what I gotta do, that’s what I gotta.

So, the snow/tired/stuck thing (which accounts for that string of ‘nothing written’) is about over, I got some of that Act 0 stuff done, and I’ve only got two or three more scenes/chapters/whatevers to finish, then I can call it a draft and work on the prequel novella.

I’m thinking I’ll have a free intro novella for the few years of Act 0. I suppose the back story for the novella would be Act -1🙂 Sure, whatever. I think the novella would be a nice free or 99 cent intro to the series.  Who knows? But that’s a marketing thing, and I have nothing to market so I won’t think about that yet.  Carts and horses and all that.

So, there’s the graph I promised, and an update.  w00t.

Be safe and be well.