Word count and update – 4/2/2017

This past week was the best writing week of the year, by the numbers:

Monday: 679
Tuesday: 767
Wednesday: 0
Thursday: 1149
Friday: 1033
Saturday: 1078

On top of that, March wrapped up on Friday, with a total of just over 15k words for the month. That’s my most productive month ever. It may not be hitting my ideal of 1k/day, six days a week, but it’s definitely moving in the right direction. Here’s what the year looks like so far:

January through March, 2017

You can see that January and February tell a story of writing at fits and starts, but March is more consistent. My goal is to write at a professional level, to write in a way that a traditional publisher would be interested in publishing me; and consistency is the foundation for that.

Finally, some friends and I are doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month. You may have heard about November as National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo); this is a side project to spread the spirit of NaNoWriMo throughout the year. November has a set goal of 50k words in a single month. That’s always been beyond me. But Camp NaNoWriMo lets you set your own goals. Looking back, I wrote about 10k each in January and February. I wrote 15k in March. So for April, I’m setting a goal of 20k. I figure that’s small enough to be realistic, but a big enough jump to be a real challenge for me. Here’s my project page there.

Today is Sunday, which I normally take as a day off. But I have few other plans, so if the mood strikes…

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Word count – 3/20/2017

Today’s word count: 1621, which sounds like a lot, but only 549 of those words were text on the draft. The other 1072 were outlining the rest of the novel. It’s easier to rack up words in outlining, because it’s basically idea-dumping without any need for word-craft.

This is actually pretty exciting. I’ve started the second chapter past the midpoint, and I have a very solid idea about what will happen in each chapter between here and the end of the book. I’m also within a stone’s throw of 60k words, so I’m expecting the final draft to weigh in somewhere around 95k-100k. That’s a little over my target of 85k, but it means I’m at least in the ballpark. 15k words of trimming shouldn’t be too difficult.

Updates – 3/17/2017

Obviously, I’m not good at regular blogging. There are lots of reasons, most of them based in fear, if I’m perfectly honest. It puts a record out there, and I always wish my record was better than it actually is.

But there’s a virtue in facing reality. Which is why I’m tracking my writing habits. And I think the tracking is actually helping. Exhibit B:

January through March, 2017

I’m writing at fits and starts. When I do write, I usually write a solid amount: between 500 and 1000 words, and I’m writing more than 1000 words with increasing frequency. That’s good.

But when I don’t write, well, you can see the gaps in there. So my average words-per-day (including the zero days) peaked at 451 in mid-February, then dipped down and has slowly stabilized around 420. I would love to get that average above 500, but that will take some significant improvement in the writing every day aspect of things. I’m actually proud of the days earlier this week when I wrote less than 500 words: at least I got something written, when my previous inclination was just to give up and take a zero. That’s progress!

By the way, today’s word count: 1246.

I mentioned in my last post that I had a passage I’d like some critique on. I’ll post that a little later today. I’m writing about things I have little personal experience of, so I definitely need some help in giving my imagination a reality check.

Thanks to all of you who are following this blog – sporadic as it is! Knowing I have readers is a huge help for me. I hope that my journey is some kind of help to you, too!

Word count – 2/26-3/3/2017

This was a bad week for blogging, but not such a bad week for writing. Here are the word counts for this week:

Monday: 0
Tuesday: 564
Wednesday: 586
Thursday: 1341
Friday: 1241

Also, I passed the half-way point in my outline this week, so I’m officially half-done with this draft! What’s more, I have a good idea where I’m going throughout the second half, so I’m optimistic about finishing the draft in the next couple months.

I’ll try to post an excerpt tomorrow or Sunday.

Updates – 2/19/2017

Sticks and Feathers, by Ken

So many possibilities intersecting…


My novel follows a couple different major characters – let’s call them the suspect and the investigator, since there’s kind of a mystery-story element to it – and I’ve come to the point where they encounter one another and their plots begin to overlap. That means I need to be exact about the timeline, and of course I discovered that what I’ve written already is simply impossible. A character can’t be in two places at the same time, and I can’t have an event take days for one character to experience while that same event takes only hours for another character. At least, I can’t do it without changing this into an episode of Doctor Who.

So, I’ve been doing timeline work for the past few days. Frustrating, because it’s showing me just how much rewriting I’ll have to do, and also because I’ve added essentially zero words to the draft itself. But it’s important work, even if it doesn’t add to the word count.

I’m making some notes, and I’ll just proceed from the present point in the manuscript as if all the problems are fixed. I’ll get about to actually fixing them when I do a second draft. After all, I have tons of other rewrites I know I’ll need to do. Might as well do them all at the same time. Besides, I also need the psychological boost of completing a full draft of this novel.