Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Reflections

We already know the bad news: I fell short of my goal, to the tune of 14,000 words. The first draft of TOB is still unfinished, and the revision process that I'm itching to begin must be placed on hold while I play catch-up.

Instead of dwelling on the bummer, let us celebrate the good news that July has brought:

1) After a convalescence worthy of a Victorian novel, I am finally over the virus/flu/plague thing I caught way back in early June.

2) I handled my stumbles much better than I normally do, and continued to make progress rather than giving up entirely when I saw that I was failing to meet my goal.

3) I really have been making the most of this summer, and am enjoying every bit of it.

4) 14,000 words is not that much. I can knock that off in two weeks if I apply a little will power, and then I'd be only half a month behind my original revision schedule.

Not too shabby, all in all.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Week of 500

Still chugging along at 500 words a day. I had thought I might up the daily word count this week, but I am a huge fan of the Olympics and am watching tons of coverage, so I'm just barely managing to eke out 500.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Revised Goal Check-In

I think dropping to 500 words a day was a good move for this week. My focus is shot. I'm getting the words done, but like 50 words at a time. I'm at 5,500 for Act III right now, which leaves me with 17,000 more to go before I can type The End.

I feel like I have a pretty good sense of how the remaining scenes are going to play out, right through the climax. Willa and Akenam are building up to a big fight, so all their interactions are uncomfortably tense right now. Probably another day or two before it all blows up.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goal Revision

That's a polite term for "I've fucked up and am not going to meet my goal, so I'd better change what my goal is."

The weather has been gorgeous here, and we have been getting the most out of summer: swimming, biking, playing on the playground for hours every day, going to fairs and festivals, model rocket launches and rock mines. It's been great, but I haven't had much writing time, and the time I have had I've not used wisely. I got so behind that I would have had to write 1,500 a day to finish the book by the end of the month, and then I just froze. And now I'm just too far behind to finish in 8 more days, and feeling pretty crappy about that.

STOP! I will not let this motherfucking pattern of failure/shame/avoidance defeat me once more! I hereby change my short-term goal to writing 500 words a day every day this week. Two days under my belt so far, so go me. In addition, I will spend my evenings working on preliminary revision work, like the exercises from The Fire in Fiction and all those grids from The Weekend Novelist Rewrites a Novel. I would have started August doing these things anyway, and most of them can be worked on while paying minimal attention to whatever manly-job reality show The Husband is watching on TV. And I will read, and enjoy the Olympics, and buy all The Son's stuff for Kindergarten, and keep wringing every drop from summer.

That's the new plan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

7/18 Check-In

I'm up to 3,005 words in Act III. After all my dithering, I really like how it begins. There's a shift to a new location, and I'm having fun exploring this new place. It's a temple on top of a butte! In a space habitat!

Tomorrow will be challenging-- I'm tutoring in the morning while The Son is at camp, and then I have book club in the evening. Not sure how I'm going to squeeze 1,500 more words out of that day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7/17 Check-In

1,561 words today. Sounds impressive, hm? It's not. I just pasted in the closing scene and edited it. I tried to work on the phase outline, but I'm floundering, unsure of where to begin Act III. I better figure it out real quick, because tomorrow I need 1,500 brand-spankin'-new words.

My newspaper article is written, revised, submitted, and approved, so that should leave me with more brainspace to figure out how a bunch of monks in a butte-top temple can become powerful allies in my heroine's fight to save something she is no longer sure deserves to be saved.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Confession Time

I'm having a poorly-timed motivation dip.

I was buzzing along, seeing the end of Act II on the horizon, when I had an off day, a day during which I was too busy to write during the day and too tired and lazy to write at night. And then I stumbled onto The Moth's storytelling series, and have pretty much spent every spare moment either listening to stories or reading Old Man's War. So now, smack-dab in the middle of the month when I'm supposed to be powering through to the end, I'm behind on word count, other people's stories have pushed my own out of my head, and I'm staring down a newspaper article deadline.


I'm back on the horse today. I wrote over a thousand words and finished part 3: "Mirror". I also got half my article written. Tonight I'm going to review my scene list for Act III and work on a phase outline for the first few scenes.

There are 15 days left in the month, and I have 22,500 more words to write to reach The End. That's 1,500 words a day. NaNo pace, basically. But there's a second confession: I have an ace up my sleeve. Remember waaaaaay back when I decided to try and write the 6 key scenes first? And I fell on my ass after three of them? Well, two of those were what I thought was the climax, and the closing-- at least 5,000 words worth. I've changed my mind about the climax, but the scene I wrote for it back then still pops up near the end of Act III. Both will need to be edited, but it will definitely help the word count situation to be able to cut and paste them in.

Goal for tomorrow is to start part 4-- for now titled "Crown"-- and write at least 1,000 words-- 1,500 if my article doesn't need much editing.

And I think I'd better do a daily goal check-in until I'm back on track. Which means I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Session Three

Summer Session Three-- Kindergarten camp-- started today. For four weeks, I'll have weekday mornings to write. I also have some new SAT tutoring kids starting up, so they'll eat up some of that time, but meeting my word count should be less of the struggle for the rest of the month. Summer Session Two-- two weeks on Cape Cod-- was lovely and wonderful, but The Son can't swim and so I had to keep an eagle eye on him while he was spending half the day crab fishing off the jetty, and I wound up having to do all my writing in the evenings, which is not my favorite time to write. It used to be, but I guess I'm getting old, because now I find I'm sharpest mentally from about 9:00am-2:00pm.

Today I'm trying to get the day's 1,000 words while The Son is at camp, and then I'll make up 500 or so of yesterday's words during his quiet play time.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Goal Check-In

I wrote 6,963 words this week. I am rounding up and considering my goal met!

Today's looking a little grim for making the word count. It's been a long, busy day and I'm exhausted and still feeling bewildered about where to go next in my upcoming Big Moment scene. I should have plenty of time this week to make up any deficit, so I'm not going to make myself miserable over it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Moments

I've reached a Big Moment in the book. End of Act II, plot point 2. The dark moment. I know the big ta-DA! reveal in the scene, but I'm finding the wheres and whens and hows of it daunting. I keep thinking of nice suspense-building twists and turns, but that then causes me to have to revise and re-revise my initial vision of how the scene would play out.

Today was a hectic, coming-back-from-vacation day-- an up at the crack of dawn, 4 hours in the car, 5 loads of laundry kinda day. Not much time or space to daydream about the turmoil engulfing my heroine. Maybe tomorrow I can sit and stare at a tree with a notebook open on my lap, and figure it out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Guys, I am so totally pantsing it right now. It's almost comical. The rest of this draft has been planned and outlined and spun within an inch of its life, and now I'm like, "Holy shit! They just crash-landed in the jungle! And there's a secret air base there! And I have no idea how they get home!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Goals

New month, new goals.

1) 1,000 words a day, for a total of 31,000 for the month.

2) Finish the first draft of The Owl Bearer. I'm at  ~63,000 words so far, and I'm aiming for no more than 90,000 in the finished novel. But I know this draft will come in long-- probably close to 100,000. I could wind up frantically writing 5,000 words on the last day of the month, is what I'm saying.

3) Post here three times a week.

4) If and when I finally kick this virus, get back to healthier eating and regular exercise.