A Little Writing Progress

It’s been a while since I blogged about my writing progress, so here we are. I’ve noticed recently that the busier my life becomes, the more ambitious my writing plans are. For example: start new business this year? Great! Also self-publish for the first time this year? Er, ok. And do NaNoWriMo? Um…

Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I am planning to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, in which I will be writing 50,000 words (actually only 41.67% of my projected novel – yes, I just checked!) in the space of 30 days, but that’s over a month away yet so let’s just forget about that. (Note: I haven’t forgotten. Not at all. I already have reams of planning material, to make sure I’m genuinely ready to start a major novel by then, not just launch into a directionless mess.)

So if we’re forgetting November, what am I currently up to? Another novel, of course! Sort of. Essentially, I decided I want to have a go at posting something to Wattpad, which largely revolves around serial fiction (something I’ve been thinking a lot about ever since I started writing fortnightly for Chronicles of Tyria). Could I have simply chopped up an existing story to post? Of course! Is that what I’m doing? Ask a silly question…

Let you introduce you, then, to my latest progress bar.

Whilst I’m aiming towards a short novel of 60k words overall, I’m planning to break the story into three parts of 20k each (roughly 10 chapters of 2000 words – about what I write for CoT). By the end of October, I want to have that first part complete and ready to post, which means aiming for a word count of 1000 words most days. Not a huge number, or it wouldn’t have been once upon a time, but did I mention that new business? Yeah… It’ll be a good warm up for NaNoWriMo anyway!

So, lovely readers: what are your current writing targets? Are you being as ambitious (read: idiotic) as I am – and are you joining me in the craziness of NaNoWriMo this year?

My NaNoWriMo Week Comes to an End

So, my five days of NaNoWriMo – all I’ve had time for this November – have come to an end. Tomorrow it’s back to work for me, and my writing time goes back to its usual limited self. So, what have I achieved in just five days?

I set out to write 10,000 words, at 2k a day. It was a big task, particularly as my daily word counts have been much lower than that of late. My final total is now in, though. Did I do it?

Yes, I did! I’ll admit, it’s been really quite tough for me to write so many words this week, particularly as I started yesterday with no clear idea of where the plot of my novella was going. Once I’d got that sorted though, it was full steam ahead, to the total you see there.

Will I be writing so much in a week again, any time soon? It’s unlikely, unfortunately. Only otherwise empty days give me the time to write 2k words. However, that 10k has been a great boost to a novella that had been moving very slowly previously, and I’m now confident I’ll be able to finish it before Christmas.

So, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, in whole or – like me – in part: how are you getting on?

My NaNoWriMo Week Progress

I’m now three days into my single week of NaNoWriMo (5 days, 10k words overall, for anyone who missed my last post), and here’s my progress so far:

As you can see, I’m still on target, with just a tiny margin over where I need to be. However, it was markedly more difficult for me to reach my target 2k today – in fact, I only managed about 1800 words. The reason? I’m absolutely stuck on where the novella I’m working on needs to go next. I have about 30k words written, with a target of 50k overall, and whilst I know the plot of the last 10,000 words, the 10k leading up to that is all a bit hazy.

As a result, I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring. I like to have a plan before I start writing, and with 10k words of plot to come up with before I know where I’m going again, things could quickly get messy, or interesting, or both!

My NaNoWriMo Solidarity Week

It’s NaNoWriMo this month, in which thousands of writers aim to write 50,000 words before the end of November. I’ve already said I’m not taking part this year, but as I have this week off work, I thought I’d get involved in a smaller way – hence my ‘solidarity week’.

Here’s the plan: 5 days, 10k words, and, of course, 2k words a day. That’s a bit above what NaNoWriMo-ers typically need to write (which is about 1667 words a day), but it’s a comfortable, yet challenging, pace for me, and will bring me to a nice round number by the end of the week.

I plan to keep updating about my word count throughout the week, so here are my stats as of Tuesday morning, on the project that is so far cryptically named ‘Alyx and the Wheel’ (I actually wrote this post yesterday, so this is just the count for Monday, before Tuesday’s words):

Not a bad start at all, I reckon, so let’s see how the rest of the week goes!

The First 10k Words

I said a couple of posts ago that I’d started a new novel and would try to keep up to date with talking about it here – so here goes. This is my progress so far on the novel known only as ‘Dust’.

That works out as about two weeks’ work, so I’m very happy indeed, as my aim is to write about 5k words a week. As for content: I’ve finished five of the first six chapters (six POVs, one chapter for each character), and have about reached the point where I need to take a step back and work out what’s going to happen next. How long that will take, I don’t know, but this was always the danger when I started writing so soon. I simply don’t know what’s going to happen in the middle of the novel, so I can’t keep writing until I at least work out the next step.

As for the rest of my writing: I’m up to the query/synopsis writing stage with my recently edited novel. I’ve never heard of a writer who actually likes this stage, probably because it both looks easy but is actually remarkably difficult, and because it can mean the difference between your novel been accepted and rejected. No pressure, then.

I’ve also submitted one short story this week and sort of finished another. I say ‘sort of’ because this story became far more complicated and baffling than expected in the process of writing it, and I’m not sure what to do with it next. It’s not a good sign when a story confuses even the writer… But I always used to get the best marks in university essays when I wasn’t entirely sure I understood what I’d written!

How is everyone else’s writing going?

The Ten Day Challenge: Day 8

Time for another word count update on ‘Salt, Smoke, Ash’.

A respectable total, even if it is only going up slowly. I’ve actually finished the first of the three sections that the story is split into, with that coming to only about 1000 words. The central section is also going to be short, with the last piece being the longest. I’m actually starting to think that the first draft is going to be under 5k words – perhaps somewhere in the 3500-4000 range instead. It doesn’t actually matter either way, as I don’t want to just pad out the story to make it needlessly longer.

I’ve also been working on a synopsis for the novel I’m currently working on. The novel isn’t finished by a long way, but writing the synopsis has been extremely useful in working out where the story is going. So useful, in fact, that I’m planning a Writing Life blog post on the topic, to share what I’ve learnt in the process; look for that (hopefully) by the end of the week.

The Ten Day Challenge: Day 7

A week has passed in my write-a-short-story-in-ten-days challenge and my word count is creeping slowly up.

Good things include the fact that I know roughly where the story is going and have worked out the structure of each of the three parts. However, I’m not sure the tripartite structure I decided on is actually a great idea. It’ll perhaps make writing the story easier to begin with, but the parts will probably need breaking up at the editing stage. Still, this challenge is all about getting the words down in the first place and sorting them out later.

Speaking of words, am I happy with the state of the word count? Well, yes and no. It’s a pitiful word count for a whole week. When working on a novel, I like to get around 5-7k words a week down, so just under 2k is terrible. On the other hand, I already knew that I worked on short stories much, much more slowly than I do on novels, so I’m not altogether surprised at the count.

What remains now is to press on and try to reach 5k by the end of the 10 days. I might make it. I might not. I’ll certainly be pushing harder to reach it though, even if I’m left with no editing time. I really want to get this story finished, both because I think there’s a decent idea¬† at the heart of it and just to prove to myself that I can do this.

The Ten Day Challenge: Day 2

Well, I promised I was going to keep the blog updated with the progress of my short story challenge, so here I am, sticking to my word. Yesterday saw nothing but planning and a good deal of it. I chose an idea out of my ‘short stories waiting to be written’ list (yes, I have a list with that title, and one for novels too) and starting doing research. I made notes. Many, many notes. I worked out what the story was going to be about and I even, unusually for me at such an early stage, came up with a title. Yes, the ten day challenge short story is now called ‘Salt, Smoke, Ash’.

Today, I actually found myself going back to the planning stage, as I realised I didn’t know enough about my characters and why they all fitted together. The more I delved into the story, the more connections I found between them – there are always connections, when you know where to look. And if there aren’t, you just have to make them!

Most of my planning out of the way, I finally reached the writing stage. Yes, I actually have the beginnings of my word count for Salt, Smoke, Ash.

It’s a slow start, but it is a start and I’m happy with it. It also makes me think that I might actually manage this ten day thing after all, as I don’t think I’ve ever started writing a short story this quickly after planning it.

On a side note, I noticed today that I’ve started popping up on one or two blogrolls. I’d just like to say how flattered and pleased I am. Thank you! This also makes me realise that I haven’t got round to doing my own blogroll yet, so that’ll be something to work on soon. I’ll be including folks who’ve linked to me alongside the blogs and websites of authors and publishing professionals, namely the ones whose work and blogs I already read and enjoy. Hopefully, I’ll have the first links up by the end of the week and will keep ending to the list over time.

10/05/10 Word Metrics and Reading

It’s been a busy week for me, after spending the weekend before last away from home. I’ve been pressing ahead with a new novel and editing a second, whilst trying to keep up with my reading, so I thought I’d make a quick mention of my progress in both areas.

Words-wise, the new novel stands at 9638 words, and I’ll perhaps hit 10k by the end of the afternoon. It feels like a lot of words when I think about what’s happened so far, but I’m trying to go for a slightly slower, more thoughtful pace this time. Well, that’s my plan. Thinking about it, I’ve actually managed to fit two chases and three fights into those first nine thousand words, so maybe events are moving quicker than I imagine.

Anyway, that brings my yearly total up to a respectable 46579, not bad at all considering I took a month off writing altogether, as I talked about in my last post.

As for the reading, I’m currently about halfway through ‘The Crystal Cave’ by Mary Stewart, which follows the life of Merlin in 5th century Britain. I’ve read it before and am enjoying it as much as always, having decided to reread it because the time period and setting overlaps neatly with what I’m working on at the moment.

I’m also – very slowly – reading ‘2666’ by Robert Bolano. I’ve decided to read each of the five parts with a brief pause between them (I’ll probably go back to it after finishing ‘The Crystal Cave’) and have just finished the first part. So far, I’m not really sure what to think. I don’t particularly like the characters and I’m not even sure I can tell them apart, either in dialogue or in personalities. I’m not sure I can tell what the overall plot arc is about either – is this a book about a German scholar or about murders in a Mexican town? I’m assuming what seem like two unrelated plots at the moment will come together later on, but I suspect I might have to read quite a lot more to find out how.

Word Metrics 11/02/10

No new words today as I had a work meeting this morning and decided to spend the afternoon editing. This post is going to be incredibly quick too. Just long enough, in fact, for this:

I’m really, really close to being a third of the way through the book now, which pleases me immensely. Things have been moving slowly over the last few days, so I’ve decided the characters need to stop talking and start doing things. The last three chapters or so have been interesting to write, but the pace has definitely slowed so it’s time to pick it back up again.

My yearly total, then, stands at 20032. Can you tell I kept writing yesterday until I passed 20k?

Overall, my new writing schedule is really starting to show results. I’ve been setting myself goals every day too, which has really helped – and that’s what I’m going to talk about in my next Writing Life post. Which will be up tomorrow. See you then!