Archive for November, 2011

They say third time is the charm, and it certainly has been for me. As of four o’clock yesterday afternoon, I surpassed fifty thousand words in only twenty-nine days. The story isn’t done just yet – I’m still writing – which is why I haven’t “validated” my win just yet. I want to get more of the story told before hitting the button. But as far as word count is concerned: I’ve now broken all my previous land-speed records.

As of right now, I have 50,824 words written on “Spilled Milk,” a thriller about a man taking on his city with bombs and guns in a frantic bid to get his children released from Child Protective Services. They seized his kids because he insisted on giving them raw milk (his son has an unnamed food allergy), and when FDA agents seized his supply, he fought back with a gun. As a result, the kids were taken out of his home and now he’s trying to get them back. His journey leads him down dark paths where he grows to recognize that just as a man makes choices, so too do his choices make the man.

I don’t know how long the book will be, but I promise it’ll be released once it’s finished and edited. I expect I’ll step aside from it to wrap up Eye of Darkness in December. And, of course, I still have to finish The Tree of Liberty and Topheth (my latest Janelle Becker book). I hope to have all four books for sale before the end of summer, 2012.

Got to get back to work, now!

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Posted: November 22, 2011 in The Writing Life

Well, that was productive. I managed to kick out a little better than 3K words on my overnight this morning. Would’ve been more, but I had to catch up on Terra Nova, and, of course, there’s this whole work thing I had to do (anybody who works for Heritage: please, don’t take this seriously!). Still, I was wa-ay behind as of this morning when I climbed into the van with the family, sans sleep, and headed off to Massachusetts.

After letting the kids watch the first DVD of The Lord of the Rings (again) and taking a little snoozage myself, I took advantage of the ride (I don’t usually get to be a passenger on these trips!) and cranked open the laptop. Downside is that my power cord likes to quit on me at random, and my laptop battery is totally fried – so I have to endure the darn thing crashing from time to time. But the upside is that I killed my word count, and now I’m only scant words away from being totally caught up. 36,114 out of 36,666 needed for the day. Of course, tomorrow is another story, but we’ll see how it goes.

Right now, though, it’s dinner time, and I gotta run.

Posted: November 21, 2011 in The Writing Life

Well, that was a productive night! I’m still wa-ay behind on my NaNo project, but I made serious progress during last night’s overnight. Cranked out 4006 words in a single sitting  and passed the 30k mark. Actually, there were several sittings, with frequent coffee breaks and addressing resident concerns throughout the night, but at least I avoided the temptation of TV and minesweeper!  Okay, so I might’ve played a game of minesweeper, and another of Mahjong Tiles. Sue me. Point is, I’ve gotten closer to being caught up. And since the day’s not over yet, I still have a little more time to crank out some more verbiage. I might even get out another 1,000 words before I have to put it up for the day.

Naturally, we’re going on vacation for Thanksgiving, so we won’t have any time to pack, deliver boy scout popcorn or girl scout cookies, or put the tractor away after today, since we’re leaving pretty much as soon as I get home tomorrow. And finding time to write while with family will be touchy, at best. I’m thinking I might just keep a notepad handy for those few moments I can grab here or there where it won’t look like I’m totally ditching the fam to selfishly indulge my “hobby.”

That’s the one thing about NaNo I don’t quite get. Why do this in November? Why not January, when nothing is happening? Is it because NaJa just doesn’t sound as cool as NaNo? Or is it that the organizers just happened to pick November, and decided to keep it that way because holidays are a fact of life that we all have to work around? That’s probably the case, and I’m being whiny. Thousands of people take the NaNo challenge each year and succeed. This will be the first time I succeed, and just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And yes, I will succeed, because even though I’ve only got another day till we leave for the holiday, it’s still an overnight where I can crank out 4-5K words, and after this I’ve got two more at the end of the month before we reach the 30th. If I can get to 40K by the end of the week, I’ll clear the hurdle with room to spare.

At any rate, I’ve retitled the novel, Spilled Milk. It fits within the same meme as Jefferson’s Road, but the story line really is all its own. It’s less a political dystopian thriller than it is a subversive thriller. Although my anti-hero, Gerrold Smith, does hate the government for its intrusion into his life, he doesn’t have the philosophical education or background that helps motivate someone like Peter Baird. Gerry is just motivated out of a misguided passion for his children. It’s really his grief over his wife’s death that drives him over the edge, though he hasn’t realized it just yet.

I thought up an ending for it this morning. Can’t say that it ends on a high note, but it does feel like a necessary consequence–maybe the only kind that can be genuinely satisfying. I don’t know how long this book will wind up being, but I’m interested enough in seeing it through to the end. I think once it’s done (and edited), I’ll go ahead and release it on Smashwords and Amazon for $.99, but I don’t expect to format it for print. Unless there’s a serious demand for it, that is. I’m not planning on pushing it overmuch though.

All right. ‘Nuff chit-chat. I gotta get back to work!

Posted: November 17, 2011 in The Writing Life

Gaargh! NaNo is killing me this year! I’m sweatin’ to get to 25K words, and already I’m better than 2 days behind. This is honestly quite frustrating. The only hope I have of catching up are my two overnights next week. I’ll have plenty of time Monday and Tuesday to write, given that I don’t have any classes to prep for this week. On the other hand, I’m staring down the barrel of Thanksgiving Day with its requisite travel time, and wondering how on earth I’m going to get far enough ahead to enjoy the holiday without drifting back to the computer (for which crime I’m likely to be shot, stuffed, and served on a platter myself!).

On a positive note, I’ve come up with solutions to two different novels that have been a little hamstrung–though I haven’t had a moment to really do anything with the information because I’m so frickin’ busy trying to get caught up on this NaNo novel.

Then again, this is why I’ve taken up the challenge. I know I need to write more faster, and this is the best way I can think of to get myself to that point. All right. ‘Nuff said. I gotta get back to work. Maybe I can get myself within a day of my target if I crank at it.

Posted: November 14, 2011 in The Writing Life

Sliding into November, and I’ve elected once again this year to try my hand at NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know, this is “National November Writing Month.” It is a marathon attempt to write a 50k word novel in 30 days.

I’m doing all right, I guess. I’ve got better than 20K in so far. A little behind, but I expected that. It’s difficult to write with my schedule on Sundays or even Mondays (though that’ll change now that our homeschool co-op wraps up today). I can make up a lot of time on my Tuesday overnight and into the next day which should get me back on track.

The value of NaNo-ing is the discipline it offers in sitting down and pushing myself through a novel when I’d rather be watching TV, blogging, or wasting time playing Minesweeper. The downside is that it takes time away from works that are already in progress and in desperate need of completion. I toyed around with not doing it for awhile, but then on the first (happened to be a Tuesday), I chose to bite the bullet and come up with something. At any rate, we’ll see how it turns out. I don’t know whether or not I’ll release what I’m working on. It’s being written more for my benefit than for sale – as an exercise in writing more faster. I have no illusions about its quality.

On a side note, for some reason my sales numbers at Amazon have tanked this month. I don’t think I’ve gone this long without a sale since back when I first started. I know this comes in fits and starts, but it’s still unnerving when I don’t see anything coming in for awhile. Sales at Smashwords have remained modest, but steady, so I don’t know what this means. It may just mean that I have to get some more product out there for sale. Hopefully, this NaNo thing will give me the shot in the arm I need.

Oh well. Time to go back to the keyboard and crank out some more content.