A Novel in 4 Days – Day #3 — The End!

Today is day three of my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words) and the results of Day #1 can be found HERE and Day #2 HERE.

On Day #2, I hadn’t hit my goal. I only wrote 8200 words with a goal of 10,000. I was approaching the book’s climax and I got stuck. A little case of writer’s block. I put the story away and talked through my road blocks with my husband and daughter. Between the three of us, we came up with a few ideas on how to twist the story around.

Then yesterday, I had to work at the zoo, so I took the day off from writing. A little recovery time. 🙂

This morning, I was full-force back into it. Cranking out nearly 6000 words today before I picked my kids up from school…but then the story all came together and I wrote two special little words:

The End.

It’s a short first draft, as when I throw down a lot of words in one day the result is like a skeleton. Mostly dialogue, no description, pretty bad writing.

But now the fun begins — editing! Fleshing out my first draft into an actual story I can send off to beta readers.

Honestly, that part takes the most time for me. It’s when the real writing gets done.

Ernest Hemingway had said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” Time and time again, I prove this to be true.

So, how many words have I written this week so far?

  • Day 1: 10,157 words
  • Day 2: 8,201 words
  • Day 3: 5,798 words
  • Total: 24,156 words (bringing my novel up to 48,319 words.)

And I know when I’m done editing, it’ll be at least 60,000 words…or a lot more. Even though I wrote “The End,” I’ll still post how the editing goes tomorrow.

My take-home thoughts:

  • I am completely capable of writing 10,000 words in a day! I was skeptical of this, and it’s a great confidence booster to know your capabilities. (But writing 5000 words is much more manageable for life-balance, as I learned today.)
  • A break between major writing days is helpful for plotting when you’re stuck and for the little things…like telling your family you love them.
  • To write this fast, you need to have your major plot points already created. If you get stuck, you come to a screeching halt.
  • I discovered that I work best off a rough outline of plot points, rather than a detailed outline.

So, what will I try with my next novel?

  • Pick four days per month to write 5000 words.
  • Edit on days in between, so there’s not this daunting task of fixing an entire novel at the end.
  • Just get the thing done. Once the plot is down on paper, publishing the novel is so much closer.

And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining in and all the encouragement. It’s amazing how I can not meet my exact goals, yet feel so accomplished anyway.

How about you? Do you write a little each day or have big writing days where you compose thousands of words?

A Novel in 4 Days – Day #2 — Urgh!

Today is day two of my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words) and the results of Day #1 can be found HERE.

Day #1 had gone fantastic. I frantically typed 10,000 words with no hiccups at all. They flowed, scene to scene, chapter to chapter.

Now, we’re ending Day #2…and I’m calling it quits at 8201 words. I just can’t write anymore. Not because I’m exhausted or sick of it, but because I hit a huge wall. Writer’s block.

Urgh!

I even saw it coming, but the characters wanted to do something completely different than what I had planned for them…and I wrote myself into a corner.

Luckily, I have a day “off” tomorrow where I can step back and do a little more planning before returning to the project on Thursday. (Okay, I don’t have it off — I have to work at the zoo.)

So, the detailed play-by-play:

  • 5AM – Started strong, writing 1828 words by 6:30AM
  • 8AM – Wrote another 1838 words by 9:30AM. I even made breakfast for my husband and I. When I was done, I squeezed in that nap, since I had been up since 3:30AM for no reason at all.
  • 11AM – Wrote 2022 words, but I was starting to slow down. It took me 2&1/2 hours to get those words down.
  • 2PM – Wrote 2033 words off and on between getting the kids and losing track of where the story was going. Again, it took me 2&1/2 hours to hit that word count.
  • 5PM – Here’s where I flopped. I just couldn’t get the story to work out. I even skipped ahead and it still didn’t flow. I decided to go out to dinner and give it a rest. We’ll do some plotting tomorrow and play catch-up on Thursday.
  • Total today: 8211 words. Current word count of novel: 42,852 words. Bright side: The end is in sight.

Lesson learned: Taking a break between major writing days to plot and ensure you’re on track may be good. I know I need one.

Only 2 more days to go! I hit the half-way point. 🙂

A Novel in 4 Days – Day #1!

Today I started my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words.)

As I stated in the first blog post, I’m not writing an entire novel in 4 days (even though, by some definition 40K is a full novel), but I’m finishing my novel that had about 20K written, adding another 40K to equal 60K. That’s about all I do for a first draft because in all my edits, the thing becomes bigger and bigger. This one will weigh in at about 85K when I’m done.

So, how did day 1 go?

Awesome.

Need I say more?

(No, but I will anyway. 😊 )

I broke up my 10,000 word goal into smaller steps that I knew I could accomplish.

So, my plan and goals were the following:

  • 5AM: I wake up early, so thought I could pound out about 1000 words while sipping on my cup of coffee.
  • 8AM: After the kids are dropped off at school, I wanted to sit down and put 2000 words down on paper.
  • 11AM: While my lunch was in the oven, I thought I’d write another 2000 words.
  • 2PM: Again, 2000 words (one chapter) down on paper…or rather eInk.
  • 5PM: A final chunk of 2000 words today…then just a little more to hit the goal.
  • 7PM: Finish the day with a short 1000 words. This should be easy compared to the rest of the day.

And how did it go?

  • 5AM – Goal of 1000 words – DONE! 1079 Words.
  • 8AM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2071 Words (by 9:21AM – then I took a 30 minute nap.)
  • 11AM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2415 Words (by 1:25PM – but I stalled and ate lunch and worked with my cover designer.)
  • 2PM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2149 Words (started early (1PM) because I needed to pick the kids up by 2:50PM.)
  • 5PM – Goal of 2000 words – ALMOST! 1421 Words (Started early 3:30 – Kids came home. Much harder to write with distractions…then my husband came home, too.)
  • 7PM – Goal of 1000 words – DONE! 1022 words. Started at 6PM and now it’s 7PM and it’s finished & I’m writing this blog post (ha! Another 500 words.)
  • Total today: 10156 words. Exceeded goal! Current word count of novel: 34655 words.

And the best part? Something I didn’t expect?

Once I get writing, the story is all there in my head and the words flow. Each scene lines up like little toy soldiers, waiting for me to knock them down, one by one.

Also, with spreading the goals out like this gave me time to be domestic. Do dishes, pick the kids up, take my daughter to swimming, and go to the house my husband is rehabbing and give him some moral support.

Only 3 more days to go! I can’t wait to share with you how tomorrow goes.

Magic in the World Around Us

Since I write speculative fiction, I’m always dreaming up some magical world or a world where science is pushed a little beyond it’s current limits. Sometimes while I’m thinking up superheros, angels, and human clones, I get detached from the real world and forget the magical things that surround me — in real life!

For example:

This past summer, I changed my branding to have the northern lights in the background. This phenomenon makes me wonder where science and magic come together.

Joynell Schultz (1)

Stare into the night sky. How is it possible that the galaxy goes on forever? Each of those stars is the equivalent of our sun…and is there other life out there? The concept alone is magical…not to mention how many stars are in the sky.

night sky

The bumble bee. Really, any animal in flight impresses me, but just look at the aerodynamics of this little creature. I think I read somewhere that by pure physics, their flight shouldn’t be possible.

Bee

A simple light bulb. It’s more of the electricity it represents. How is it possible for these little electrons to flow through wiring and do so much for us? And when you’re not using it, it sits in the wires, waiting.

Light Bulb

Okay, okay. You’re telling me none of this is magic — it’s science, but I think science is pretty cool. We humans only know a tiny fraction about what surrounds us. Even the human brain is amazing and not understood. To me, it’s magical…

As I thought more and more about this topic, I asked my newsletter subscribers what they find magical and a little different perspective was neat to hear. Here is what they had to say.

Serendipitous coincidences!  If you read about a coincidence in a book, it seems contrived, darn it!  But in real life, they usually spell love or a new job or something delicious.”

A word is so much more than just the combination of its letters (it has a meaning, which might be quite powerful) and a book (or any text that makes sense; it might just be a “simple” question) is more than all its individual words (I knew all the words before, but when you combine them, you are creating something new). Of course, some words and some books are more magical to me, but the idea that you can create all that (a powerful tool, which can change those who read it) with just the right combination of letters (just a finite set of characters, already known to all)… That’s magic!”

The beginning of life, both the emergence of life on earth in the distant past and the beginning of a new life in the present. Suddenly, something or someone is there that wasn’t there before. Magic!”

So, I’d love to hear.

What do you find magical in the world around you?

Simply post in the comments below.

Do You Give Your Book (1)

 

Where have I been?

Has anyone noticed I’ve been MIA?

No, I haven’t given up. Actually, I can’t wait to post my next 1000 True Fans post, as my mailing list is now over 10,000 subscribers…BUT my time has been limited.

Why?

Oh, let me tell you…

On June 28th, my father had a large tree limb randomly fall on him while he was walking through his zoo. He’s getting better now, but had to spend two weeks in the ICU while his skull fracture healed.

Those of you that have read my bio know my parents own a zoo. They work sun-up to sun-down seven days per week on their business. They love bringing a smile to visitor’s faces…just like why I write.

Well, with my dad out of commission and my mom having to care for him, that left the zoo needing management. My brother (who just graduated medical school) and I came rushing home to help with my dad and the animals.

Life’s been crazy. There’s always some emergency. From the Syrian brown bears getting crabby to a baby arctic fox needing ice blocks to handle some hot summer days. (Yes, we get them here in Wisconsin.)

Now, my parents are thinking of backing off a little and are wondering if my brother and I want to take over the zoo.

What an interesting life decision facing me and my family. We’ve decided to give it a try. All I know is it’s hard work, but quite rewarding as well. 

With all this, I haven’t done much new writing. I haven’t even blogged! Honestly, the little free time I have had has been spent trying to meet deadlines for projects I have in the works: The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives, Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey, Witch or Treat: Multi-Author Halloween Anthology, and a Twelve Days of Christmas Anthology.

Once we move (which we are in the process of right now) and life settles down, I’ll find my balance (September, I hope. When the kids start up at their new schools). Until then, I’m enjoying the challenges thrown my way. One of my old managers used to say,  “You only grow in times of change.” That’s so true. Take a peek at this article from the Huffington Post showcasing this idea.

Here are a few photos from my album (my friends, the elk, a two month old baby bobcat, and a newborn Heck/Tarpan horse.):

Thanks for sticking with me. I really appreciate all my loyal followers.

Camp NaNo – My First Sequel

July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I’m excited to start my first sequel! I published Blood & Holy Water back in April, and since then, readers have been asking for a sequel…so…here we go! I have a tentative cover (since, for some reason, covers motivate me to write) and a working title.

bhw ff

Book 1 (Blood & Holy Water) was about an angel who needed a miracle to earn her wings…and it turns out her miracle involved a vampire with a secret to protect.

Book 2 (Feathers & Fur) will be about a recently fallen angel who can’t help but try to do good, but when his path’s cross with a werewolf mother that doesn’t want his help, he feels lost in this new world.

I have the whole thing outlined, and know the characters since they appeared in other stories. (The fallen angel was in Blood & Holy Water and the werewolf was in my story Bitten in my Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales freebie.)

Next, I need to come up with a series title.

So, who’s in Camp with me? What will you be working on?

A Method to Book Marketing

Ever wonder where to devote your time (and resources) in marketing a book?

I’ve been asking that question this entire year as I plug away at my 1000 True Fans blog series. I stumbled upon a graph on how readers find books and ended up writing an article about it. You can find my article on Black Wolf Editorial’s Blog as a guest post. Check it out, it definitely opened my eyes to where I’ll be moving in the future.

Here was the pie graph from a 2011 Smashwords survey that made me question my marketing strategy.

survey

Again, head over to Black Wolf Publishing to check out the entire article.

Until next time,

–Joy