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.

A Novel in 4 Days – Hold me Accountable!

Since last summer, I’ve been struggling to write Book 2 in my Angels of Sojourn series. This novel was supposed to be my July Camp NaNoWriMo project, but then June 29th happened.

I had the novel all outlined and waiting for me to write it…then a tree limb fell on my father, uprooting my and my family’s life. In subsequent months, we moved home to run the family zoo. My weeks were filled with sixty or more hours of work (balancing two jobs, four hours apart for a while), packing, finishing a house so it could be sold, moving the kids schools, etc. etc. etc. — not to mention nursing my father’s skull fracture back to health. Needless to say, this project (Fur & Feathers) did not get written.

Now, six months later, I’m still struggling with the story. I’ve been slowly jotting down words, one scene at a time, and am 20K into the novel. I’ve put it aside to do other, shorter projects (Hexes & Ohs and Darklight & Daydreams) and am feeling quite guilty the story’s not written yet. All my pre-accident writing routines and techniques have not been working for me.

So…I’m trying something new. Something I’ve seen writers on forums and Facebook groups do. Something I thought was impossible…

Since I only have 40K yet to write, I’m going to block off my calendar for four days this next week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (I have those days off, just by a miracle!) and I’m going to finish the novel! 10K a day until an official first draft.

What I need from you is to hold me accountable. I’ll be posting every day on my progress.

Here’s my plan:

PREPARE!

  • 1/19 (Test Day) I have most the day off, but have things to do with my kids. My goal is to spend the day writing. I want to see how many words I can write in an hour. (Update: I did this. It’s 2000 words per hours. That means I need to spend 5 hours per day writing to hit my goal of 10K per day.)
  • 1/20 (Organization Day) Get all my outlines and paperwork in one spot.
  • 1/21 (Rest Day) No writing. Answer all emails/social media, because it’s going off tomorrow!

LET THE WRITING BEGIN!

  • 1/22 Goal: 10K
  • 1/23 Goal: 10K
  • 1/24 Goal: 10K
  • 1/25 Goal: 10K

NOVEL IS FINISHED!

  • 1/26 (Celebrate! No writing)
  • 1/27 Let the editing begin! Still gloat that I finished it all by February. 🙂

I am disconnecting from the internet on the 22nd-25th, except to update this blog and a post on KBoards.

My writing days are mostly consecutive, but if this works, moving forward, I think I’d prefer a day or two between each mega writing day…Like two weekends in a row.

And I warned my family it’s coming. That I’ll be absent.

So…Technically a novel is 40K. So, if this works, I could block off four days per month and whip out a short novel per month. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Ready…Set…Write!

(Jump ahead to Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3)

Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 2)

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question… well, I’d have made more money that I’ve done self-publishing so far (Ha. Ha. But that’s a topic for another blog post). But, seriously, how long does it really take to write a book? Check out PART 1 or PART 3 of the three part series.

Comments from Part 1 of this blog post series asked about writing vs. editing time. As a new writer, I had no idea how long it took to polish a novel once it was written. What was really eye-opening to me is how quickly I can put words down on a page and call it a novel. The real magic happens with rewriting and edits. One of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton has said, “Books are not written–they’re rewritten.”

Here’s the real timeline breakdown of Love, Lies & Clones.

  • February/March–Wrote “Draft Zero” which was a 50,000 word ROUGH, ROUGH draft of the novel.
  • April–Camp NaNoWriMo Project–First round of edits/revisions to try to have it grow from 50K to 80K.
  • May/June–Two rounds of beta readers and edits.
  • July–Put this novel away. Wrote Blood & Holy Water for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • August/September–Another round of beta readers.
  • October–Editor/Prep for Kindle Scout
  • November–Kindle Scout Campaign. I read through the novel one more time, and still caught issues! (And I attempted to win NaNoWriMo with another novel.)
  • December–Published! Horary!

How about other self-published authors? 

Today’s Spotlight: Mystery / Thriller / Crime Authors

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more. You may find your next novel to read!

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?

The Olympus KillerThe Church MurdersDeath of a BrideLuke Christodoulou: I give myself a year for each book. I finish earlier than that though, giving plenty of time for the book to go to my editor and for my proofreaders to provide feedback.

A Jar of Thursday

The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes A House of MirrorsLiz Hedgecock: I write the first draft quite quickly, but I’m pretty thorough in the edit. I wrote the draft of A House Of Mirrors in 6 weeks, then put it away for 6 months, and took a month to edit it.

The SplitWarriors

Carey Lewis: It takes me about a month, and that includes research and two rounds of edits on the manuscript. Then I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks and give it another couple of edits with fresh eyes.

The Adoption

Greg Merritt: About 8 months.

How much of your time is devoted to writing opposed to editing/rewriting?

Please post in the comments.

Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 1)

Over the past nine months, everyone kept asking me, “So… is your book done yet?” Ugh! Really? How long is it supposed to take to write a novel? I thought I was moving along quite quickly.

How long should it take to write a novel?

I did what I always do when I want factual information. I googled it. (Ha. Ha.) Do you know what I found? Famous novels took a variety of time. From 2.5 days (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) to 16 years (Lord of the Rings Trilogy). Click here for a nice infographic on famous authors / books.

But those are super FAMOUS people. What about everyone else? Those authors without huge publishing contracts. Those who perhaps balance a day job as well as writing.

Well, I met a whole crew of awesome authors during my Kindle Scout campaign. I thought I would throw that question their way.

I’m going to spotlight some of their answers in a three part blog series this week. (Read PART 2 or PART 3) I hope you enjoy the feedback and meeting some new writers–people who have been super supportive of me and my writing adventures.

Today: Speculative Fiction Authors (Fantasy / Science Fiction / Horror)

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more.

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?

Simulation

 

M. Black: Simulation is my most recently finished book. I just finished Quantum State, but it hasn’t been edited and reedited, and beta-read yet. It took about 3 months as most of my books take.

 

Beyond the Forest

Kay Ling: I spent at least two years rewriting and polishing Beyond the Forest, a novel I wrote and then abandoned in the 1980s due to my time-consuming career. So, I suppose I could say it took me three decades to write it!

Different

 

Bill Hiatt: Full-length novels typically take three to six months, depending on their length and complexity, as well as upon how many other demands on my time there are while I’m writing.

Dreams

 

Steve Vernon: Too long. Way too freaking long.


Sam

 

J.P. Cawood: I wrote my first two books in a year and a half. Six months of that were full-time and the rest was while juggling a job.

Othello

 

 

Aaron Frale: It takes about six months to a year depending on my life outside of writing.

 

Have you written a novel? How long did it take you?

Please post in the comments.

 

(Other stellar novels to check out in these genres)

 Graveyard Raven Newcomer Tres  Generation    Awakening Christmas. Snpw    Daly Past. Darkness

I Wrote a Novel (or Two), Now What?

I’ve read that only about 3% of novels are ever finished. (Keep in mind, 99% of statistics are false. 🙂)

So here I sit with two manuscripts, asking myself… “There. I’m done. I said I’d finish… But now what? It’s a shame to just let it sit in a pile or on a file on my hard drive.”

I began doing my research and holy crap is the publishing industry confusing. Where does one even start? Ten years ago, I would have had a quick and easy answer to that. Find an agent and get a publisher, of course. Now, that whole philosophy is changing.

The first decision I need to make is between the two main types of publishing, traditional publishing versus self-publishing. After this decision, there are many choices within each publishing umbrella. Agent vs. direct to the publisher, large press vs. small press, Amazon vs. Smashwords, $3.99 vs. FREE.

Urgh! I’ve never been good with choices!

I could write a blog laying out these choices, but I thought it would be better to just link some of the good ones here:

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs Indie Publishing: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/self-publishing-vs-traditional/ (There’s a little propaganda here, but it lays it out nicely.)

And for lighter reading: http://annerallen.com/ive-written-book-now-what-22-steps-to/

So where does that leave me? I had to get down to my PURPOSE for writing. Besides enjoying it, I want to write stories that will bring many people entertainment… So, how do I get my writing into as many hands as possible?

At first, I figured I’d self-publish and GIVE my novels away for FREE. The more and more I researched that, the more it concerned me. First, I still am not certain that people would find and take the stories seriously, even if they were FREE. Secondly, would I be insulting the whole writing community by doing this? (And thirdly, how would I justify spending $1000-$2000 dollars on a novel cover, book editor, formatting, etc. of self-publishing with no return?)

So, I moved off that thought… (Though, if anyone asked me for my story, I’d be happy to send them a free copy.😊 I can’t say no.)

Next, I moved on to self-publishing, but struggle how to get readers. That’s my goal, right? To have people actually find my story and read it? I love the control one has in the publishing process, but if I wrote a story to have nobody find it? That would be heart wrenching.

I feel that breaking into the traditional publishing market is like finding a needle in a haystack… Or maybe a field of haystacks, but I read that the experience of trying, is probably a learning experience every author should have… Small press publishing may be easier, but I feel readership is probably similar to self-publishing.

So… I have two books and know I’ll have more in the future. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m going to query agents for LOVE, LIES, & CLONES and self-publish BLOOD & HOLY WATER. The best of both worlds, right? I’m excited for the experience of trying both methods and comparing the two.(Both of which, I’ll update in this blog.) I’m shooting for only 10 rejections before I turn to self-publishing.  I know that’s not enough, but I’m not sold on traditional publishing anyway. When all is said and done, I’ll probably end up self-publishing both books.

What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?

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