Tag Archives: word count

Third Time’s a Charm

Hey there Scribes’ fans.  Casey here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddIt’s kind of hard to put into words how I feel about the third book in the Mystic Series. Last year, while I was writing the book, it seemed like I would never finish it.

There were two reasons for that:

One: I was simultaneously writing another paranormal romance –  Lachlan’s Curse (which I did complete early 2014 but that’s a whole other blog post).

Two: the book ended up longer than my target goal of 83,000 – 85,000 words. In fact, the word count after the last round of publisher edits was @92,000 words.

Because I am a die hard plotter, in my mind, this shouldn’t have happened. Obviously I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque or something.

Why so long?

Well, the short answer: that’s how long the story is. For those of you following this series (and I thank you very much!) this is Devlin Ward’s book.

Devlin is a virginal satyr who has a boatload of childhood drama to deal with before he can obtain his happily every after. Lucky for him, his heroine, Mary (aka Ma’at) is more than ready to take accept the challenge.

And believe me, it was a challenge for me too.  Even though I know this world well it didn’t make writing their story any easier. When I realized that the first draft would clock in around 95,000 words, I had a choice to make – stop writing and figure out what was wrong or keep writing because maybe nothing was wrong.

While that sounds incredibly insane, I know from first hand experience that I can be my own worst enemy (hello, Doubt Monster).

In the end, I decided to keep writing and see what would happen because I’m crazy like that. I figured, why not? I can always delete stuff later (which I did).

This past weekend, I read the book again after a final round of edits. And guess what? The length felt just right for Devlin and Mary.

So is there a moral to this blog post? Yes!

Don’t fear the delete key. And don’t be afraid to just see what’s going to happen next.

 

 

 

 

The First Thirty Thousand

Happy post-4th of July. Casey here.

Since it’s a long holiday weekend, this will be a short post.

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I’m trying a little experiment that is designed to make sure I’m always writing something. I am concurrently writing two books at the same time.

Generally, I switch every other day. Right now the word count averages 1200-2000 per day depending on how much time I have.

It’s working great at the moment. But something I’ve long suspected is being proved true.

The first thirty thousand words are killer!!

I’ve discovered that I need at least that long before I can really get into my character’s heads. It’s like a giant uphill slog to get the first 30k down on the page. Usually after that, I can pick up speed and the plot rolls forward from there.

I am not sure how much longer I can write two books at once, because I’m sure I’ll have to commit the mental power to one universe at a time. And, of course, I have to be careful not to mix the worlds up or have two books that “sound” alike.

Anyone have a similar experience with the first thirty thousand (or whatever the magic number is for you)? And have you tried writing multiple books at the same time?

Gearing up for NaNo

I’ve heard about NaNo-WriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a few years and have never officially participated for one reason or another. But this year, I’m all in. NaNo-WriMo is an organized national event where writers find support and camaraderie in their commitment to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Conceivably, this could mean someone would be able to complete a first draft of a full length novel in thirty days. Just ask our very own Casey Wyatt, who completed a manuscript last year which then became published!

 When broken down into a daily word-count, it means writing about 1660 words per day—a very doable task for determined and self-disciplined writers. For me, that’s about a chapter a day or five to six pages. But one of the reasons I haven’t participated in the past is that…and don’t tell anyone…I don’t write every day. That’s right; sometimes days go by and I haven’t written a word. Life, work, and family might require my undivided attention, or maybe I’m processing my plot, dialogue, or how my next scene will move the story forward. Other days, I may write for six or eight hours, producing as many as twenty pages or two or three chapters. Up until recently, I wasn’t even paying very close attention to my word count. I gave myself a certain number of months to write my first draft and figured out how many pages a week I needed to write, but never felt the need to focus on the actual word count. 

That is until Susannah Hardy challenged the CTRWA members to start doing “sprints” on FaceBook. A sprint is when a bunch of people agree to spend a few hours at night writing their little hearts out to make a predetermined word-count goal. Ironically, the average writer is able to put out a thousand or fifteen hundred words in that period of time. Some more and some less, but the actual goal isn’t important. The sprints (and NaNo-WriMo) are successful because it gets everyone working toward their individual goal and is a way for this isolated work to feel much less lonely. It also holds us accountable to a group of people (nothing like peer pressure or the threat of public humiliation to get the muse musing). A little competition and some recognition for a job well done can’t hurt. Not to mention that you may just write the novel of your heart in a mere month—something that takes some writers a lifetime to accomplish. I figure I have nothing to lose by trying. Even if I don’t finish, I’ll be a heck of a lot further along than if I hadn’t tried.

This is where I’ll be in November

Here’s my challenge to myself. (I’ll share it with all of you since I’m highly motivated by accountability and the threat of public humiliation.) I’ve recently started my new work in progress (WIP), Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. Since the book is set to finish at about 70,000 words, I figure I’ll get a jump on NaNo-WriMo and try to have 20,000 words written by November 1st so I can plan for the other 50k and finish my first draft in a month. I’ve only managed a sixty-thousand words in six weeks pace one other time and that was when I wrote Savage Cinderella back in 2009. I may still not be able to write every day during November, but I’ll set my weekly goal for 10-12,000 words which is about 30-40 pages a week. That’s a pretty aggressive pace, but with the help and support of my writing family, I’m going to give it my best shot.

How about you? Are you going to participate in NaNo? Do you have a daily word-count goal? Do you write daily or have a weekly page count? I’m curious.

Retreat Recap

Tuesday’s Scribe, PJ Sharon here. I had the great pleasure of joining several CTRWA members this past weekend at the lovely Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT. We’ve been planning this weekend retreat for months, and no one was more excited than me to get away and share some quality writing time with my pals. I thought you all might like to hear about the highlights.

After checking in at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, we were all treated to a wonderful dinner and dessert before settling in for an evening of critiquing. We divided up into small groups, and each had the opportunity to share the first five pages of our WIP. This was immensely helpful to me personally, as my fabulous critique partners, Jane Haertel and Tracy Costa, convinced me yet again, that my short story prequel to my trilogy, to be released as part of the WG2E October Anthology, called SOUL REDEMPTION, actually started in chapter two. (Read my previous post about “The story starts here.”) I’m not sure why I haven’t quite mastered the art of where to start a story, but they were absolutely right and it will now read so much better.

Saturday morning, I rousted eight of my fellow writer friends out of their beds to join me in a 6:00 a.m. yoga class. I’ve been teaching yoga for about seven years now, and I love sharing a gentle, restorative practice with newbies and experienced yogis alike. Relaxed, refreshed, and energized, we had a hearty breakfast and then spent the next few hours working on our individual WIP’s in the comfort and solitude of the many nooks scattered about the quaint old inn.

After lunch—and I have to say here, that the food was simply outstanding—we gathered for an interactive debate with authors Kevin Symmons and Arlene Kay, who shared their humorous and spirited take on setting vs.character. Then we had more alone time before supper, where most of us made another dent in our weekend word count. I was able to finish all of my edits for WANING MOON, and I heard from Melanie Meadors that she broke her record of 5,000 words in a weekend. WTG Melanie!

Saturday night after a tasty Salmon dinner and blueberry cobbler—seriously, did anyone else gain five pounds this weekend—we got together for a fun-filled evening of Plotting Playoffs with our hostess diva, Jamie Pope, aka. Sugar Jamison. Our illustrious Prez, Jennifer Fusco won the big honor of the night and was rewarded with the coveted tierra, boa, and pink girly gloves—not to mention the best writer on earth certificate.

I’d like to personally thank the brilliant Jane Haertel, aka Suze Hardy, for helping me plot out Book Two of my trilogy, WESTERN DESERT. It’s going to be awesome, but I may need another retreat in the spring!

Much wine was consumed, laughs were shared, and in my opinion, the best line of the weekend came from Jennifer Yakely, another CTRWA contracted and soon-to-be published author, who said, “Historical romances are all about balls and Duke screwing.” I love writers! Don’t you?

A Day in the Life of The Doubt Monster

Happy Friday everyone. Casey here. I’ve recently discovered evidence that the my sneaky adversary is up to no good. Look what I found!

To Do List:

5:10 am – wake up when Casey does. Whisper doubts in her ear about her WIP so she can’t fall back to sleep.

6:00 am – while Casey is doing her day job, read e-mail, catch up on latest DM news. Oh, look at the cute little puppy on Facebook!

8:30 am – Consider taking a class. “Character Assassination: 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Use Characters to Foster Doubt”. Or perhaps, “Your Author has been Published: New Fears and How to Foster Them.”

9:00 am – Decide to take both classes. More weapons in the arsenal of doubt are always a good thing.

12:00 pm – Lunch with fellow Doubt Monsters. Listen to endless complaints about how their authors have the delusion that authors and Doubt Monsters can be friends. Scoff at the idea. What is the world coming to?

2:00 pm – One more hour until Casey finishes the day job. Take opportunity to plant idea that time would be better spent on social media. And as a parting jab – remind her that she will never be free of the day job.

3:15 pm – Observe: Plan to steal Casey’s time with Facebook and lure of a higher Klout score appear to be working.

5:00 pm – Dinnertime. Torment Casey while she is cooking. Remind her that she’s been working on Mystic Storm since February. Ignore her counter argument that she wrote an entire book between May and June.

6:30 pm – Casey appears to be staring off into space. Her hands are on the keyboard but nothing is happening. Yes. Yes.

6:45 pm – Enlist aid of cat to distract her further. @#$@ Cat refuses to do my bidding.

7:00 pm – Uh. Oh. Casey finds my to do list. Yup. She’s making that super angry face. She flicks me away with rude gesture and bad words, then starts writing.Nooooo! Hey, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

9:00 pm – Am able to briefly tempt her away with a series of fun Facebook photos. But she soon returns to writing. Drat!

10:30 pm– Casey’s been productive despite my best efforts. Have no fear. Tomorrow is another day.

Yeah. Just bring it Doubt Monster. It’s on!

Anyone have a similar experience?