It’s done!

As of this moment my official word count stands at 55,008 and there are probably 3000 more words in the note book to transcribe, but I’ve finished a novel in a month! Of course when I say I finished it in a month that means the first draft and doesn’t include the eight years I’ve carried the story around in my head before I started writing…

Working on this project has done a lot of good for me. I’m more confident in my process and my ability to put out the words. I’ve watched a new story go from beginning to end and experimented with things in my writing that I haven’t done before. I’ve learned and created and done what needs doing to get the job done… Now comes the hard part…

I will finish the edits and get this thing out there, but after I finish the transcribing I need to let it sit for a little while. So after I finish transcribing, probably Monday November 30th, I’ll be leaving this one alone until January. Then I will pick it up and edit and if I’m very very lucky get it finished and ready to publish by the end of the year (my actual goal is sooner but I’m not going to reveal that date just yet).

Will I do it again?

Probably. I may not do it next year. My wife should be graduating with her doctorate this spring and who knows where we will be in November of next year, but I think I will be doing this again. I will certainly be continuing on with my writing.

Would I recommend someone else try it?

General answer: Yes. It’s a good way to test yourself. And, good things can come of participating in the process even if you don’t win.

That’s it for this one dear reader.

Until next time…

It is over until it begins again!

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A lesson along the way

I officially cracked 40,000 words on my NANWRIMO project The Johnson Farm today. The real count is closer to 45,000 (I transcribe yesterday’s stuff from my notebook before I write today’s new stuff. It helps me engage in the new writing).

I am closing in on the end; that is to say that I can mostly see my way to the end of the plot for this one. I hit one and only one serious difficulty in the middle (I ignore the usual question of “how do I get to the ending?” It’s expected).

I have a point of view character and his dad and two uncles to cope with as main characters (don’t worry there are good female characters, my hero just doesn’t have a beef with any of them). I found myself feeling like I needed to tie up all of their problems by the end of the story.

Then, I remembered that I really don’t have to tie it all up. Just like real people John’s dad and uncles have had thirty plus years to accumulate all that baggage, and there is  no way I could possibly handle all of that in the time frame of the novel. If I did try to tie it all up in one novel it would make the old testament look like a short story.

I only have to worry about tying up those problems, or parts of problems, that get me to the resolution of this story.

Some of the other problems may never be resolved in word or in fact. This reflects real life. You can’t get them all fixed in a week! You might never get them all.

Leaving some things unresolved helps your story to be more in the realm of the real than in the sanitized world of sitcoms and modern fairy tales. It also opens up your options for a sequel. I’m not planning one at this point, but if I do one I have naturally occurring source material to start with.

Because the brothers still have things to work through I have a natural starting point for a next one. That means I don’t have to invent things to start the next one.

My characters are also developing history, not all of which is or will be revealed in this story. This helps build that resource base for sequels and opens up the opportunity for naturally occurring prequels (hate the term but as a writer I like the idea…).

The bottom line for today dear reader is:

Trust your process.

Trust your story.

And, don’t worry about trying to tie up all of the loose ends.

It’s reality and it gives you options for later.

Interesting question…

Here’s a question that came to me…

“Does writing on the blog affect your fiction writing?”

I thought about this, and yes it does. The blog affects my fiction writing in several ways.

If I work on just a words per day goal… say I decide to write 1000 words per day and then spend 600 on the blog. That would leave only 400 for the fiction. But, the 1000 words is a minimum. I can write more if I want to (this month I’ve averaged over 2000 a day just on the Novel…)

On the other hand, the blog gives me another avenue to look at and think about ideas and situations and to develop my thinking. This means that those ideas can be incorporated into my fiction in a more developed and thought out manner.

On the other other hand… it is a different kind of writing. Fiction and blog posts happen in different mental spaces, which means I can write one when the other isn’t quite pinging. This can distract (if you stick to the 1000 word goal) or it can ‘prime the pumps’ helping me get other stuff out of my head so I can be in a space to write fiction (or vice versa).

So, yes the blog affects my fiction. If I let it it’s a limiter. But, it also allows me to process and develop ideas to incorporate into the fiction.

They are also different kinds of writing, so they don’t necessarily conflict. I can do one when I’m not in the mental space to do the other.

In practice I think I (and others) have to take charge of what we are writing and make choices. Definitely follow your heart and write what’s on your mind, but you get to make some choices in terms of what form that takes. And, in any case some writing is better than no writing. Allowing yourself to be in the habit of writing blog posts is a lot closer to writing fiction that the habit of not writing. Some times it’s a lot easier to turn the flow of your words into a different course than to get it moving from zero.

That’s it for this one Dear Reader.

Until next time follow those dreams. Write and be healthy (I’m over 26,000 words this month and I haven’t wanted do bang my head against the wall once!)

The highs and lows while coping with the highs and lows…

Ok, last week I talked about my wife being gone this week and the start of NANOWRIMO..And I said I would update today…

That said it will probably be a short update… I have been doing a lot or writing.

I think missing my wife has actually shown up in my behavior and blood sugar readings. The combination of writing, a lot, and her being gone has definitely had an affect. In the early part of the week I actually hit a couple of lows that were much lower than expected. Apparently the brain does need a lot of energy to run full tilt!

The book is really coming along nicely. I’m one of those weird ‘write it out on paper then transcribe it’ writers, so my official word count is a little behind my actual word count (about a days worth at the moment). I’m guessing the official count is behind by about 2500 words. My official word count is at 10062 by the way!

At the moment the word count actually doesn’t matter to me. I’ve found a cool story, an engaging story. And, I get to be the first person to read it! I think that’s one of the things I like about being a fiction writer. If you’re doing it right you get to discover new stories. Even if you’re the most linear out-liner in the world there should still be something that’s unexpected, something that hooks you about your story. If it doesn’t hook you, why would it hook anyone else?

Of course I’d love to have a best seller. I’d love to be like Masters and Johnson and have a book sell out on the first day! But, really when I’m writing this story, the story is the important part. It’s what I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about. It’s the thing I worry about. How’s it going to work? Even though I ‘know’ where it’s going how is it going to get there?

One of my favorite points, which I get to sooner because of my write/transcribe style, is the “Wait! Did I really put that in there?” point. It’s that point where you see things fit together that you never consciously thought out. And, it’s happened at least twice on this one already!

This one is a story I want to share, but it’s also one I want to get right. Unofficially I’m about a quarter of the way through my NANOWRIMO goal but there’s still a long road to go.

Well, that’s it for this one dear reader.

Until next time…

Trust the story, it will get you through!