Current Status: Editing
The Burdened Boy
Drawchilde: Book I
A Stefani Wilder Novel
complete at 94,000 words
The General's Dragon
Drawchilde: Book III
200,000 of 200,000 words
A Stefani Wilder Novel
A Novella of Bydaira
1,400 of 32,000 words
Demigods (working title)
standalone fantasy novel
14,000 of 250,000 words
The Panther's Girl
Drawchilde: Book II
complete at 200,000 words
I'm not totally sure how much I usually write in any given year. Until quite recently, I never kept track of total output. I'm not sure what gave me the idea, but a year ago in November I started filling in a spreadsheet with each day's word count. At some point this year I decided it would be neat to finish the year with a daily average of 1000 words a day. So here's how that ended up looking.
My output is pretty consistent when I'm writing. But you can see the chunks when I'm not focused on new words, but rather on editing or publishing. My biggest day was just a tad shy of 5k.
So, all in all, I'm satisfied with the year. I always feel like I could/should write more. I have so many projects and they never seem to move quickly enough. Still, now that I know how many words I wrote in 2017, I can use that to inform by goals for 2018.
This year, for the first time in over a decade, I participated in NaNoWriMo. It's a large event in the writing community, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. My hope was to finish my new standalone fantasy novel, Well of Trades. While I did win NaNoWriMo with a final word count of 57,000 words, I had more work to do. My novel was plenty long enough, but it wasn't done:
I had intended for this novel to be short and sweet and wrap up at about 70,000 words. But that was not to be. I knew from my outline when I finished NaNo that I had 13,000 words or so still to go. My husband's birthday is in the first week of December. He's my first reader, and was excited to have a brand new story to kick off his new year. So I made that my new goal, which was actually far more of push than NaNoWriMo itself. I used this nifty little website called Pacemaker to give myself a motivation chart, and cranked out 3-4k words a day, finishing with a whole day to spare:
So that's done, and it feels good. But since I've been on a crazy writing binge, I figure I might as well keep it up. With my Brinlin series all finished and launched, I'm ready to start the third trilogy in my Bydaira project. I've begun Wyl Maze (working title) a few days ago, and I'm hoping to finish it by the time we kick off our holiday travels on the 18th. We'll see how that goes.
It's been 2.5 weeks since I started my novella writing binge. The experience, I must say, has been interesting. Like so many slightly outrageous goals one might set, it has been hard, but not in the way I expected.
In the beginning, hitting 2,700 words a day was actually pretty easy. My morning writing routine is well established, and writing 1,000 words before 8:00 am is as natural to me as getting dressed in the morning. While that alone wasn't enough, I found it wasn't difficult to add in a second writing period. After work, during happy hour, I'd just sit down and churn out some words.
What I didn't totally anticipate was the cumulative fatigue the extra effort would produce. The first couple weeks were fine, but then the mental strain of booting up and plunging into my story during my only real free time each day started to add up. I've had plenty of times in the past where I write 2,500 words a day on average, but that was all in one sitting, in the morning when my brain is at it's most agile and creative. Right now, my life is configured in such a way that I just can't spend enough time in "the zone" in the morning to produce 2,500 words. So I have to start twice each day. I'm finding it frankly exhausting.
Which means, I've fallen a little behind the last few days. Fortunately, my goal included padding. Brinlin Forest completed a couple thousand words shy of the word count I factored in. (40k is my upper limit, not my goal.) Also I had quite a few days early on where I went over budget. This means the race is not lost. I am, however, in a position where I have no "get out of jail free" cards left.
I've also hit that sticky middle stage of the third novella, where things are not beginning but also not quite ending. It's the hardest phase for me to write, always.
My current goal is to push through this part of the novella tomorrow and Friday, then spend the weekend churning out the end. The end is almost always fast for me. Let's hope that holds true here.
UPDATE -10/40/2016: I did finish this project as planned, even though I failed to blog about it. After much editing and rewriting, this new series, Annals of the Brinlocks, is scheduled to release before the end of 2016.
It's been over a decade since the War of Diodsfall. Marim, the child who released a monster from its prison, is grown up now. With her scarred throat and her battered tessila, no one can forget her roll in that conflict, least of all Marim herself. So she signs on with a merchant vessel, intending to escape her past by sailing the high seas.
Instead, Marim's tessila spooks the sailors. She's put off in Carreg Dinas, the largest of the Fog Isles. There she meets a dying boy. She knows she can save his life, but only if she unlocks the buried secrets of the island in time.
I've been suffering from a lack of consistency with writing lately. Part of it is I've got quite a few projects going, and they all seem to be a little stuck. This is actually pretty unusual for me. I am not prone to getting stuck. In the rare instances I lose steam on one project, I usually just jump ship to another for a while and get right back into a good zone, then return to the original refreshed and ready to continue.
That's not how it's been working the last few months. Instead I get stuck, change gears, grind along for a little while, get stuck, change gears again, repeat. The result is all my projects are crawling or halted, and I've got no momentum whatsoever.
I've decided the only way to get unstuck is to do something drastic. Like decide to write two novellas by the end of the month. So that's what I'm going to do. The novellas in question are Brinlin Forest and Brinlin Cove. I've started Brinlin Forest. It's currently 15k long. Brinlin Cove is not begun. I'm aiming for them to be about 40,000 words each.
So, here's the math: 40k x 2 = 80k. 80k - 15k = 65k words I have to write between now and March 1. There are 24 days left in February (including today), which works out to a tidy 2,700 words daily.
This should be totally doable for me. When I'm working on larger projects and I'm in a good groove, 2,000 words is my normal daily output. I'm not in a good groove right now, though. I've been managing closer to 1,000 words a day. So nearly tripling my output is going to feel tough, particularly at first.
I will post a progress bar tomorrow and update it daily as I go along. I figure now's a good time since I'm playing #lastman this year and so am going to be avoiding social media and all news outlets like the plague for a while.
Wish me luck!
After so many years focusing my efforts on longer works, I recently took a stab at writing some flash fiction. I'm pleased to announce two of my speculative fiction stories have been acquired for publication.
First, my piece Elective Pilistasis appeared on the Splickety Publishing Group blog in July. You can read it now for free.
Second, my piece Immolation Puppy will appear in the January issue of Havok magazine. Copies will be available in print as well as digitally. I'll post links when the issue is out, or you can go ahead and subscribe to Havok.