Archive for the ‘Word Count’Category

Fini!

I have officially conquered the first draft.

Final word count: 110,645.

That means I have about 15k in terms of additional material (during revision).  I think I can do it.

Tomorrow, I’ll add in all the “loose ends” that I feel I need, then it shall sit and stew.

Nothing much to add other than I’m pretty dang proud of myself.  Now comes the fun part.

Revision!

Archived from: 8/16/2011

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12 2012

Last Call

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Well, I’m nearly done.  I finished the two “climactic” chapters (E’zreal and Aldeshar), piddled around on the final character chapter (Wen).

All that’s left is to finish Wen’s (which will give us an idea of where the second book will begin) and the epilogue.

I’m guessing that will run me around 4k words which puts me around 115k.

Not a lot of wiggle room (as I fully intend to keep this under 125k, including additional “loose ends material” and a bit of fleshing out where needed).

But, I’m almost there.

Aldeshar’s final chapter in this book was a killer.  I cried.  I didn’t expect to.  It’s part of why I couldn’t push through to finish the whole shebang today.  I’m too drained (emotionally) and should be able to soldier ahead tomorrow.

Anyway, whew!  I’m off to watch some television, folks.  Falling Skies (season 1 in its entirety) waits.

Until tomorrow . . .

Archived from: 8/15/2011

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12 2012

Road Bump

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The word count is still moving but I am stuck on my second narrative arc.  It’s not enough of an arc, not enough of a crisis.  So, I need to battle this out in my wee lil’ brain before I finish the “Aerondians” (E’zreal, Wen and Sarithel).  There was a mini-climax, but it will not suffice, so something bigger has to happen, something that brings both arcs together.

It might be time to pull out some of my plotting exercises, to read some of Nancy Kress’s “Beginnings, Middles and Ends,” and resolve this.

The “Mendoth” side of things are actually coming together very nicely and I’m happy with how it’s turned out.  I’m slowly descending into denouement now for Maura.  Aldeshar is close behind and Tivik’s will be wrapped up soon enough as well.

All will have semi-resolved arcs, and all will be poised to continue their journeys in book two.

But, the fact that I need a bigger climax tells me that I’ll have some rewriting to do before the first draft is done and that I will undoubtedly go way over in word count.

All is well.  I’m a good “pruner.”  I just have to figure a few things out.

Archived from: 8/13/2011

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12 2012

Sliding

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As you can see, I’m nearing the 100k mark (which was my goal for draft 1).  I’m not sure how far I’ll go over that, but I do foresee me doing so.  If I follow my outline to the letter, I have 10 more chapters to write  and my chapters are averaging anywhere from 2500-3000 words, so, you can see the bind I’m in.

That said, the epilogue will be short (1000-1500k).  But, I’m staring down the barrel of a 130k first draft with a list of “loose ends” to address which is about a page long itself and will add considerably more to the first draft count.  Not only that, but I will probably add one more chapter for E’zreal.   He moves too quickly into the second part of his narrative arc (after he’s experienced something quite traumatic).  So, I need to give him some transition time.  It’s what he’s been asking me for in the recent chapters.

Weird how my characters speak to me, eh?

Maybe someday I’ll share my “letters to the author” that I created for each one of my main POV characters.  That might be worth a good laugh for some poor chap.

Anyway, I’m excited.  I’ve hit the first “peak” of the final arc.  Then I make the climb toward another one (an even more exciting one) and then I resolve as best I can, set up for the next book, but bring enough satisfaction to the ending of THIS one that I won’t drive off any potential agents.

Until later . . .

Archived from: 8/11/2011

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12 2012

Signs of Promise

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Nearing the 100k mark.  Whew!  I’ve been knocking a few thousand words a day, though the pace is considerably slower, at least now.  No issue there.

Kindle has this great feature where you can upload your personal documents and read them.  So, I decided to upload two of my book files.  I’ve been breaking them down in files of around 100 pages to make skimming/editing easier.  I have to say, reading them on Kindle was giddy fun.  It told me how it might read in the hands of someone just purchasing the book.

A few things that I’ve noticed:

  • Wow, does this need some editing!  I knew that, but it was amazing how I felt reading the story in kindle format.  Suddenly my expectations were so much higher.  That’s a good thing.
  • White space.  I have more chunks of text than I thought.  Other books I have read tend to have more paragraphs (and white space).
  • Some parts were amazing to read!  When I hit my stride I could feel it.  Maybe I’m a writer after all.
  • Plot.  I’m suffering in conflict (or rather the layering of it).  This is a big problem.  I’m not sure what to do about it.  I guess it will have to be addressed on revision.  I think I need a bigger, overarching  conflict that may threaten everyone.  As it is now, everyone is concerned with their own petty issues.  I’m not sure if that can carry a book through from start to finish.

We’ll see.  More writing today.  I started a new Sarithel chapter last night and hope to finish that today, then move on to Wen again.

Word/Page Count?

I was in the store the other day and a LOT of the genre books (specifically sci-fi/fantasy) were around 700 pages.  Mine is looking to be around 400-500.  I wonder if this will be an issue, or if it’s actually a smart number given that it will be the first book in a series and MY first novel.  Hmmmm….

Happy reading, writing all!

Archived from: 8/8/2011

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12 2012

Plugging Along

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I’ve slowed my pacing again.  My writing is also less vivid and a bit dry.  While I’m tempted to take a short break I also want to keep working, even if it’s one day at a time (at 1000 words a day).

I also think it’s time to read some poetry.  Whenever my writing goes limp like it has, a good dose of good, old fashioned poetry does the trick: T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, even some Sylvia Plath.

Time to get the imagery wheels moving again.

Archived from: 8/6/2011

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12 2012

Pushing Ahead

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Today felt like my productivity was absolutely dismal, yet I still managed to crank out 3k(ish) words.  One “world” arc is almost complete–at least for this book, there are to be 3 total in the series.   The area of Mendoth has about 4-5 chapters left and it’s done.

Aerondy is slacking behind, so I tackled a chapter there.  Basically, here’s how it’s organized.

I have 6 rotating POVs (3rd person limited).

Aldeshar – 21 years old.  Male.  Second son of the Mendothan king.  Scholarly, intelligent, brilliant to a fault yet lacks the confidence.  He is also a gay character, though he struggles with this due to the expectations of his not-so-warm and tyrant-like father.

Maurana (“Maura”) – 19 – Female.  Aldeshar’s sister.  Thirdborn of the Mendothan king.  Had a different mother than her older brothers (Aldeshar and Ulryck).  Strong-willing, doesn’t always think her actions through.  Her ultimate goal is to become an assassin her father’s realm.  (Hey, this is fantasy here!)

Tivik – 29 – Male.  Cousin to the king of Aerondy. Aerondy was once part of Mendoth, but broke away 300 years ago.  With the old king dead and the knew king (Norien) in place, relations between Mendoth and Aerondy are not exactly friendly.  Tivik is sent to Mendoth to maintain the peace.  Tivik is good with the sword and even better with politics, except when he lets his emotions get in the way of good, common sense.

Sarithel – 17, female.  Sister to King Norien of Aerondy.  Entitled, beautiful, a lady of the court.  Aspires to marry “big” (king, wealthy).  Seems impulsive at times.  Has been rarely told “no.”

E’zreal – 15, male.  Apprentice to the court mage of Aerondy.  Young, talented, intelligent, ambitious.  Is soon to test to become a “true mage.”

Wen – 9, female.  Former servant of Mendoth.  Caught using magic (Mendoth + magic = no no).  Hunted by authorities.  Shows signs of natural ability with the arcane arts.

 

The “Mendoth” area is almost complete: Maura, Aldeshar and Tivik

The “Aerondian” area is about halfway there.  I need to catch up and compare timelines on first revision to make sure they match up.

Two houses at war–two narrative areas pulling at me.  Damn royalty.

Either way, I’m getting close.  I can taste it now.  I’ve revised the outline and it should hold to the end.

My writing group has the first 50-odd pages as we speak.  I’ll hear from them on the 10th.

Archived from:  8/4/2011

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12 2012

Runner’s High

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This must be how runner’s feel once they’ve hit that endorphin-induced high.  Almost 10k words today.  I’m to the point where the story seems to be coming out of me on its own.  Every time I stood to take a break I found myself drawn back to the computer.

One of my big narrative arcs is reaching its zenith and it’s difficult to pull away from it.  I’ve put three POVs aside for now to “ride the dragon,” so to say.  There is one more point of view (chapter) that I might tackle in this arc before switching.  While this arc has been slowing building the other is far more erratic in nature, rising quickly then falling and rising again.  Furthermore, it will give me a chance to write from a languid, serenity once again where I allow myself to linger in the details.

As I am nearing the 100k mark, I’m realizing that I may very well go over that original word count.  I imagine many writers do, especially writers of fantasy.   Furthermore, my revisions will only add more to that word count and while I had taken that into consideration (thinking the book to reach its end at around 120k) it may, in fact, grow larger.

It’s a grand feeling, I have to say.

I’m tired, though.  My eyes are sore and my brain is starting to turn to gelatin.  Another two weeks at this rate and I’ll finish the first draft.  Then, the hard part begins.  :)

Archived from: 8/3/2011

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12 2012

Paying off Debts

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I feel like I’m at a point in the book where some of my storylines are beginning to pay off.  Characters are reaching their breaking points, are forced into making hard decisions (or having those decisions made for them–against their will).  In short, I’m on a roller coaster ride right now and have been for the last 30 pages.

I wrote a sex scene that took me 4 attempts to get right.  I wrote two violent scenes (one more graphic than the other) and I have to say I’m struggling with the high-action sequences.  I tend to do better when I flush them all out and dump them on a page (no matter how terrible) then revise (and rewrite) the following day.

Still, I’m doubting my abilities in terms of creating a good, solid moment of action.  But, I’m learning as I go on some of this.  Some of my language in these scenes are beginning to sound the same–same words, same phrases, same motions and gestures.  It’s something to push through now then go back and edit (as I have been doing).

Anyway, my mind is mush.  I’m at 62k words.  I need a mental break.

Archived from: 8/2/2011

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12 2012

Point Check

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Plot/Pacing Concerns

I feel like I’ve smoothed over most of my halfway-there concerns.  Plot/pacing is actually moving along quite nicely.  Things are set to amp up considerably, at least in one of my main locations.

Lights, Camera, Action!

I finished an action scene that was giving me a lot of trouble.  But, I think I’ve slayed that “dragon.”   Writing a good action scene is, imho, one of the most difficult things to do as a writer.  You don’t want to overdo it with jargon and you don’t want it so thin that your readers are left thinking, “that’s it?”

I’ll be honest, it was a boar to tackle (no pun intended).  But, I read a few battle/action scenes from a few of my favorite  books to see how others have done it, and I think I have a nice blend of action, suspense and character reaction/internalization.

Character Arcs

My arcs are building.  I was worried about one character in particular being too one-dimensional, or a bit too vapid for her own good, but I’ve found a chink in her armor and I’ve poked a sharp edge in to see if she’ll squirm.  She did, though she did her best to keep it from me (and the readers).  This one will have to be broken, sadly, but I have a feeling she’ll surprise me the most when all is said and done.

 

Archived from: 7/28/2011

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12 2012