Tag Archives: nanowrimo

On Words, #WIPpets, and Freedom for #Nanowrimo

I haven’t posted on my blog for over two weeks, oh dear. But I had a good excuse: Ygerna and Nanowrimo. 🙂

Portrait of a Woman by Charles Allen Winter, often cited as Igraine

After I finished the translation of the second Viking book, I plunged into the Pendragon Chronicles prequel with a passion. (I can do alliteration!) And with the help of Freedom, an app that turns off the Internet, I actually managed to make the 50,000 words, for the first time in several years.

I bought Freedom quite some time ago, but this is the first time I’ve used it extensively for writing purposes. It is now definitely going to become part of my writing routine. With Freedom and no distractions, I can get 500 words written in 30 minutes when I’m on a roll. Of course, many 30 minute sessions I only got 250-300 words, but most days, I didn’t need more than 4 sessions (2 hours) to get my daily word count — and I was way behind as a result of the translation.

Of course, being a winner doesn’t mean I’m done with the novel. It’s still full of notes to myself and research ideas. At some point I will have to do a major slash and burn session. But with Freedom, I suspect the loss will be less than usual, since I couldn’t access the Internet during many of my writing sessions. I kept trying to remind myself that most readers won’t care if the historical background isn’t as accurate as in the other books — and many will be relieved. *g*

Besides, with this prequel, I have the advantage of all the research that has gone before. Of course I don’t remember everything, but often an earmarked book or an Internet search will bring back a lot.

That means that progress for the last two weeks was well over 25,000 words. And during that time I also did (a rather neglected) promo for Yseult — which still managed to get it over 100 sales and boost its rank to #4 in Arthurian fiction. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

My math for today: 12 sentences for the month, plus the last sentence from the last post for the sake of continuity, since I haven’t played for a while. Ygerna and her little brother Geraint are watching the guests arrive arrive for the wedding of their older sister:

“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.
She squinted, trying to see the wedding guests better. Not that it would help much — it had been nearly two years since she had last seen Uthyr, the Pendragon of Britain, not since the funeral of their older brother, Tudwal. Nonetheless, she well remembered his commanding presence and golden blond hair.
Then a figure neared the land bridge that matched her memories. She pointed. “There, I think that could be the Dux Bellorum.”
At that moment, the blond warrior looked up and spotted them. He grinned and nodded in their direction. Now Ygerna was almost certain it really was Uthyr. She blushed and lifted Geraint back off of the wall. “Come, we should join the rest of the family to welcome Argante’s wedding guests. Race you!”
How embarrassing to be caught spying on the arriving guests like a child! What would the Pendragon of Britain think of her? In a matter of months, Ygerna would turn fourteen, the age of choice for a woman. She was betrothed to Gurles, a neighboring prince from the stronghold of Dimilioc. They were to be married at Christmas in front of the impressive basilica of Isca.
And Argante had barely spoken to her for a week after the announcement was made.

All comments welcome!

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Riding down Golden Lane for #WIPpet Wednesday

Mea culpa! It’s been a while since I participated in a Round of Words or WIPpet Wednesday! The thing is, I just haven’t had the time to make the rounds of other bloggers, and if I can’t do that, I feel bad about posting.

So why have I been so busy? Well, I’m still not done with the translation, but it’s close now! I’ve also been doing a lot of experimenting with marketing, to try to lift my books out of obscurity. It’s working, kind of, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Finally, I’ve been prepping a novel idea for Nanowrimo, and I plan to dive in with lots of extra energy once the translation is finished — only a matter of days! In the meantime, I’ve managed to get a few pages done a day so I don’t fall too far behind. You can find me on the Nanowrimo site here. On Nano, I’m Specficrider if you want to be buddies!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Weeks ago in Facets of Glass, we left Gaetano arriving in Prague and trying to find his way around. By now, he has found the Goldmakers’ Street (Golden Lane in real life). My math today for 11/4 is 1+1+4 = 6 paragraphs:

He found the Friedrich glass shop between two “Alchymista,” one selling gold and one selling potions. He wondered which of the two did better business. While bigger than most of the other houses on the street, the glassmaker’s establishment was much more modest than the Fenice Glassworks where Chiara Dragoni had once been a maestra glassmaker of Murano. Gaetano asked himself what made her flee from such wealth to such simple circumstances.
He dismounted, tied the reins of his mare to a post, and pushed open the door. A tinkling bell alerted someone in the back rooms of the shop of his arrival, and an older man with thinning hair hurried in in, wiping his hands on his apron. He said something in Czech or German, and Gaetano shook his head. “Do you speak Italian?” he asked in that language.
“Only a little bit,” the man said in strongly accented Italian. “I will get someone to help you.”
Gaetano nodded his thanks. “Grazie.”
The old man disappeared through the doorway. Soon the curtain twitched again, and a young woman appeared, smiling pleasantly — at least until she saw him.
Chiara Dragoni — lost in the lagoon of Venice, and found again in a small glass shop in Prague.

Golden Lane, Prague
Golden Lane (Goldmakers’ Street) in Prague

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

An update, a new Nano project, and a change of mind

The writing continues to be slow but steady. Last week I got 4600 new words written, despite lots of other stuff going on. We finally pulled the tomato plants in the garden — all but two, that is. Let’s see if we can still get fresh tomatoes in December. *g*

I also decided to participate in Nano again, even though none of my projects is long enough. I’m going to cheat and conflate them, my goal being to get the 50,000 words and at least two new novellas done. 🙂 First, I want to finish Facets of Glass. To that end, I deleted several thousand words of notes to myself, so that I would know how much I actually still have to write. I’m thinking now that it’s going to need about another 20,000 words.

My “official” Nano project will be An Airship for Elise. It was originally a short story, but the critiques pretty universally said it had to be longer. I’m thinking that, if I can finish it, Airship will give me the other 30,000 words I need to reach the wordage goal. If not, I will then also get started on Shards of Glass, the third book in the Glassmakers trilogy.

One of the reasons I’m doing Airship is because I found this amazing premade cover, and I had to have it:

An Airship for Elise

Synopsis:

Elise Daimler wants nothing more than to be an engineer like her famous uncle, Gottlieb Daimler, the inventor of the motor car. But in 1888, German universities do not accept women as students.

At least Elise can work as an apprentice in her uncle’s workshop. And Uncle Gottlieb has a few strings he can pull.

Unfortunately, no one reckoned with the consequences …

BTW, over at Nano I’m specficrider, if you want to add me to your buddies. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Dowager Princess Zilia is still alone with the magic mirror, which still refuses to speak to her. Nonetheless, she is beginning to have a change of mind about it, as you will see in this snippet (which has been edited for spoilers). I give you five paragraphs for the fifth day of the month:

The mirror listened, not interrupting, allowing her to air her thoughts.
“My son may be a fool, but I will not have him look the fool.”
In the mirror’s reflection, the glass apple on the sideboard caught a ray of sunlight, almost seeming to glow.
Zilia stared at the reflected image, glad she hadn’t hurled the apple away. Perhaps it still had a role to play.
She tapped her lips with one finger thoughtfully. “Perhaps if something unfortunate befell someone near to her — quite without any threats being made?” Zilia continued, still addressing the silent mirror — and her own reflection. There was something surprisingly helpful to conversing with herself through the magic mirror. She was speaking with the person she most trusted in the world, after all.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

Finishing Nanowrimo and a WIPpet snippet

We had our traditional Stuttgart Thanksgiving on Saturday, Nov. 30 (Thursday is not a holiday here in Germany), and I was so burned out afterwards, I couldn’t bring myself to post on Sunday — that I actually managed to “win” Nanowrimo! I’m very glad, not necessarily regarding the winning part, but I think of those 50,000+ words there are definitely a few that will be usable. And I’m getting quite a kick out of the mystery experiment.

Completing 50,000 words for the month of November is my biggest update since my last post, besides the turkey, of course:

Thanksgiving 2013

Mira seemed a bit skeptical about the traditional American cuisine of her Oma:

Thanksgiving 2013

Since Saturday, I’ve only managed to get another 1100 words written on Amber’s story, and 400 on A Wasted Land. But I also did a lot of brainstorming for the mystery, and that’s starting to come together — work that doesn’t “pay off” in word count but is still necessary.

Now that Nanowrimo is over, I’m going to get back to A Wasted Land. I really want to finish it, so I will have more books in the Pendragon series and I can start promoting them again. Sales are absolutely abysmal without promotion, but neither does promotion seem to pay off very well with books that aren’t in a series. Sigh.

Anyway, this week I give you another excerpt from the still unnamed mystery. My math is simple: 12/4 = 12+4=16 = 16 sentences. This is the first scene from a new POV character, a detective at the scene of the crime. Rough draft, so any comments much appreciated!

Detective Jude Forsythe gazed at the body of Richard Merritt, his hands tied behind the back of a chair, his upper body slumped forward, his congealed blood pooling on the kitchen tiles in front of his feet. Around him, the crime scene unit was taking pictures and collecting evidence: fingerprints, DNA, and anything out of the ordinary they could find. To Jude’s practiced eye, it looked like a professional job. The way the vic’s hands were lashed, the single, deadly shot to the head, the fact that none of the neighbors’ seemed to have heard a thing, which probably meant a silencer had been used.
But then there was the missing wife.
Merritt had been called in missing that morning by the law firm in Raleigh where he worked, after they had been unable to reach him on either his cell or at home. The caller at the law firm suggested the police try to reach his wife, Amber Duchamp. The receptionist who’d taken the call made a note of the names and assured the caller it would be looked into after twenty-four hours — and had filed the missing report away.
But when she got a call not long after, regarding a missing teacher by the name of Amber Duchamp, she took it to the police, and they decided to make a house call.
To find the front door unlocked, the husband dead, and no sign of Amber Duchamp.
Jude’s partner Brent strolled over, his arms crossed in front of his chest over his beer belly. “Wow, looks like the wife really had it out for him, doesn’t it?”
Normally, Jude was grateful that he’d been assigned to work with Brent as his superior, but now he had to hold himself back not to blurt out how much seemed wrong about this crime scene. “We don’t know that yet,” he said carefully.
Brent laughed. “You’re still such a good guy, Jude, you give everyone the benefit of the doubt.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

Consulting the Surreal Oracle, and another excerpt for #WIPpet Wednesdays

When I wrote up my report on the last Villa Diodati workshop a while ago, there was something I forgot, and that was to explain a little game we played called The Surreal Oracle. Ben Rosenbaum introduced the game at a workshop in southern France a couple years back, and we’ve been playing it off and on at Villa Diodati ever since. The rules are fairly simple. Each person writes down five random questions and five random answers on a piece of paper, like this:

The Surreal Oracle

Then you go around the circle and ask you neighbor the first question on your list, and he or she answers with their own first answer. To mix it up a bit, after you’ve finished a round, you can switch directions, or change places at the table, so it isn’t always the same people asking and answering. With a group of crazy writers, you can get some amazing answers out of the surreal oracle. Of course, most of the time, the questions and answers don’t fit, but enough of them do that whenever we play, I usually end up laughing so hard it hurts. Here are some of the questions and answers we had at the last workshop:

Ruth: How can you tell an ass from a donkey?
Jeff: How should I know? The sun was in my eyes and I was finding it difficult to grasp the shot glass.

Sylvia: What do you think is my most attractive feature?
Christian: That’s the worst pick-up line ever.

Jeremy: What advice would you give to your daughter?
Ruth: I think it should be Floris.

Floris: What is the best aspect of good foreplay?
Grayson: Slow torture will pretty much work every time.

Sylvia: How do you motivate yourself to write?
Jeff: All I remember is the cult leader, white smoke, and the speakers blasting ABBA.

I highly recommend the game, especially in a round of creative types. 🙂

On to the Nanowrimo front, I continue to make excellent ground on the new project and am now at 43,579 words for the month. At this rate, I might win it after all! I hope everyone else is doing great and happy with their progress.

So now that I have fulfilled my duty to my fellow workshoppers, and posted my Nanowrimo progress, I can continue on to Wednesday’s normal feature, WIPpet Wednesday! My math today (11-27) goes like this: 27-11=16. So I’m giving you 16 sentences from my still unnamed fugitive story:

She thought about buying a gun, but she hated the things, now even more than before, and she didn’t know how to use them anyway. She would just have to make sure that the bad guys didn’t catch up with her. She paid for the big ticket items with her credit card, stowed them in her station wagon (officially a crossover, but she still thought of it as a station wagon). She’d parked in the darkest corner of the the parking lot, and she used her screw drivers to steal a front license plate from a nearby car.
Then she returned to the store and bought food, pens, some basic medicines, a couple of spiral notebooks, and some books — in several consecutive runs through the cash register, paying with her debit card and asking for the limit of a hundred dollars cash back each time. She paid in cash for a wig, hair dye, and some large sunglasses.
When she was finished with her shopping spree, she stole a few more front license plates, this time from the employee parking lot, replacing them with a couple of the themed plates on a North Carolina background that she’d bought. She only hoped that would keep the owners from noticing the theft right away.
After she left the superstore, she drove south on Fayetteville Road and pulled into the parking lot of a nearby church. Luckily, urban planning in North Carolina was very nearly non-existent, and outside of the actual city centers, suburbs and shopping malls and industrial parks were like bird droppings on the landscape, usually with plenty of undeveloped fields and trees between the buildings.
In the deserted parking lot, Amber took off her own license plates and replaced the front with one proclaiming, “Hell was so full I came back.” Then she replaced the back with one of the stolen plates. She didn’t want to get rid of her own plates so close to home — although, when she thought about it, once they started going after her, they would be able to trace her easily enough to the superstore up-road.
Across the street from the church was a thickly wooded area. She jogged across the street and hid the license plates under some bushes not far from the road.
By the time she was done, it was almost midnight — which meant she could plunder her bank accounts one last time.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

The Parrots of Bad Cannstatt

A couple of days ago, this is what I saw when I looked out of the window of my study:

The Parrots of Bad Cannstatt

The Parrots of Bad Cannstatt

They make an insane racket, but every time I see them it makes me happy. They’ve become kind of a mascot for me, the way they’ve made a home for themselves in the cold, gray city. They don’t migrate — they can’t fly far enough. I find it amazing that they can survive a German winter.

A lot of locals can’t stand the Papageien and their loud screeching, but I even forgive them that. We’ve got good windows, and they’re a cheerful spot of color on a gray day.

I’ve written about the parrots of Bad Cannstatt before, for the speech I gave the one and only time I was a Guest of Honor at a con. Afterwards, it was published in the Internet Review of Science Fiction, and you can still read it in their archives. (It’s pretty long, so I won’t reblog it here.)

With parrots sitting around in trees outside, things have to be good, right? And they are. The still unnamed mystery is coming along wonderfully, and I am now at 35,700 odd words for the month — almost caught up with where I should be for Nano! I still don’t know what the mystery is going to be, but I figure when Nano is over, I can sit down and do some brainstorming. Amber can keep running without me knowing why. 🙂

I’ve also made the changes in Island of Glass suggested by my beta readers. One more read-through and an editor, and then I will hopefully still be able to publish before Christmas!

Back to Shadow of Stone again for #WIPpet Wednesday, and a Nano update – kinda

Yesterday and today, I had to take a break from Nano-ing in order to finish the final editing pass of Shadow of Stone. On my personal list of priorities, it’s more important to me that I make the paperback version of SoS available before Christmas than it is that I “win” Nano. So now I am going through the interior reviewer app provided by CreateSpace to make sure that the formatting really is as good as it looked in my DOC and PDF files. When I made the book of my dad’s memoirs this summer, there was a very odd glitch with several lines written over each other that wasn’t there in my files. So it’s important that I at least glance at each page. With 500+ pages, that takes a while.

I’ve also been a bit slowed down by some additional research that I need to do for A Wasted Land. Some of the settings are ones I haven’t used before. And while I’ve been to Old Sarum on a wonderful research trip I took with my hubby while I was working on Yseult, that’s a very long time ago now, and my memory needs some refreshing.

Old Sarum by John Constable

So right now, I’m only at about 6500 words for the month.

Anyway, since I’m caught up in Shadow of Stone again, you get another excerpt from that this week. After today, I should (mostly) be back to A Wasted Land for the rest of the month. Maybe I will even be able to catch up and get my 50,000 words written!

Today’s date is 11/6, so I am going to chapter 11 to give you 6 paragraphs, from the pov of the boy who will grow up to be St. Gildas:

Every day Gildas spent at the monastery was another day he hated Cador and Kustennin more. The only problem was, he couldn’t hate Cador, because his foster father had probably saved his life. But he wanted to, because Cador was the reason he was in this miserable monastery in the first place.
He would just have to be content with hating Kustennin.
From what he heard, Kustennin was now fighting for Arthur, making a hero of himself. He’d helped take back Dyn Tagell from a traitorous sub-king and the “Sons of Caw,” and now he was earning more praise and glory in battles along the Sabrina Estuary.
While Gildas had spent the last months in a pig sty.
He threw the slops over the fence into the pen, and the pigs began grunting happily at the leftovers. Gildas hated their squealing, the way it went from bass low to hysterical high, hated the way they wallowed in their own offal, hated their smell and their obesity; most of all, he hated that he had to feed them. His life in the villa outside of Lindinis with Cador had not been pleasant, not like his early childhood in Bro Leon with his mother, where his every wish was tended to, sometimes before he even voiced it. At least in Lindinis he had not been lowered to feeding the pigs.
Arthur was the one he should hate, he knew that well enough. But he’d only met Arthur a handful of times, and on those occasions the Dux Bellorum never did anything more than pat Gildas on the shoulder. It was hard to hate someone who had no more feelings for you than a pat.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

Amazon trying to re-Kindle interest in KDP Select: The new “Countdown Deals”

I published my first ebook, Yseult, in January 2012, pretty much simultaneous with the introduction of KDP Select. I opted in and set my first promotion for a mere week after publication — and I didn’t have a clue how lucky I was. I got a couple of quick reviews as a result of review copies I’d given away, and my brand new little baby (or rather big fat hunking baby — the hard copy book comes in at over 600 pages) got picked up by no less than Pixel of Ink, which at the time was *the* way to ensure that a freebie promotion would be successful.

Back then, using free days with KDP Select was an excellent way for a new indie writer to gain exposure and (after the free run) sell books. That first month as an indie publisher, I sold 242 books. I added more titles, mostly collections of my previously published short stories, and by spacing regular free runs across all my titles, I could increase my visibility as a whole and ensure that I continued to sell books.

But then Amazon made a couple of “corrections” to how free downloads were counted towards popularity and sales rankings (the infamous “Amazon algorithms”), and they hid the top 100 free book listings on pages that didn’t as easily show up when browsing. Free days became less and less effective as a marketing tool, to the point where it now is basically useless, unless you have a simultaneous ad running on Bookbub (which is very pricey).

Nowadays, you have to pay to give books away.

As a result, I and many, many others have been pulling out of KDP Select. Why have your books exclusive to Amazon when it doesn’t do you any good, right? Now Amazon has introduced something new to make Select more attractive to writers again: what they call “Countdown Deals.” This is how it works:

– Your book can be discounted for up to seven days. The duration of the sale is visible on the book’s page on Amazon, as well as the regular price, so that readers can see that they really are getting a “deal.”

– Your royalty rate remains the same even while the book is on sale. So instead of getting only 35% on a book marked down to 99c, you get 70%. The income is still naturally quite a bit less, but if it results in increased exposure, it’s worth it. And it certainly beats giving your book away.

– Amazon has set up a dedicated “Kindle Countdown Deals” page at www.amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals – but of course there is no guarantee your Countdown Deal will get listed.

I don’t have many books in KDP Select anymore, and those that I do are basically there because I forgot to take them out, or I’m too swamped to upload them elsewhere. But hey, I’ve decided to give it a whirl, see if it’s any better than free days. Amazon has made it quite easy to set up a promotion. Here’s a screen shot of the first page of my books:

On the dashboard, you click on “Manage Benefits” and then just fill in the details for your sale. I decided to go with a seven day, single price 99c sale of my short story collection Dragon Time to test the waters, starting tomorrow Nov. 4 and going to Nov. 10. You can also have a sale where the price gradually returns to normal. For example, for my Dragon Time sale, I could have increased the price halfway through the sale to 1.99 if I had wanted to.

It will be interesting to see what good this does, if any. I’m suspecting the exposure won’t be enough to make KDP Select attractive enough to return to, at least not for most of us. But we’ll see — starting tomorrow.

I will naturally report my results when the promotion is over.

Related posts:

E-book promotions: Countdown – meh. Permafree – yay! (kinda)

“Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select”

Nanowrimo plans, & another excerpt from Island of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

No original posts from me last week — I was too busy preparing for the Villa Diodati workshop, reading the stories for critique and whipping the beginning of A Wasted Land into shape. It was wonderful, but more on that in a separate post.

I’ve decided to do Nanowrimo after all this year, and will “use” it to hopefully finish A Wasted Land. Yes, I know that’s against the rules, but anything to spur me on, right? 🙂 Right now, the novel is at almost exactly 25,000 words, which will make it very easy to calculate whether I get the 50,000 words in the month of November written. And I’m pretty sure that with another 50,000 words, I will have a complete first draft.

So I’m putting it aside temporarily. In the meantime, I will be working on brainstorming and writing the next two books in the Glassmakers Trilogy. For that reason, I’m returning to Island of Glass for WIPpet Wednesday this week.

Since it’s October, and I’m not in the mood for doing a lot of creative math, 🙂 I’m giving you ten short paragraphs from the novella:

They came around a corner on the quay — only to be confronted by a commotion ahead, near one of the main wharves on Murano.
Chiara laid a hand on Pasquale’s arm and pointed down the canal. “Look, something seems to be wrong.”
He too had already noticed and was squinting against the sun in the direction she indicated.
“Those are our relatives,” he said, taking her hand. “Come on!”
As they ran down the fondamenta, Chiara realized he was right. A number of their uncles and aunts and cousins were pacing along the quay and gesticulating wildly. Even from this distance, she could hear raised voices.
Chiara’s unease grew the closer they got. Now she could see that her family members seemed to be pleading with, or cursing — or both — soldiers wearing the uniform of the Princes of Foscari. The most powerful family in the Council of Ten, the governing body of nobles who ruled the Empire of Venice. The soldiers, however, ignored the combined hysteria of Dragoni and Garzoni, and were boarding a boat that stood at the wharf.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Chiara called out as soon as they were within hearing distance.
Her aunt Ilaria hurried over to them and pulled her into a tearful embrace. “Your uncle Gianfranco!”
Chiara felt sweat break out on the palms of her hands, and she took a deep breath. “Is he dead?”
“No, no, no!” Uncle Massimo cried. “Worse! He has been arrested!”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

Experimenting with Fast Draft — and another free ebook

Since my progress this month during Nanowrimo has been less than stellar, when I heard that Candace Havens was doing her Fast Draft and Revision Hell course again (this time entitled “The Book in a Month Club”), I jumped at the chance. I’ve read about this course on other folks’ blogs before, and I’ve really wanted to give it a shot, but it seemed that every time it was offered, I had conflicts. I have conflicts this time too, but I decided to go for it anyway.

The basic idea is to send the internal editor for a hike and write twenty pages a day. That sounds like quite a challenge, since an exceptional day for me is when I write six pages. I’m a trained literary critic, with a Ph.D. in English Literature, and my internal critic can be a pretty stubborn gal. But this time, I bribed her with a trip to Thailand, which has got to be nicer than Central Europe right now. She’s still dropping me nagging notes on occasion, but until now, the writing is going quite well. The first day, Monday, I wrote six pages, the second day eight, and today I’m shooting for ten. I realize that’s still very far removed from twenty, but anyone who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis knows that I’m all about writers not beating themselves up. There are enough people out there will to do that for us. If we can’t learn to be our own best cheering squad, facing all the rejection and negative feedback is going to be pretty tough.

Anyway, back to Fast Draft. My accepting attitude of my own limitations as a writer (and a human being *g*) doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to take on new challenges, even if they sound absolutely impossible. But I’m also in favor of being realistic about those challenges. If I can get a single twenty page day out of this exercise, I will thrilled. It’s all about learning new habits, after all, and even one 20-page day will be something completely new for me. I did get close once, while I was writing Yseult. It was a showdown scene near the end of the book, full of tension and emotion, and it practically wrote itself. By the end of the day, when I checked my word count, I was amazed to realize that I had produced 18 pages, without even really trying.

It has never happened again. 🙂

So I’m trying to learn how to make it happen a little more often. One of the other gals in the Fast Draft loop pointed us in the direction of a great blog post, “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day.” (That, btw, is twice the wordcount I’m shooting for with Fast Draft! *g*) In that post, Rachel points out that one of the tricks of writing more is Enthusiasm. Duh, right? But how often do we find ourselves working on a scene we think has to be there because we need that transition, or we have to introduce that character, or we read somewhere that our protagonist has to cross the first threshold — and we’re just bored with the whole thing? I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve ended up during the rewriting phase trashing a lot of those scenes.

The lovely lesson is, if it doesn’t excite you, or you can’t find a way to make it excite you, don’t write it. 🙂

Rachel says a lot more wonderful, wise stuff, and I strongly recommend that everyone head over there and read the post. I may even buy the corresponding ebook, myself.

Also, Shadow of Stone is free today and tomorrow, November 28-29. If you don’t have it yet, and you like historical fantasy, head on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy! I will probably be taking it out of KDP Select after this run. Before Christmas, I need to take some time out from Fast Draft and get a couple of my books up for B&N and Kobo. Not to mention finally formatting them for hard copy, sigh. I love the independence of ebooks, but I’m not a big fan of all the extra work …