Posts Tagged ‘ word count ’

The Weekender for April 29 – May 1: Negative Advice

Welcome to another blast from the past! The Weekender series is here for another critical thought for your writerly minds. This week I want to talk about writing advice. Two weeks ago I was at I-Con 30 and took the opportunity to sit in on two writer panels: “Managing Your Writing Business” and “Breaking Into Print”.

The business writing panel was really about financials and managing your taxes. This is good information for those who are knee-deep in freelancing or working on their own but for this guy, I was out of my league. Luckily after 10-minutes my friend called that he had arrived and I had to quietly slip out to meet him & get his badge / ticket.

The “Breaking Into Print” panel was much more interesting and featured a number of authors, editors and others who deal with the ‘industry’. The information was nothing new: perseverance is key, keep writing, you’ll get a ton of rejections but if your work is good you’ll get an acceptance, follow submission guidelines to the letter, beware of people trying to scam you.

One interesting point that was made was a panel member stating that we should all be trying to network with each other and them as well. The opportunity to speak to people within the industry was there and we need to make the effort to speak to them. Everyone took the hint and at the end there was a big rush to the table to get some words in. I took the opportunity to thank some of the panelists for their time and advice and then focused on one writer who has been published. This is when things got strange.

I asked a question I’ve heard conflicting information about: ‘how many people should you query at a time?’ My question was met with a vague response on how it doesn’t matter and to simply query. He asked me what I write and when I said novel-length work I was told his company is only looking for short stories. He suggested I write some. I told him I really only write novels but I have a complete work that I’m looking to send out. His answer: You may think it’s complete but it’s probably not. This was said in a dismissive tone. At that time I accepted his business card, smiled and left the room.

I’m not sure where these were from or their intent but it felt condescending and gave the impression that I am incapable of writing a novel-length (80,000 word) book unless I’ve written short stories. Personally I think this is completely wrong and to pass on advice like that is guiding people in the wrong direction. Spirit Hackers is almost 73k because that’s how long it is. I intend for Loopback to surpass that word count.

So was this advice I was given out of line or do shorter works really contribute so heavily to novels that we’re doomed without dabbling in them first? Sound off and let me know what you think.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mind The Gap

In my previous post I waxed poetically about #1k1hr and the amazing things this meme & writing schedule has done for Sprit Hackers. I have been getting writing done and making real progress in this WIP. Surprisingly, I’ve made some friends along the way via Twitter and this hashtag. That’s been fun too since Becca and I did a session at the same time and then bragged our progress to each other when 60 minutes were up.

All these thoughts of writing and the schedule that I’ve put in place brought me to the scary task of seeing my writing progress on this book since I’ve started. Now it’s no secret that I’ve written on and off for a while as priorities have changed and while I’ve worked on non-writing projects. The surprising thing I found when reviewing my writing stints are the amount of gaps in my writing. If I had just kept going at even a slow pace, this book would be long done!

I am 2-days shy of the re-written draft of Spirit Hackers being TWO YEARS OLD! That’s right. Chapter 1 in my rewrite was created on September 22, 2008. September and October were good for the book since I got 7 chapters written but then HOLY MOLY!! Chapter 8’s creation date is August 12, 2009! I took a year off. Wow. There are 2-3 month gaps from then on, spanning chapter 8 through 20.

Then…. then I began my writing schedule and the world became my oyster. The 21st chapter of my WIP was created on August 4 of this year and I haven’t looked back. I’ve written 17,000 words and I’m mid-way though the 29th chapter. Now of course I’m still a ways off from my goal of 80k but I think it’s incredible that I can have such large gaps in this book’s creation to then come back with a fierce energy to get it done. My output has impressed me and all I can hope now is that it gets me to place I want more than anything: your bookshelf.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

So six months going by between blog posts it okay, right? 🙂

Well I’m here 128 days since my last update to Copious Notes and it’s been an interesting journey so far in 2010. My desire to blog has been non-existent and it’s really through some Twitter & Facebook updates that I’ve been posting my small successes when writing.

Some of my time writing has been on Spirit Hackers and other time has been on some freelancing that I picked up. I applied for and was accepted to do freelance work for Demand Studios which is a similar setup to Suite101. The big difference between the two companies is that Demand provides a list of possible topics to write on and the pay is set up differently. Demand pays per article (though there are some that ad-share) while Suite101 is exclusively ad-share. In my time with Suite, one payment came and it was fairly small.

That’s a big reason I opted to end my contract with Suite. I would assume one would need to write an abundance of content in order to see a return on that work. In addition, you’re writing essentially for free until anything comes in. Demand limits you to their list on what to write but if you’re willing to branch out, there’s a lot to choose from. In the end I’ve seen a great return on my time with Demand and there’s no commitments that I can’t meet.

With Spirit Hackers, the time has gone in waves. March and April were KILLER months for my writing. The bulk of my writing was done during those few weeks and while I had no daily goals, I left my keyboard satisfied with my output. I haven’t touched my novel since the end of April but in updating my stats for this blog’s sidebar, I’m feeling good about jumping back in.

Here’s the stats for the book since the last entry here: 14,356 words written in 128 days. That averages to 112.15625 words per day. Overall that’s pretty crummy progress but writing is writing. I do like that 14K words were spit out of my brain and also that the novel now stands at 36,138 words total. The book continues to take shape and I’m still very thankful for my outlining I did at the start of this project.

Will I get this book completed in 2010? I’m more than 1/3 done but only time will tell.


*pokes head out*

Anyone here?

First, let me blow the dust off this place.

Holy crap, I’m blogging! Wow, this post has been a long time coming. I’ve actually been pondering when to get out a blog post for a couple of weeks and I’m just coming off a 90-minute writing stint on Spirit Hackers. I’m going to try to keep this blog post somewhat short because while my posts have been few and very far between, I think long ones are a bitch to read, so I’m gonna try to keep it brief.

NaNoWriMo: This year I actually participated in National Novel Writing Month and I will say it was a spectacular failure for me. My grand total was 2,928 words, which is lightyears short of the 50,000 word goal. I really only wrote in three sessions and due to my work schedule I had no opportunities to get into the social aspect of the experience with meeting people and participating in write-ins.

Looking back on NaNo, my biggest enemy was time and also a lack of planning. I didn’t have a plot until November 7th and even then it was just an idea. There was no outline and nothing else. The bottom line: I had no story. I knew it would be a near-impossible task but now I know that unless you go into November with guns-a-blazing and enough ammunition you won’t get far. I’ll likely try NaNo again next year and see what happens.

Spirit Hackers: Contrary to (my imagined) popular belief, Spirit Hackers has not been abandoned and I have been getting words down into it. Granted it’s been slow as a snail but writing is writing. I haven’t forgotten about my old friend and I still believe in the story. I still believe that this can be a successful novel and something that has the potential to sell.

So here’s the overall breakdown of the book’s progress: As of my last update to this blog’s sidebar the book was at 30 pages with a word count of 11,395 words. Based on Scrivener’s stats, the book currently stands at 49 pages with a word count of 18,448. Now of course I’ve gotten writing done here and there since that last update so this jump is a compilation of many sessions. Today’s session was a good one though at 1,421 words, which is 10% of that updated word count. It’s up to chapter 12, which is probably a quarter-done right now.

The story still has legs and looks good. I’m still hopeful that once it’s eventually finished, things will move a lot faster and I can get it edited, out to some betas and then submitted for agents & publishers.

Podcasting: My podcast The Geekcast is still going strong after it’s re-launch back in February. I’ve moved into two episodes a week with two separate co-hosts to make it easier. While the show takes up a bunch of time, it’s much easier to do with other people rather than solo, which is how I did it for three years. I think writing is similar to that where you don’t have anyone to rely on or to hold you accountable. As a solo enterprise, writing has those pitfalls of self-discipline, which for me is rough.

Alright, so that’s it for now. I’m hoping to slowly get back into updating this place more often than every four months but like everything else, we’ll see how that goes. If anyone still checks into this place and reads this post, I want to thank you for believing in me and for sharing in my experience.

Be well.

A Pathetic Start


It’s been a little busy in my life the past few days, as you can see from the lack of entries. I wanted to get this post done, since I promised Auria Cortes I would post my current progress of Mars. On Friday, I tried jumping back into the creative mindset and resumed my work on Mars, my next book. I had written two teaser chapters and it’s only four pages, but then I stopped so I could focus on the Robert book and get it beta-ready.

Anyhow, Friday was a bust and I struggled for an hour to write. There were a bunch of starts and stops and I think the words I put down show a struggle. The words don’t flow. I have a scene in my head and I decided to lead into that with something else, and that held me up. The picture in my head that I can vividly see for days, still has not been put down to paper. That is something I *must* do. I’m hoping to get more of that done tonight, so we’ll see.

So with great displeasure I present my latest word-count:

Friday’s progress: 621 words, just over 1 page.

Shifting Gears


So with my Robert book now in the hands of my four faithful beta readers, I have no more work to do for now on this story. I can go ahead and shift gears into resuming my work on Mars. I know this is going to be a very interesting endeavor.

For starters, I’ve never written a book before. With my Robert book finished I’m now moving further into uncharted territory with starting a second novel. I’ve never written two books! This should be exciting.

I think the hardest thing to start will be changing my mindset and focus from an editing standpoint to a creative stance while trying to imagine this new story that I’ve seeded. The book is very short, with only two chapters finished. Both of these are teasers and the whole thing is only about four pages.

As I resume my writing, I’ll post my word counts and let everyone know the progress of this story. I’m still not 100% sure where I want to focus it, but I have it narrowed down to two ideas. I’ll go wherever the book takes me. The other thing is I don’t have a goal for my words so I won’t be posting any progress meters showing how much I’ve completed. I believe a book is as long as it wants to be. I’ll be done writing it when it wants to be done.

I think this will be exciting.

Working the Ends

Edited Document

I spent most of Friday working on my Robert story and focusing on a major item on my to-do list: the final chapter. This chapter is kind of a wrapping up of the loose ends and it’s something I’m finding somewhat difficult. Specifically, I’m trying for it to not sound rushed nor try to cram too much information into it. The first thing I did was split it into two chapters. I saw that the bulk of the chapter dealt with items relating to most of the climax but then there were items wrapping up a sub-plot. The sub-plot was moved to a new final chapter and I am going to need to expand it.

The now second-to-last chapter was something that I feel flows better and I’ve bulked it up pretty well. I need to give it another once-over but I think it’s damn good in its current form. I’m going to focus on the now-final chapter when I edit next time (hopefully tonight) and work on expanding it. All I did was cut & paste the text into this new area and I haven’t touched it. This new end consists of two paragraphs. Hopefully by the time I’m done with it, it’ll be about two pages. I’m also thinking of turning it into an epilogue but I don’t know if that is even worth it. Aren’t those cliche?

For now, the editing is going well. Still no title, but I’m adding bulk to the story. Every time I turn around, my word count has grown. I remember reading that a book really adds words during the editing process and I didn’t believe it at all. Only until I began this process did I see it’s totally true. I always associated editing with cutting out things but with each word or sentence I delete, I’m adding twice that. I hope this all comes through to my beta readers and on the final draft when it’s published.

We shall see.

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