Wednesday, 31 July 2013

July 31st – 633,266

Several hours of steady rain this morning, and the fact the skies are very grey and overcast has, literally, dampened everybody’s enthusiasm for doing anything. As a consequence, I’ve gone back on what I said yesterday, and hit my 3,088 words before lunchtime rather than have them drag out into mid-afternoon.

So here I now sit, only just shy of 2/3 of the way to my target, and only 7 months into the year. By simple arithmetic that puts me almost exactly one month ahead of schedule (since I shouldn’t, in theory be at this point until the end of August).

That generates a nice warm feeling, and since I’ve somehow managed to get more sleep last night, I’m feeling better than I did.

Now to get on with something else entirely, ah well, no rest, or whatever…

Mind you, thanks to a very successful prank pulled by my son last night, I am going to have to spend a lot of time plotting and then executing the perfect revenge. Are you listening, Russell…? I suspect you’re going to become a minor character in my next book, and I’m going to have to devise a terrible fate for you.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

30th July – 631,178

Today I was a good boy, and went back to my main work in progress, hitting 3,402 words. I have noticed one thing about my progress though – I’m getting slower as the challenge goes on. A few months ago I was hitting 3,000+ words before 10am, and even in June I was usually finishing by lunchtime. For the last few weeks, the boot has been well and truly elsewhere, and today I finished at about two thirty. The writing still seems to be coming easily to me, it’s not because I’m getting bored with the plot, or because I’m approaching a block, I’m simply slowing down.

Obviously Marion’s poor health from the fall last week hasn’t helped, keeping my mind busy and necessitating rather more interruptions than I was having to deal with in, say, April, and that may well be having an impact. Of course, the fact I was often getting up very early to write, something I’m not now doing had an effect too.

Overall though I cannot escape the inevitable conclusion – the waters of this challenge are getting thicker and harder to swim through.

Monday, 29 July 2013

July 29th – 627,776

I suppose many of you will make comments along the lines of “he did it again”, and I have to hold my hand up and accept that, yes I did. Today, I managed to write 3,416 words in double quick time on a completely new story idea that I spent a good proportion of the early hours of this morning formulating in my head – instead of sleeping.

There was a very simple reason – our three smoke detectors in the house, all decided to start giving out battery replacement beeps in the aforementioned early hours. Not all at the same time, but all of them during the morning. Quite why they don’t give you a warning during the day time, I don’t know, but they do so at night – I guess it’s something to do with the temperature. So every hour or so, I was being disturbed by a persistent beep, every three or four minutes, until I’d get up and take the battery out of it, then go back to bed, only for it to repeat with the next one.

Since I couldn’t get back to sleep, my mind started working, and sleep became an even more remote possibility, and at some point my brain switched from frustration mode, into creative one, and bingo a complete story dropped into my head. By this morning I had, names, location, occupations, characters, appearances even wardrobe details in my head so it was one of those stories that just cried out “launch”.

Three thousand four hundred odd words later, the story is launched, and I can honestly say I think it’s got the legs to convert into a well-rounded novel. For once, if the story pans out at the right length, I can’t see a sequel to it, at all. Never mind, by the time I do get round to getting back to it, I’ll probably have a different thought pattern.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

July 28th – 623,360

Well, after thunderstorms earlier in the week, today we had rather more than just a breeze, so between the two my father’s new conservatory roof got a workout. Guess what? It leaked, and it rattled. Admittedly it only leaked when the rain was at its heaviest, but since it needed doing, this morning was the time it got done.

I hate heights, working up a ladder doesn’t even get close to being on my top ten list of favourite pastimes, it’s way down toward the bottom of the overall list too. Still we removed the panel we’d left loosest, just for this purpose and redid the sealant at the side wall, then when we put the panel back we used more screws this time. So far so good, but of course, it hasn’t rained yet so we’ll see. At least it’s not rattling around in the wind, so that’s a good sign.

My writing time was of course, somewhat interrupted by the physical activity, so I only just managed to get the minimum done, hitting 3,157 words taking me to the 623k mark. So, that’s two ticks on the to do list.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

July 27th – 620,203

Well, I suppose a poetic image would be me kicking the 620k barrier to one side and striding through into the new section of the challenge, but truth be told, I don’t do poetry, and I don’t feel very much like creating poetic imagery.

A good job then that today I’ve been busy crating away a dialogue heavy passage, where the banter of the conversation seeks to conceal the very important decision the leading lady has to make, with the support of the other protagonists. This life changing decision will lead in a totally different direction and is a very heavyweight one to make, yet in the context of the book, it needs to be treated with a veneer of flippancy that prevents the conversation being at odds with the rest of the book.

Having written 3,235 words today, I’m a little concerned the story isn’t where I intended it to be, but I was having so much fun getting the in-jokes between the protagonists and the odd sly double entendre they use to each other correct, I suspect it’ll get a lot of red pen at the editing stage.

Still it can’t get red penned there if it’s not there in the first place though.

Mind you, writing this much complex dialogue isn’t the easiest thing to do, and I have to say I’m cream crackered.

Friday, 26 July 2013

26th July, 616,968.

Well, I finished my writing stint much later in the day today, but I did at least manage to get 3,574 words down, taking me 18 days ahead of schedule.

We’re having a quiet time now, not doing a lot of anything. Marion is still recovering from her fall, her back is sore, but not as bad, and the bruising is starting to show up. We’d have been out and about for sure, because the weather is nice at the moment, although a little breeze would be good just to move the air around.

Still, at least this way, we’re not spending money by going anywhere or buying anything – so there’s one good reason for not complaining about staying at home. I suspect we’ll have a very quiet weekend too, but we’ll see if her back makes a sudden improvement. At least she’s moving a little more freely now, and the new meds seem to be working better – she doesn’t have those disturbing vacant moments anymore, so that is a very good thing.

Ah well, tomorrow I’ll pass 620k all being well, so that’ll be another cause to celebrate.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

July 25th – 613,394

I’m trying to work out how I managed to write anything at all today, despite actually getting 3,059 words input through the keyboard. Okay, it helped it was a very dialogue heavy chapter, the conversation setting up the story while at the same time referencing the previous two books in the trilogy, something I find trips off the end of my fingers like dancing letters. I make far more spelling mistakes as I’m writing this kind of scene too, because I’m thinking two or even three sentences ahead of my fingers. By then end of the page it sometimes looks like the entire page is covered in red and blue squiggly lines – although I do stop and correct them at that point.

No, my problem today relates back to last night. As I said Marion had a bad fall a couple of days ago and last night was wincing and almost yelping just trying to get into bed, let alone get comfortable enough to sleep. It’s one of those situations where you can have little impact in terms of help, and that is incredibly frustrating. She did however settle down, and because she found one comfortable position, she stayed in it, throughout the night – again unusual. Her breathing was shallow enough that I couldn’t hear it either, and the combination unnerved my subconscious.

I spent the whole night, lying there, watching and listening for the slightest movement, making sure she was still with me, despite knowing she hadn’t suffered any life-threatening injuries. On the odd occasion I went to sleep for a few minutes, I found myself jerking awake to watch and listen again, and at the same time forcing myself not to touch her, make her jump, cause her pain or wake her up. She is of course, a lot better today, not back to normal yet, but a lot better nevertheless.

As an end result I am totally shattered today, a spent force, with little inclination to do anything – which is how I find it hard to comprehend I hit just over 3k before lunch.

Everything though was snapped into perspective when I saw the horrific images from the train crash in Spain. The trackside image of the actual crash, even if the clip only lasted three seconds, was truly horrible to see. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

July 24th – 610,335.

Wow, we had some heavy thunderstorms in the last 36 hours. Far heavier than we’re used to in this part of the world. At times you could almost read by the illumination of the lightning, it was that continuous. Still, at least it’s calmed down a bit now, and we’re left with humid sunshine.

The garden went from parched to drenched in that period too – so now doubt we’re going to end up with weeds growing at a rate of knots too, so I guess I’ll have to brave the heat and get out there, maybe, tomorrow.

In the meantime my writing today has been a patchy rather than continuous – mainly due to finishing the current work in progress with only 1,356 words. I’d realised the story was reaching its climactic ending, but I guess it took me by surprise. That’s probably because it’s been left at a bit of a cliff hanger, ideal for a sequel.

As a result I needed to pick up another piece to work on, but after some 490 words on that I realised I was starting to feel like the story was running out of steam – a sure fire indicator, I needed to put it back on the back-burner and pick something else up. That turned out to be the right decision, hitting 1,659 words on a third piece, and taking my word count to a very comfortable 3,505 for the day.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

23rd July – 606,830

Well, somehow, over and around the crises of the day, I’ve managed to get 3,062 words written, but I’m not really sure how.

The day started out badly with Marion taking a tumble as she got dressed, leading to a graze on her back, and a lot of pain. On top of that, we’ve been concerned about the side effects of her new pain-killers so we bit the bullet and went back to the doctor’s this morning, although we had to wait nearly an hour to see him, but at least we saw him. He’s took her off the new tablets and given her yet more different ones, and we can only hope those will work, although she can’t take them long term.

She’s now been told to rest, and for once she’s doing as she’s told, which is a sign of the amount of pain she’s actually in, so work time for me is a question of snatching a few minutes here, a few minutes there, so please excuse the brevity of this post.


Monday, 22 July 2013

July 22nd – 603,768.

We’ve had a very busy day, in and around three writing stints, so it's teatime and I’ve only just sat down to write my blog entry.

I managed 3,232 words today, not quite as long as the last few days, but still well ahead of the target, and I’m now well over 17 days in front of the relentless schedule.

As the day has worn on, the temperature has climbed toward the highs experienced last week and frankly, despite the respite the last couple of days offered, I’m starting to wilt again. As today it’s humid rather than dry, it actually feels worse.

Still at least the thunderstorms have held off, meaning we can keep the doors and windows open to allow some semblance of fresh air to flow through the house.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

July 21st – Passed 600,000 today!

That’s it, I’m now officially 60% of the way through this challenge.

Today I hit 4,084 words, taking me to a grand total of 600,536 words for the year, more than 47k words (and 17 days) ahead of schedule. Given that only 6 weeks ago, I was only four and a quarter days ahead of schedule, I’m really pleased to have made up so much ground, and in fact for those 6 weeks I’m averaging over 3,580 words a day, and have never dropped below 3,050 words in any single day. In total, I’ve now completed 9 books am three quarters of the way through a tenth, with two  10-20k starts of other books, and a myriad of 2-3k starts on other stories.

In fact my fund of incomplete stories is larger than it was before I started, so I guess it’s unlikely I’m going to run out of steam any time soon.

There have been times during the challenge when it’s started to wear a little, especially during the last week when the heat had become unrelenting and unbearable – I don’t understand how people work in climates where it’s like that for months on end without air conditioning. The heat, or more specifically the lack of sleep due to the hot nights have made it more difficult to sit down and just write. The weather broke, a little, yesterday, and even more today with some welcome rain, although only a light drizzle, meaning I would hope to get some sleep tonight. Next week though is going to be hot with frequent thunderstorms, so we’ll have humidity to deal with as well as the heat.

I think the thing that keeps me going, apart from the constant fear of humiliation by a very public failure, has been the old adage – write every day. For me, that has proven itself one of those peculiar pieces of advice given to every novice writer that actually works. I write every day, witness the numbers above, and I write before I do anything else major for the company, apart from answering e-mails or checking sales.

One of my contacts on Facebook, a fellow author, asked a pertinent question yesterday – what am I doing with these? The answer is quite simple – I aim to get the published, but I know, just as I hope most of you know, writing the first draft does not produce the necessary quality to make it a publishable manuscript. Back of them is going to have to spend time being edited, both by me and by others, before they get close to seeing the light of day.

I guess, if 2013 is going to be the year in which I managed to write 1,000,000 words, then 2014 is going to be the year I edit most of them. There again, I’m also earmarking 2014 as a research year for several of my historical projects, so the first opportunity to attempt to repeat this feat looks likely to be 2015… or is that 2016…

Saturday, 20 July 2013

July 20th – 596,452 words.

A temporary respite from the heat today has had a definite effect on my word count – up to 4,277 for the day and it looks likely that I’ll pass that 600k barrier a day ahead of my own expectations.

So, without the weather to moan about, what on earth am I going to fill this blog entry with?

I could be cheeky, say nothing, type a full stop and leave it there, but that’s not my style. I guess I’ll have to talk about sport then. After all we have the Open Golf with an English guy tying for second, the Ashes cricket, where England seem to be in pretty much the ascendancy, and the final Alpine stage of the Tour de France, which an Englishman (born to English parents in Kenya if you want to split hairs about it) also very much in the ascendancy. Seems like one of those big days for English sport, so wait till later when everything implodes – that will be a normal day for us!


Friday, 19 July 2013

July 19th – 592,175

I will not moan about the heat, again.

I will not moan about the heat, again.

This heat isn’t helping. Blast, I've broken the resolution already. Circumstances combined today to ensure I didn’t get much writing done this morning, and I’ve ended up writing through the heat of the afternoon in order to get my word count to 3,382 words for the day.

At least that has shouldered the 590k mark out of the way and I’m within proverbial “spitting” distance of the 600k point – which I’m exceedingly pleased about. But it has been a struggle, and to cope with the heat, the writing has happened in small bursts, with a break between each, simply to stop myself overheating. My Toshiba is a cool laptop, in the sense it doesn’t get hot, but even so there is enough heat generated to feel the difference. At least the writing is done with for the day, but given how hot it is, I honestly expect, that’s it for the day in terms of all forms of work too.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

July 18th – 588,793

I finished my writing stint something over six hours ago, and I’ve only just returned and powered up the laptop to write the blog entry to record a total of 3,080 words today.

I guess it could have been because I wanted to watch the Tour de France climb the mighty Alp D’Huez, not once but twice, as well as a very dangerous descent in between. I think the more likely cause though as been the heat. You could call it heat prostration, heat exhaustion, or simply eviscerating heat, but that would be overdramatizing the simple fact – I felt too hot to sit down in front of a laptop and write – so I was glad I got the words down this morning, because if I’d left it to this afternoon, there would have been zip, nada, nothing.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

17th July – 585,713.

It’s getting hard not to complain about this weather. After this much for this long, the heat has become oppressive, not just during the day time, but more importantly at night too. We can’t sleep, in fact, I’m wondering if I’m achieving some weight loss, or indeed both of us are, from the amount we sweat overnight.

I think I’m existing on about four hours of sleep at the moment and that is just not enough, leaving me tired and listless through the daytime.

At least I managed to get another 3k done, 3,073 words to be precise, taking me past the 585k mark, and in all probability less than a week from breaking the 600k mark.

Somehow I managed to get a complete edit pass completed over the last couple of days as well, so that’s another book almost ready for sending off. Now though, it’s time to turn my attention to the preparation of royalty statements for our authors, the most time consuming part of my publishing job.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

July 16th – 582,640. Past 580k.

Another landmark goes down, as today I sailed past the 580k mark with a total of 3,270 words, achieved before lunch again.

This has left me the afternoon to get some editing done, although I’m bogged down in bureaucracy dealing with several issues relating to my wife’s care. Why of why, can’t they manage joined up government – I’m now facing my fourth set of multiple page forms (16 in this case) this year, and the information is more or less the same between them. Each government or local government agency has their own forms with their questions in their own sequence and with their own individual spin on them. What are they trying to do? Catch you out? Given the prevalence of scanners these days it is entirely unlikely they’ll catch anyone out.

Rant over, while I try to negotiate another set of forms, and hopefully still leave myself enough time to get a lot of editing done. That’s if I can stand the heat long enough to get the work done, of course, because it’s still hot and going to remain so for the rest of the week.

Monday, 15 July 2013

July 15th – 579,370.

I was so close to getting down enough words to break the 580k mark today, but in the end I couldn’t commit enough time without compromising other things. I hit 3,479 words and I’m very pleased with the progress, so not far short of the next milestone and I should pass it by a minimum of 2k tomorrow.

I have other things to do today, not least get two books released and move forward on several other projects.

At the same time, we woke up this morning to find a leak under the pipework in the airing cupboard, meaning we’ve had to call a plumber. Even as I’m writing this he’s buried head first near hot pipes working on repairing it. Given the general high temperature today, that can’t be the most pleasant job he’s tackled.

Just goes to show how sometimes, being a writer isn’t actually so bad.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

July 14th – 575,891.

This morning started off grey and even a little misty, so we thought we were in for a cooler day. Unfortunately, that has proven not to be the case and we’ve had bright sunshine since mid-morning. Admittedly the heat hasn’t been quite as overpowering as yesterday but it’s still been hot with not a breath of breeze to allow you to cool down.

Still, I did manage to get 3,385 words written before heat exhaustion stepped in and I just spent a couple of hours watching real dedication to sport – a group of very fit men riding their bikes up the side of a very tall mountain in the Tour de France. When I was approaching my teens I wanted to be a road race cyclist and I spent the next five summers living on my bike, but I had a big problem – these guys ride up huge inclines at a speed ordinary mortals can’t match – and I’m talking about the also-rans, not the winners who are even faster. I, however, was brought up in the Fens of Cambridgeshire – and there the land is perfectly flat. If you’re going to ride up a mountain on a bike, you need to learn how to do that at a very young age, and I clearly had no chance of doing that. Apart from that, the mountains these guys climb are 3 times higher than any mountain in Britain, so no chance. Guess I’ll stick to writing then.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

July 13th – 572,506.

We needed a dry day today, but we didn’t really need such a hot one. I didn’t get to write for very long this morning as I had to help my father and my son in law, reroof my parent’s conservatory. No mean feat, especially in the kind of heat we experienced this morning either. Still, although taking out the old roof panels proved to be a difficult task, once we’d managed to either unfasten or break them out, fitting the new ones was comparatively a breeze.

Anyway we got the job done by half-past twelve and I even managed to grab a shower before we sat down to the sumptuous chicken dinner my mother had cooked for us, although such a big cooked dinner in such heat wasn’t such a good idea.

At least the job was done, so I was able this afternoon to play catch up, but it’s still hot, and I’ve got to have weights on every piece of paper in here because I’ve got the fans cranked up to maximum to deliver any small modicum of relief. Still, 3,314 words in this heat is well worth the effort, and I have also managed to get through the 570k mark as well – and I’m back to being something close to 15 days ahead of schedule.

You know what, if this weather continues, I might just use some of those days. Mind you we are forecast for some thunderstorms tonight.

Friday, 12 July 2013

July 12th – 569,192.

I’m not quite sure why this heat wave has been the cause of my increasing daily word count, but it has to be linked somehow. Yes, the scorching weather is back, we had a couple of cloudy days which gave us some respite but yesterday the sun came back out and temperatures climbed again. Today has been warmer still, and tomorrow is scheduled to be the hottest day of the year so far.

The only link between the weather and my writing that I can see has been the disruption of my sleep pattern resulting in me getting up too early and writing before breakfast. So it’s only eleven o’clock but I’ve managed to get 4,053 words written, and at the same time baked our first ever batch of biscotti, which are currently sitting on cooling racks downstairs. The smell of vanilla and almond and cooking permeates the house and I’m sitting here writing this and salivating. In fact I’ve had to push the laptop a bit further away from me than usual, just to make sure I don’t drool on the keyboard – neither an edifying prospect nor anything other than a disgusting image. Personally, I take keyboard hygiene quite seriously, so let’s not go there, hey?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

July 11th – 565,139.

Yesterday the weather broke and it was a little cooler than it has been, which was good news from the point of view of my sleep cycle but not such good news from the point of view of the England cricket team, whose batting performance yesterday was nothing short of woeful. If it hadn’t been the fact the bowling attack, minus Stuart Broad, reduced Australia to 22-3 at one point, putting arguably the three most dangerous of the batsmen from down under back in the pavilion, it would have been a bad day’s cricket from an England supporter’s standpoint.

Hopefully today’s play will be much more in our favour, but at this rate you can’t expect the match to last beyond Friday!

I did manage to get a decent slug of writing done and I hit 3,685 words without pushing myself. In fact I’ve looked back over the last five weeks, since the day I took as a rest day for my wife’s birthday, and since then I’ve averaged over 3,500 words each day. If I kept that up for a year the target wouldn’t be a million, it would be a million and a quarter! Don’t think I’m going to try for that though, although at the rate story ideas are piling up, I’d have the material to do it. My big problem though is going to be research time. I have a really good concept for a historical based on the reign of Henry VII and the early Tudors, but I don’t want to poach onto Philippa Gregory territory – and certainly don’t want to be labelled as a Philippa Gregory wannabe. That story is good for three books at least. At the same time I have another great concept for a sci-fi story based on the Nuremberg Trials reset into the future, but that will take an enormous amount of research. Where am I going to find the time to do this? Let alone the 1930’s Canada and USA mores, morals and geography I’m currently looking at for another project.

With the writing, editing, cover and editing work, I don’t know where I’m going to find the time for the research. The contemporary stuff is easy by comparison - actually it’s not easy, it just doesn’t need the same amount of research.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

10th July – 561,454.

Well, news reports last night confirmed the partner of the woman stabbed to death just round the corner from here, has been charged with murder. My heart goes out to her family and the people who knew her, that’s a shocking way to die - not that there is a good way.

After the highs of yesterday’s birthday celebrations you’d expect a low, but at least in writing terms today hasn’t been that, hitting 3,584 words before lunch and I’ve got another couple of ideas floating around in my head. The next few days will be a test of my writing resolve too – the cricket starts in earnest today with the first day of the first Ashes test, being played at my local ground about 8 miles away. I guess I’ll have to continue getting up early and writing before breakfast if I’m going to consign myself to being a couch potato for the rest of the day, watching and listening to the cricket. 

Still the pauses between overs and the drinks breaks will give me time to flesh out these couple of ideas I’ve got floating around in my head and they may well appear as first scene treatments in a few days – we’ll see.

Ah, Wimbledon, Tour De France, Lions tour and now Ashes Test cricket, who said a summer of sport couldn’t match the Olympics? This time we even have sunshine.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

July 9th – 557,870.

I had the perfect excuse to have a non-writing day today – it’s my birthday! So kick back, relax, play some tunes, watch some box, spend quality time with my family, you know how it’s supposed to go.

Guess what?

We had another stiflingly hot night so I was up at a very ungodly hour, and because I couldn’t rest, I started writing. Some ninety minutes later I decided to stop and check my word count – 3,121 words done. So there it was, not even breakfast time and I’ve hit my target on a day where I had good intentions – about not writing.

Mind you, events have put a bit of a damper on any rowdier celebration – there was a fatal stabbing at the weekend, about a hundred yards from where I’m sitting writing this. I didn’t know the poor woman, and police have a man helping with their enquiries, so even money says it was a domestic incident but you don’t expect these things so close to home. My sympathies are with her family.

Monday, 8 July 2013

July 8th – 554,749

Today turned out to be an interesting day, at least in writing terms, anyway. When I went to bed last night I had a nagging thought about the chapter title for chapter three of my current w.i.p. I just didn’t think it was right, but I couldn’t work out a replacement.

So this morning, after banging out over 1,700 words on the manuscript, the correct chapter title dropped into my thoughts, so I changed it, and went downstairs for breakfast. Yes, I know, it was so stiflingly hot, I couldn’t sleep so I was up too early again.

When I came back upstairs after about an hour’s break I could do nothing other than open a blank document and bang out the first two scenes in a completely new work in progress, hitting 2,800 odd words in very short order on the new idea. What new idea? A work in progress titled the same as the chapter heading from the other one. Literally over muesli, orange juice and coffee, a complete new story, plot and plan had dropped into my lap, based on a simple three word phrase. A story I hadn’t even thought about writing at all.

The fact I managed to write that many words this morning from scratch about it, including sorting out the names and appearance of the three main characters, and no, it’s anything but a standard love triangle story.

So that gave me 4,588 words for the day, and that’s well before lunch too. If only life, in the form of diabetic check-ups for both my wife and myself, I’d probably have kept going. They too went well, with both of returning good blood chemistry, weight and blood pressure results, although as always I was nagged about my weight. At least it hasn’t gone up in the last six months, and I am finally clear of the physio’s prohibition on the gym, so if I can crank up the exercise again, maybe, just maybe, at our next check-up I’ll be able to get my weight down.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

7th July – 550,161. Through the 550k Mark!

The heat-wave has continued but I have at least managed to keep up my pace and surpass 3k words for the umpteenth day, hitting 3,434 words today. I'm hitting 10k words every three days with some regularity now.

This work in progress is shaping up nicely, and as always I’m starting to see scope for both sequels as well as extending this story beyond my original planned length.

That has also, in numerological terms took me past the 550k mark, and exactly 35k ahead of schedule.

The heat today has been oppressive, but at least we haven’t had to deal with the gale force winds and torrential rain that kept my business partner up all night a couple of days ago – that is I guess one advantage of us both living at opposite ends of the world. Our weather is not her weather, and sometimes, like now, that’s in our favour, and sometimes, more often in fact, it’s in her favour. New Zealand is blessed with many things compared to us, climate being just one of them.

Unfortunately those benefits come with an attached curse, New Zealand is in an active fault zone and the earthquakes can be doozies. I can remember seeing the reports of what happened in Christchurch a couple of years ago with my heart in my mouth, until I got the message telling me Paulette and her family were safe. Just tell me how I managed to get from 3,434 words to earthquakes via sunshine? I have no idea. Who’d want to live in the mind of a writer, hey?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

6th July – 546,727.

For England, the current weather can only be described as “sweltering heat”, however for most countries in the world, it would be a pleasant, spring like day, although there’s no breeze to alleviate it. I guess it’s what you’re used to, and writing I n this heat can rapidly become a chore, the sun beating down, the heat from the laptop, although thankfully this one runs nice and cool in use and doesn’t get as hot as my old one did.

I’ve been up to my old trick again, I had an idea I had to get down on paper before I started to write on my main work in progress, but I did manage to curb the enthusiasm for the new concept, by only writing 600 or so words on it. Indeed, looking back at it after breakfast (yes, I did write it before breakfast) I can see a large plot hole in the opening that needs a patch the size of a dinner plate. I suspect that patch will be applied this afternoon, or maybe this evening when it starts to cool down some.

After breakfast, I managed to hit the ground running with my current work in progress, which is now developing nicely, despite only three days of work, one of which was at the beginning of May, and in total between the two I’ve clocked up 3,416 words for the day.

Now, seeing as it’s Wimbledon Ladies Final Day, and the players are already out on court warming up, and the sun is shining, both there, and here, I think I’ll sign off for today, and for those who want to know, I think I’ll be cheering on both players – as long as we get a good match.

Friday, 5 July 2013

July 5th – 543,311.

I guess reading through the nineteen starts and plans I had lined up to work on, in order to decide which one to pick up today, was something that needed doing. Doing so last night was probably not a good idea. Why? Simple, there were so many plot ideas buzzing around my head, including two cross-over ones from one story to another that really couldn’t work, I found it difficult to sleep. Even worse, at three o’clock this morning I was wide awake, and in fact never managed to get to sleep again. As a result when I did get up, I felt like a wooden carving of a sloth, it was that difficult to get myself moving.

Coffee, is, as ever, a good motivator in that situation, and by the time I’d managed to get breakfast out of the way, I was able to get down to some serious writing and have now clocked off with 3,161 words written on the story I chose from the list above.

Since I had to take Marion for her leg X-rays today, I had to get everything done in good time. As expected, the radiographer was as gentle as she could be, indeed she went over and beyond as far as I’m concerned, but Marion was still pushed and pulled into positions that were extremely uncomfortable for her. End result, she’s sitting downstairs with her leg up, resting, and since I’m waiting hand and foot on her, I won’t be spending very much time on the laptop until after I’ve got her to bed.

As a result I’m signing off on here for the day.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

July 4th – 540,150

Today has been a much harder day for writing, for a very simple reason. This morning I went to the dentist because I had a filling fall out a couple of days ago. My dentist, is Spanish, and a very gentle woman but she doesn’t like using anaesthetic. Given I have a very low threshold for pain, and a very ingrained phobia about dentists, this makes me very apprehensive about going to see her. When you have a razor sharp edge of tooth enamel in your mouth, and a cavity which is a perfect trap for food particles, what can you do?

The anticipation wrecked my writing concentration before the appointment, and the shakiness from having the filling done without any local anaesthetic has tended to wreck my concentration afterward.
In other words, rather than concentrating on my writing, I’ve been sitting here feeling very, very sorry for myself.

Somehow, despite all that, I’ve managed to get 3,221 words done, taking me past the 540k mark and perhaps more importantly finishing this particular work in progress. As ever though, with my stories, there’s room for a sequel, but in this case, I think I’ll leave that a while before I write it. I have far too many other projects lying around that are demanding, nay, screaming for, my attention at the moment, and it’s that time where I have to pick one. I just looked back at my progress on this one as well – it’s taken me just 15 days to write a 54k novel, the 9th completed work from this challenge.

Bear in mind I am talking about completed first drafts, not finished polished manuscripts ready for an editor, far from it, but nine books written. Again you have to remember at least three of these were stories I’d already started but not done more than the first few thousand words. I’ve also drafted a start on eight other projects during this last six months, so you could say, my fund of story ideas and starts hasn’t actually diminished, if anything it’s grown, damn it!


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

July 3rd – 536,929.

For once I actually stayed in bed this morning till after 7am, and as a result lost that “golden hour” of writing time I’ve been enjoying for the last few days. My total word count for today is thus, by some considerable distance the lowest number I’ve achieved in the last week, but at 3,167 words is well above the target and I’m now 12 days ahead of the relentless metronome of a schedule.

The weather is a little lousy as well, and with Marion definitely feeling under the weather today and in quite a bit of pain, we’re not going to be going anywhere, so today will be a “good” working day. I could just keep writing, but as always I have other things to do, not least finalise something like six book covers and at the same time get another three books released ahead of the holiday season starting tomorrow in the US.

Time to get working then, and stop “wasting” time on my blog. I’m beginning to think, I’m my own slave driver.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

July 2nd – 533,762

I was rather miffed this morning when I rang to arrange the x-ray for Marion, only to find out it was a “routine” one as far as they were concerned and therefore we’d have to wait. A few hours delay would be something I’d consider acceptable but not several days as has turned out to be the case. That’s frustrating as she has to live with the pain with no diagnosis for quite a while longer.

I guess the frustration came out in the writing too, because having just looked back over the last 500 words of my 3,643 words I’ve achieved today, I can already see I’ll be re-working them before bedtime. The resultant section of the manuscript won’t be shorter, indeed it may be a couple of hundred words longer, but it definitely needs redoing.

At the same time, I need to whip some of the other manuscripts into shape and get them sent in too – the backlog is starting to pile up, and as I’ll probably finish this story in three or four days’ time I’ll then have no less than 8 that need another pass, if not two before sending them in.

That gives me a dilemma, four of those eight have sequels waiting to be written, and one of those four has a sequel I’ve already started then put aside for my current piece. If I start editing any of them, that sequel will become my next writing project, the urge to get it written will be overwhelming. But, and it’s a big but, I have a number of other projects screaming out for my attention. Ah, decisions…

Monday, 1 July 2013

1st July – 530,119

I knew today was going to be one of those days where getting up early was going to pay dividends. Apart from the normal routine Monday morning chores, I had to ring the GP and arrange an appointment for Marion, as the pain in her knee and ankle isn’t responding to the treatment. That appointment duly fell into this morning’s schedule so the fact I was awake early and up, giving me a couple of hours before breakfast meant I got the writing done out of the way.

Not sure when, I have to wait until tomorrow to ring and make the appointment, but I’ve now got to take Marion for x-rays to see if there is an underlying problem with the joint structure of her weak leg, or simply rule that out before they start looking at other alternatives. It’s a process of elimination, and as she doesn’t have full use of, or feeling in, the leg, it’s equally difficult for her to tell anyone what the problem is. It’s frustrating nevertheless, and yet another delay. My biggest problem is getting her to rest properly, she won’t and can give a damned good impression of a jack-in-the-box when she gets something in her mind that she feels she just has to get done, even if it’s not urgent and could wait.

Still, I managed to get the newsletter written first thing, and then hit my stride with my current work in progress, the two things combining to give a total of 3,849 words for the day (or rather, early morning), and take me past the 530k mark. I seem to be managing to hit around 10k+ every three days, so I’m continuing to pull ahead of the metronome.