Thursday, 31 October 2013

October 31st – 971,115

5,267 words today, and I’ve got my heroine through her black moment, and I’m about ready to write the final scene of the book, which will produce the happy ever after conclusion. This one has turned out to be a much shorter book, a novella rather than a novel, but it still works as a complete story, and stretching it wouldn’t work.

It’s taken me past the 970k mark and I guess I’m about a week away from finishing this challenge. My intention is then to work on a NANO project as a kind of stretch down – with a lower daily word count requirement, that’s a good way to start to relax and take the pressure off myself. I need to make more time for other things, and especially for edits. This book will make 15 written this year, and the NANO project will make 16 – that’s one hell of a backlog of editing work – and I need to get that done and dusted. I think I’ve said it before 2013 will be a writing year, 2014 will be an editing year.

I also need to pick up my IT studies again, and start working seriously on some app building –there’s a number of projects stalled there too.

 I’m not saying I’m going to stop writing, even for a while, that is something I no longer think is possible for me to do, but I am saying, I need to get this done. Give other things a little more priority, and a lot more time than I have been doing.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

October 30th – 965,848 words

My internal body clock was way off again today, so I was up at stupid o’clock once more. In order not to wake Marion, that means I slip into my home office, and write, at least it’s something that doesn’t make noise. I guess I could watch a film wearing headphones, but at that time of the morning, I don’t think I could find anything I’d be that interested in watching.

An almost automatic consequence of starting so early is of course I’ve hit my daily word count before lunchtime – managing 4,350 words in total.

Somebody commented (anonymously) on my post yesterday, when I was talking about not understanding why I’m suddenly writing around 4.5k words a day when two months ago I was closer to 3k. They likened it to training for a marathon – you start by running a mile, then a mile and a half, then two miles, and eventually you’re able to run the full marathon distance. For me, though this has been something different. I agree, I’ve trained myself to write every day and concentrate on completing a reasonable number of words every day – but, there’s been a step change in what I’m producing – the word count jumped from a respectable 3k a day, to a rather outrageous 4.5k average. (Okay, I’m slightly under that today, but two days ago I was over 5k for the day). I don’t know why, 6 weeks ago, this happened, and I wish I knew.

I had just come back from a holiday, but my holiday earlier in the year had not had that effect at all, so I don’t think there’s a causal connection there, so I’m at a loss as to the why of it.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

October 29th – 961, 498

Well, today was supposed to be our anniversary shopping trip – or should I rearrange that to say our retail therapy in an attempt to find our anniversary gifts for each other. Unfortunately, the trip turned out to be a bust. We did find some stocking fillers for the grandkids but in terms of anniversary presents, we both struck out. She did see one ring she quite liked, but they didn’t have it in her size and couldn’t get it in in time for the actual anniversary. Still, at least I know what to look for, because until that moment she hadn’t given me any kind of a clue. We did manage to have a decent lunch out, so the trip wasn’t entirely a wasted one.

Book-ending the shopping trip, I managed to get quite a lot of writing done before we went, and a good hour at it since we got back – the end result is I hit 4,761 words, taking me through the 960k mark and the word rate doesn’t seem to abate in any way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could isolate the reason behind the step-change in word count, I’d bottle it and sell it. Most writers I talk to, see what I’m doing as either incredible, or crazy, or I guess, incredibly crazy. I’m not nuts, and I know full well everything I’m writing for this challenge needs editing before it goes near anyone else, let alone a professional editor, but it’s getting written and it’s getting written quickly.

Monday, 28 October 2013

October 28th – 956,737

I have to admit, that at a couple of points yesterday I wondered if this story idea was running out of steam. Not so, today. In fact, the storm, or rather the northern edge of it had me awake early so I was up and writing before seven this morning. It’s now lunchtime, my usual stopping point, and I’ve just hit 5,187 words for the morning. I’ve even left the story in the middle of a fast paced scene that has my fingers itching to keep writing.

My problem is I need to knuckle down and do my homework for the course tonight, so I can’t, however much my fingertips twitch, and my brain screams go for it.

The scaffolding will be coming down today or tomorrow, depending on the weather more than anything else, so hopefully by the end of the week the builders will be finished. In fact, even as I was writing that last line, the scaffolding company turned up and I have three men climbing all over the outside of the house removing the whole kit and caboodle. By the way they’re going at it it’s going to take a lot less time to take it down than it did to put it up.

At least the storm, what little we saw of it has blown through, so when there guys have gone, we should have the rest of the day in peace and quiet – depending on family, of course.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

October 27th – 951,550

I had expected to spend today wrapping up the story on my main manuscript and coming to a conclusion for the heroine. Sometimes though story pacing can take on a life of its own, and after only 2,425 words I was writing “The End”, a good couple of thousand words sooner than anticipated. Still it did manage to limp past 60k, which for a first draft is acceptable. (Limp as in word count, not as in story, as the story is explosive right up to the last sentence and I'm quite proud of the ending to this one).

At least I had the other one I’d been working on early in the week to fall back on, and after a few minutes to reread through it up to where I’d left it, it was all systems go, and just over an hour later, just as Marion called upstairs to tell me it was time for lunch, I'd hit 2,101 words and a suitable breakpoint, making 4,526 words for the morning.

Most writers I speak to, find switching between two different manuscripts, two different voices something that’s incredibly difficult. For me though, it seems as natural as breathing. I’m in document A so I’m in voice A for penname A, and when I pick up manuscript B, that’s voice B, penname B. Sitting here, I have two more pieces to work on, one for submission to a critique group (we’ll call that voice C) and the one that forms the homework for the Monday night course – call that voice D.

Then of course I’m sitting here in my own voice (Voice Zero) to write this blog extolling the fact I’ve passed the 950k mark.

What’s so hard about that?
If only I could bottle it as snake oil and sell it. Any takers?

Mind you, typing from the confines of a strait jacket isn’t exactly easy.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

October 26th – 947,024

Yesterday’s critique group through up an interesting question about the amount of help out there for authors looking to construct their characters or their plot, or even, given it was a speculative fiction group, their setting. So, for about an hour last night I went looking on the web to see what I could find.

God knows how, for a real newbie at this lark, how they would be able to sort the wheat from the chaff (sorry for the cliché). I have no idea how they would. I found some useful stuff, I even found something useful to myself (it’s called a beatsheet, and although primarily a screenwriting tool, a number of my friends have been suing it for plot planning. I’d heard the term but not bothered going to look for it, now, I have, and I can see its usefulness. I’m not sure I’ll change what I do, but it’s food for thought. Damn, there goes another cliché. Sorry. I guess I’m getting tired.

Life has intervened today, which is surprising – today was quiet after spending the last couple of days working in the middle of builders thumping and sawing all the way round the house, so I’d anticipated getting a lot of work done. I’ve reverted to being a good boy, returning to my main manuscript and managed 4,609 words, taking me within touching distance of hitting 950k tomorrow and quite probably wrapping that particular story up, somewhere above the 60k mark, which given I’d intended for around 40k (long novella) may well mean there’s a lot to cut at edit – or maybe not. We can always hope.


Friday, 25 October 2013

October 25th – 942,415

Yesterday as the builder’s left they told me they intended to return at about lunchtime today in order to finish off the work at the top of the house because they needed some materials to be delivered to site. So it was rather a shock this morning when I heard a noise on the scaffolding at eight o’clock and looked out the window in time to see two pairs of feet go past. Ten minutes earlier I’d been in the shower!

It turns out the supplier had called them first thing to let them know his van was on the way so they’d had to rearrange and race to get here before the van arrived to deliver the stuff they needed – and take away the stuff they didn’t. So they were on site about four hours earlier than expected, and then the van they were waiting for was late! The idea of texting to let us know never entered their heads – I’m so glad the upper level work is almost finished, with the scaffolding gone, I’ll be able to cope better, and see what’s happening.

Still all in all, despite the early frustrations of the day, and a lunchtime critique group, I’ve managed to hit 4,389 words for the day, sailing clear of the 940k mark and setting myself up to hit the 950k mark by Monday at the latest – but more likely on Sunday.

I’ve been a naughty boy though – continuing with the new story concept rather than picking up my main manuscript again. Still, the only schedule I’m hurting there is my own – I’ll probably drop back onto that tomorrow, a good couple of days should take that heroine over her personal finishing line.

October 21st – 923,594

Another day's writing done, another 4,273 words in the bank taking me past 920k. Mind you, I passed that number at about ten past seven this morning – I only needed the first 700 words to do that.

I cleared my schedule to allow time this week because the builders were supposed to be on site first thing – but it’s raining hard out there, hasn’t stopped since some time in the early house, and you can’t expect them to work up scaffolding under these conditions.

Hell I wouldn’t!

I guess the phone call to say we won’t be with you today because of the weather is a waste of time from their point of view – it’s obvious after all, but it would have been a courtesy to receive it.

Never mind, it’s cleared time on my schedule to allow me to get my word count done, and now it’s time to get cracking with the course homework. Although I’m not entirely sure I can get my head around Jungian Character Archetypes at any time of the day, let alone lunch time.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

October 24th – 938,026

Well it’s a glorious, sunny, October day and the builders have been hard at work since about half eight. That’s good but for me it’s also noisy, as where they’re working means the noise reverberates around the entire house – not the most conducive atmosphere for my own work. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who prefer to have peace and quiet to write – so I can’t sue music to drown out the sound.

I also have a confession to make – the idea I had buzzing around my head yesterday just demanded to get the first chapter written, so today I took time away from my main manuscript to write the first chapter. As this story starts with a serious bang – a confrontation between the two main protagonists, the dialogue of the argument quickly took on a life of its own and I felt like it was writing itself. It took me about an hour, maybe a shade more than that, but when I looked up, I’d written the argument and the follow on linking scene, a total of 2,659 words.

Then it was a question of being good and going back to my production manuscript and another hour and a half saw 2,233 words written to take me to a total of 4,992 words. In fact I might have deliberately written another sentence just to take me past the 5k mark, but I decided after the count up that I wasn’t going to be that shallow.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

October 23rd – 933,034

Well, the sun decided to shine from quite early this morning, although with some intermittent showers, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when the builders turned up. Some of the work is a two man job but with the scaffolding the bulk of it is a one man job. The guy they left on site is cracking on with it, but it’s a bit disturbing to hear him working, or indeed just tramping around the window level scaffolding.

Still, despite the less than perfect peace and quiet, I did manage to get 4,889 words written, completing all the transition needed to get the heroine to the final scene. I’m no longer so sure I’ll finish that tomorrow, but certainly the book will be finished by the weekend.

That is of course provided I don’t distract myself with a wonderful new idea that started floating between my ears at about one o’clock this morning! There he goes, at it again, you say, and to be honest I’d agree with that assessment.

Passed the 930k mark with less than 70k to go, and nothing seems to be slowing me down, word count wise which is something I’m finding is amazing.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

October 22nd – 928,145

Writing today has been an unusual experience. Although I’m quite happy with the manuscript and I wanted to get the next part of the story told, by lunchtime I’d barely managed to write a thousand words. Given that I’m frequently finished in a similar amount of time, and I didn’t have any distractions or time away from the computer this was strange for me.

I assumed I was having an off day, a down day or a lazy day, but when I came back to the computer after lunch, within ninety minutes, I’d added another three and a half thousand words, taking me to 4,551 for the day.

I’m now going to pass the 930k mark tomorrow, unless working with the builders here becomes an issue. They’re not here today, and given the amount of rain that’s fallen, that’s a good thing.

The story is approaching its final dénouement, but I think that might be another couple of days, or at least a day and a half. That depends, there’s a final scene, and I’m in two minds whether to write that, or write just the start of it and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination. Not a hook for a series – that would be something different entirely. Just a different way to end the book.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

October 20th – 919,321

Perception and reality remained joined at the hip today and I cranked out 4,748 words before lunchtime which made for the perfect break point as I have loads of other stuff to do.

It probably helped that today was the climactic scene in the manuscript – not the final scene but the one that one of my tutors refers to as the “black moment”, where the hero, or heroine, feels everything is lost. Of course we then build from that toward the finale, the denouement which in terms of a romance story would be the happy ever after moment. Since this is not a romance, it’ll be building to a climax of a different type, although not the miserable ever after that seems to be norm for certain kinds of fiction these days.

For once, this story isn’t going to have a sequel, either, the story is going to come to a natural end at around the 45k mark – so all being well it’ll be finished in a couple of days’ time. That being said, I can already see this piece is going to need some substantial plot editing early on, as the pacing may be a little off.

I intended this one to start relatively slowly (I mean relatively too – if it was too slow nobody would read further), and then build at a relentless rate of acceleration to the climactic scene (the one I’ve just written) and continue speeding up through to the end.

This kind of “constant acceleration” story is, I find, among the hardest type to write, ad certainly the hardest to edit once written. Ah well, rods, backs and own spring to mind - rearrange to suit.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

October 19th – 914,573

Marion woke up with a really bad headache today, so I knew before I got dressed that today would be a quiet day, and we wouldn’t be going anywhere. She gets them from time to time, not too frequently, maybe four a year or thereabouts, and they’re good for the day – she’ll sleep it off tonight.

Apart from the added time from running around after her, I actually expected to be able to spend the quiet time writing, but for some reason, one I can’t fathom, I  haven’t had the writing time I expected. So my now, mid-afternoon, I’ve just passed the 4k mark, hitting 4,187 words for the day.

I’ve got a huge pile of stuff to do today, so I can’t put any more time to it, and besides I’ll need to concentrate on dinner shortly, so that’s it for the day. Yesterday I was concerned about the way I was perceiving this piece, that it was slow going when in fact the words were flowing. Today, I can report that perception and reality are back in line. The words have flowed and I’ve felt I was flying along.

Writing is such a strange game.

Friday, 18 October 2013

October 18th – 910,386

Another percentage point scored on my way toward the target, as my 5,161 words today have taken me smoothly past the 910k mark.

It’s been interesting to watch myself today. I’ve had the feeling that I’m struggling with this particular manuscript, that the story isn’t working, and the writing is slow and hard. In fact, each time I glance at the clock I’m amazed how much I’ve managed to get written and in how short a time span. My perception is the piece is slow going, but in reality my writing speed and output is running at the same rate as the previous manuscript. The difference between perceived reality and reality almost doesn’t make sense.

When I’ve been flying on a work in progress I’ve felt the flow, that I’m “in the zone”, but with this piece, this week, I’ve felt I’m struggling when the reverse has been true. I’m not complaining, it’s just another facet of the experience of writing, and one that gives me pause to think.

Time to crack on with other things, real life and all that.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

October 17th – 905,225

The builders turned up today, to measure up and then disappear again, and won’t be back till Monday when they have the materials. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what is it with builders and calendars. They could have turned up any day this week to measure up, so why leave it till today. The answer is glaringly obvious – they were busy elsewhere. Fair enough it rained exceptionally hard yesterday afternoon, but that was just one afternoon out of the week.

Given the brakes on my car were making some fairly nasty noises, at least that’s given me the chance to take the car down to my mate Russ in town and get them checked. I’ll be fetching the car back shortly, but I’ll be forty pounds lighter when I come back. Still, a main dealer would have charged me double that, and then more, so I’m not complaining. I guess I’ll have to redouble my efforts and sell a load more books to recover the money.

In any case, I have managed to get 4,548 words written today, and taken my word count to more than 905k, so overall I’m happy with that.

The new critique group last night was fun too – it’s amazing how many divergent opinions there can be within a group of four people – I think I counted five opinions in the room, and that didn’t count the author’s!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

October 16th – Through the 900,000 mark.

4,138 words today means I hit a total so far of 900,677 words, which in turn means I’ve cracked the 900k barrier. I’m now where I never thought I’d reach, and I certainly didn’t expect to reach in October – I’m in the home straight, the final lap, and any other racing metaphors you want to think up.
It’s taken me a mere 22 days to cover the distance between 800k and 900k so if I maintained that pace I’d finish around about 8th November. That’s a couple of days slower than a similar estimate last week, but my daily word count average has dropped by a couple of hundred since then. In fact, today, which has been a very busy “life” day, has been my lowest word count in the last 10 days.
I’ve got a critique group this evening, which is going to be fun, since one of the pieces is written by a Polish guy, in his second language, English, and of course what did we do to the Poles last night at Wembley?
Still I was good - I wrote up my critique of his piece yesterday before the 2-0 win, just in case we lost – I didn’t want to be accused of being harsh just to get my own back. Truth is, there’s a lot to say about it, but most of it isn’t that harsh, it’s actually got a lot of potential – but like most first drafts, including my own, it’s going to take some extensive, careful editing. I think there’s a fun evening ahead.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

October 15th – 896,539

It very much looks like I’ll pass the 900k mark tomorrow and enter that final lap of this challenge. Today although a quiet day has taken a little longer to hit my word count, but I stopped at 4,326 words. Transition scenes are always slower, I much prefer the action, dialogue heavy scenes where I can get my characters interacting without needing me. I guess that’s why my dialogue passages hit such speeds. Transitional scenes take a lot more thought, you can’t let your characters take their conversation all over the place and down some dead ends – you have to marshal them and keep control.

Your story has to get from A to B and sometimes onward to C before you can relax again, otherwise the story won’t make any sense. IF you’re having to think that much about what you’re writing, then you’re naturally going to be slower, even if you don’t want to, especially given that any transition scene will present you with pacing issues – you can’t let the pace of your novel slow during this phase – if you do the story will die on its feet once you get it in front of your readers, which will kill the book.

Let’s face it a transitional scene isn’t the most exciting part of the book either for you as a writer or for “them” as readers, so it needs to be quick, it needs to read quick, and above all it needs to move the characters on as much as it moves the story on.

I’m not going to get into lectures about arcs and lines, and all the theoretical stuff – other people are better at explaining or teaching that stuff than I am.

Never mind, 900k tomorrow! Only 100k to go then.

Monday, 14 October 2013

October 14th – 892,213

I didn’t expect to get a lot of work done today, especially if the scaffolding crew turned up on time, which they did. So I’ve been sitting here trying to write while surrounded by bangs, crashes and thumps that make me jump, even though I know what’s actually happening.

It’s neither restful nor conducive to a calm peaceful atmosphere to write in, but I surprised myself. When I sat back and called time on writing for the day, I found I’d hit 4,503 words which was an amazing total in such a fractured environment.

It’s taken me past the 890k mark, and I seem to be well on course to pass 900k within a couple of days and enter the home straight.

The step change in word count since mid-September isn’t abating, remember I was worried about the changeover between manuscripts, but this one, despite being a different type of story in a different genre, is flowing just as the previous one did.

In fact, the absurdity of statistics, is that if I was to hit my average word count for the last 24 days, every day for a year, which is an impossibility for anyone, I’d be hitting 1.7million words. When I set off I thought, as did most of my writing friends, that 1 million was absurd, but 1.7million that’s out of the question.

Actually it’s starting to worry me for a different reason. Having got into this habit of writing at this speed – what happens when I reach the target? I was intending to drop into edit mode and start getting all these manuscripts ready for submission – but can I actually switch it off, or will I keep writing out of habit? After all my mind, and laptop are filled with half-formed ideas.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

October 13th – 887,710

I reached the end of my manuscript rather earlier than I thought I would, the story reaching the point where it was ready for its climax a couple of thousand words sooner than anticipated. As a result I only managed 1,207 words before writing “The End”.

Of course it’s not the end – this particular story has an obvious and much darker sequel and that will hit the starting blocks in due course. In the meantime though, I needed to pick up something else to work on, and for me there was an obvious candidate, although it hadn’t been so obvious earlier in the week. As soon as I’d read through it and made a few minor corrections I scrolled back to the point I’d left it at, and started writing. Less than 90 minutes later I’d added 3,399 words to that story alone, giving me a total of 4,606 for the day.

To switch from a definite male point of view in a very male dominated storyline, to a female point of view in an intense relationship story which currently only involves two main characters wasn’t an easy switch to make, and it should have taken longer. The fact that it didn’t made me go back and reread my work in progress again just to make sure I hadn’t retained the verbal mannerisms and style (i.e. the voice) from the first manuscript. Luckily for me I hadn’t, although I did correct a couple of obvious errors on the way.

This appears to be another milestone along the way to this challenge and it confirms the step change I made in the middle of September was a valid increase in writing output – and not just the single manuscript driving me along. Whoop-i-do as you might say.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

October 12th – 883,104

The weather is terrible today, we’ve had a gale blowing throughout the night and that has in turn brought rain with it this morning. It’s now two o’clock and if my laptop screen had a darker background colour, then I’d need the light on, it’s almost like twilight.

Still, the one advantage of bad weather is the fact I’ve not been out at all, meaning I’ve hit 4,392 words today taking me well past the 880k mark and this particular manuscript past the 74k mark.

I’m actually in the mood to keep writing, but there are other things that need doing, so I guess they’re going to take precedence. Which I suppose is a pity, as it seems as if my fingers are itching to get me over the winning line in terms of this challenge so I can try something else. I suspect though, that won’t be NANOWRIMO this year, after all I don’t want to burn out. There again, after hitting over 88k words a month, NANOWRIMO may be a way of easing down and stopping me going cold turkey!

Friday, 11 October 2013

October 11th – 878,712

I managed 4,273 words this morning which takes me well past the day’s target, but I’m now out of writing time due to other commitments. Importantly, this word count has nicely taken me over 100k words ahead of target for the first time, and over 36 ½ days ahead as well, so the likelihood of finishing before the end of November seems ever more certain.

As a result, I guess the “year of editing – 2014” will start at the beginning of December 2013!

This manuscript is also approaching its conclusion, and I guess in a couple of days’ time, I’ll be in my usual dilemma of deciding which one idea to work on next. For me, at this moment it’s a choice of three, but I suppose other candidates will raise their heads soon. We’ll have to see when that moment appears. In the meantime I’ll need to pick up the current manuscript in the morning and get cracking with it.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

October 10th – 874,439

Another 4,370 words today and this particular manuscript is now building nicely to its climax. Mind you, there’s enough material left over for a sequel, so we’ll see.

With no sign of the builders, things are quiet around here, but at least I’m not frustrated about that – I know why they’re not on site, and things will pick up and start moving from next week – hopefully. Or is that, or else?

I have some covers to deliver to an author today, and I’m a little on tender hooks about them – we went big, bold, brash and bright, and her thinking was restrained, and pastel – but for us, pastel doesn’t sell so we’ll just have to see how it goes. Stand by your boats, or is it beds for her reaction.

Now, where did I put that air-raid warden tin hat I acquired for research some time ago? I thought it might come in handy at some point…

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

October 9th – 870,069

For the third time in six days I’ve managed to squeeze out more than 5k words in a day, with a total of 5,227 words to blast me past 870k, and suddenly the home straight seems that much closer.

This work in progress is starting to shape up very nicely, and I’m approaching the climax of this story, but it’s obvious there will have to be a sequel, there’s just too much material to get it all in the one book. In other words I’ve done it to myself again, just as I seem to every time – why write one book when you can write two, or three…

At least I’ve found an answer to my frustration with the builders. It turns out there was a simple reason why I couldn’t make contact with the builders – they changed their mobile phones, contract and all, on Monday, so I’ve been ringing a phone that no longer exists, although the computer system kept the answerphone message alive, which added to the frustration.

Now at least I’ve made contact with them again, only to find the scaffolding company didn’t book the job until the 14th rather than the 7th. It’s a dumb excuse, but at the same time, it has removed the frustration and I can get on with life instead.

The course I started on “novel structure” on Monday seems to be good, with a great group of students, and the challenge for Victoria will be to teach across such a wide range of stages of writing – only three of us on the course have ever completed a novel, the others are just starting on their “journeys” as writers. Ah, the poor idealistic lambs, they have yet to learn just how hard it is. Getting the words down is one thing, getting them right is entirely another.
As I’ve said before 2013 is my year of writing, 2014 will be my year of editing, and editing, and editing…

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

October 8th – 864,842

Slightly lower word count today, but my main protagonist has just had a big scene, and I didn’t want to start the next scene until I’d let him sweat a little. So, as a result only 4,579 words for the day, amid huge frustrations with the builders – or rather without them. They are not here, have not sent any messages, and are not responding to any calls – it’s a good job no money has changed hands.

I guess they’re hung up on a previous job which has overrun, but you’d think they’d have the decency to make a 60 second courtesy call to let us know what’s happening, but that seems to be beyond them. Meanwhile, my feet are nailed to the home front, because I can’t go out in case they turn up.
I might not worry about it, but it is maintenance work that needs doing, so I’m just stuck. I guess it gives me the chance of more writing time – but I do need to get out and do some shopping, and pay some bills at some point.

Monday, 7 October 2013

October 7th – 860,263

I managed 5,179 words today, in the midst of growing frustration. I guess I need to write when I’m angry more often. Not with the writing, the anger is directed at the builders, who were supposed to be on site at eight this morning, and well over five hours later, still haven’t turned up, nor have they left any message or returned any calls.

I know the building trade and clocks don’t get on, and it’s not a problem in the full scheme of things, but it’s frustrating as I feel pinned to the floor, needing to stay here in case they show, while there are things I could be getting on with if I wasn’t trapped here.

It’s more frustration than real anger, but the lack of messages, when a simple sixty second call would sort things out, is just a discourtesy I’m not sued to. I don’t do it to other people – I don’t expect people to do it to me.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

October 6th – 855,084

Almost but not quite back into the groove today, I have managed to get my word count back up above the 4k mark, hitting 4,217 words, so that’s only a low(ish) total by my recent standards and not low at all, really.

It’s also taken me past the 855k mark at the same time.

I guess today is, for me, the calm both after the storm of yesterday – I really do not like standing up in front of a group of people and talking, or lecturing, and the calm before the storm because tomorrow the building maintenance work starts in earnest. I’m hoping that tomorrow will be the nosiest day, but you never know with builders around.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

October 5th – 850,867

Well, today I went through the 850k barrier! To be honest, I think I passed the milestone with a whimper rather than with a bang, and for the first time in two weeks, my word count has dipped below the 4,600-5,000 word mark – having managed a mere 3,105 words, around 1,000 this morning and the rest after tea, but I’m now shattered.

At least I had a cast iron excuse – from 9:00am this morning till 4:00pm this afternoon I was at the New Writers UK showcase book pare at the Gedling Civic Centre. Since I was not only manning a stall for Bluewood, I was also one of the guest speakers I had a lot of preparation to do and I find facing an audience a mentally draining experience.

Luckily, I tend to “tour” the same talk throughout the year so this was nowhere near the first time I’d given it, and practice certainly makes it easier – however, each audience is different. Having said that, it was heartening to be approached prior to the talk by two different people, both of whom had been recommended to come and listen to me but people who’d already heard the talk. That was a serious ego burst for me – because a lot of the time you give a talk and afterward, apart from a couple of people, the audience drifts away and you don’t see or hear from them again.

My thanks to Sunita for covering the stall for me while I gave the talk, and for providing conversation during those moments when the show was slow and we had no one visiting the stall.

Friday, 4 October 2013

October 4th – 847,762

I had to get up early this morning because the builders were coming to look at three windows where the double glazing seals have broken down giving rise to condensation problems. There was a message on my phone telling me they were going to be late due to another job they had to finish – meaning I’d got up early to clear everything out of their way, and now I found I could have spent longer in bed.

Given the weather I don’t think they’ll actually manage much today – certain jobs shouldn’t be attempted in the rain!

Clearing stuff out of their way didn’t take as long as I thought so I ended up with a good three hours writing time this morning I hadn’t anticipated. End result, I’ve even exceeded the last couple of weeks totals, hitting 5,083 words this morning, and I should now pass the 850k mark tomorrow -  bearing in mind I only passed the 800k mark early last week.

This story is a proverbial monster, it just keeps going. Already I’m thinking about how I break it down into pieces.  What was it Hannibal used to say in the A Team (that showed my age, didn’t it) – “I love it when a story comes together” – well my version fits my situation better, so I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

October 3rd – 842,679

Easily skipped past the 840k barrier with 4,758 words today, and this manuscript remains one of the quickest things I’ve ever written. I’ve hit almost 34k on it and the story just seems to unfold further and further in my mind. I’m not sure you’d call it a saga, it’s a bit too intense and introverted for that, all the action taking place in one place, but it’s sprawling a bit.

In fact, I’m a little concerned it needs the flab cutting from it at a later stage, but I’m loving the storyline and the dialogue passages are just flowing, in fact that’s why the word count is so high each day – the story seems to be almost all dialogue! Actually, it isn’t it just seems to be that way, and I’m even handling topics I’d never intended to bring into my writing, so I’m branching out as I go.

Time to get other things sorted now, I need this room cleared out to make way for the builders tomorrow, so I guess I’ll be humping stuff around all day as a result. Never mind, as long as the jobs get done before the winter kicks in, that’s what matters most.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

October 2nd – 837,921

A slightly lower total today, just 4,608 words, but my excuse is a simple one - I reached the end of an important scene and didn’t want to start on the next one, get a couple of hundred words into it and then stop. I decided it was better to stop where I was and start the next scene fresh tomorrow.

At this rate I’ll pass the 840k point tomorrow too, and I can almost taste that magic million – if only I was actually being paid for it – yet! I think a couple of the books have homes to go to, and I’m sure a couple will go to Bluewood, I’m just starting to think about the marketing for the others – as in marketing to publishers.

The builders are now coming Friday – wouldn’t want to be working outside in the weather we had this morning, either, so we’ll see how everything goes. I guess I’m a little concerned about working in the noise and stress of them working, but we’ll have to see how it goes – I just wish I could go and write at a local Starbucks, Costa or Café Nero like a number of my friends do – but that would be prohibitively expensive for me – I like their coffee far too much.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

October 1st – 833,313

A total of 4,961 words today has taken more past the 830k mark, and in fact done so by more than a full day’s worth of words.

It’s time now to give some thought to how work at incorporating and completing a NANOWRIMO challenge into working on this challenge. For NANOWRIMO I’d need to start a new project on 1st November and produce 50,000 words on it during that month. On my main challenge I need to produce 2,740 words a day, over a thousand a day more than the NANOWRIMO word count, so I’d be aiming to complete their challenge on the 19th November, assuming I wasn’t working faster than that. I also managed to write 90k words in September, despite having a week off. For the last 11 days I’ve averaged over 4,780 words. If I was to keep writing at this pace I’d finish my main challenge around about 5th November – before I’d really got started on NANOWRIMO

If someone had said to me at the start of January, that I’d be seriously looking at completing it by the end of the first week in November I’d have said No Way, absolutely No Way will that happen. To be honest, I expect my word count to slow, I can’t see me continuing to work at this rate once the current work in progress is finished, if it doesn’t slow down before then.

I’m left pondering if I’m going to be in a position to complete this challenge two months early and then start a new story for NANOWRIMO. That would be a turn-up.