Category Archives: Writing

NaNo Day 13 and 14 – And a Sample!

I did not write at all for Monday. I took a day off. The story was starting to suffer. Starting to suffer worse, that is since this is my first novel ever, and I am doing it 100 percent pantser style. No outline or even forethought (except what I get away with in the shower, walking the dog, etc).

That said, there is a deadline, so I doubled down today with 3491 words. I wrote it all in one sitting and my neck hurts!

Total word count now is 25097. Past the halfway mark!

I offered a sample on day one, so I thought it would be interesting to offer a sample two weeks later. This part I like a lot better than my original offering as it is more in my style and interests even though I don’t think the writing is technically better than my first offering. I went off the rails today (literally) and it is really hard to make first drafts clean when you go off the map. Actually I went completely nuts here.

Saim went back to watching the stars peak out from their cloud-veils. The instrument Gangia played produced hollow lilting sounds that were at once sorrowful and, somehow, hopeful. Or maybe that was the melody Gangia played. But Saim liked it. It seemed to tell a story in its notes that played itself out in front of Saim’s imagination’s eye. After a moment of being lost in that tonal landscape he noticed Gangia lay back upon the earth with his elbows sticking out to his sides as he continued to play. Saim also laid back and returned to the tonal fantasy before his head reached the earth.

He was upon a gentle mare in tall grass bent in the rushing wind. In the distance he saw a rider approach, the rider’s hair, long and icy blonde flowed with the grass as did the horse’s mane. This person, this woman approaching, he did not know, but somehow he greatly anticipated it as if he had for so long he could not remember.

How long have I waited for you?

Forever and a day, she said. She said it as if in front of him yet she were still far off across the field. Yet this did not trouble him.

And then she was there in front of him. He had reached his goal. Is this what the thing they call love feels like? He wondered. Or was this something else? She was sitting straight in her saddle looking at him with an open look, waiting for him to speak further. Her hair was so blonde it was almost white, yet her eyebrows, fair and slight, were darker. Her eyes were kindness and deep ocean blue and her features were abstractions of daintiness and symmetry. She wore a long thin white dress with a cropped front – but modestly so. She should have been freezing in the breeze that rolled along the plains but she did not seem to notice.

Then something terrible began to happen. She was receding away – and growing thick facial hair-
“Er.. Wha..” Saim thought he was opening his eyes but he saw that they were open all the while. He was looking into the chiseled and bearded face of one of Helbec’s more simian looking men. “He’s almost out.” The man said. How long have I been gone? He thought he asked this but he had not. But it felt to him it had been many hours since Gangia had started to play that instrument.

Then he was back at the base of Mt. Martyrdom and the day was still new. No- it was tomorrow. They weren’t there yet! But what about today then? Today must have been a dream was his last coherent thought in time and object.
And then nothing.

Then a sliver of something. A shaft. A streak. Then a constant. Constant. Constant. Constant. He felt like Continue reading


NaNo Day 11 & 12

Saturday sucked. I was so wiped from the trampling at work on Friday I could only eke out 504 words. Today was better with 2035 words, but that still puts me at a deficit for the weekend. I will make it up tomorrow and Tuesday.

Total so far is 21606 words (which I think now is more than the total of my prior fiction all together before this date).

This is probably not even something I’ll fix up after I am done but will stick in a drawer forever. It is damn near impossible to keep track of everything when you are blazing forward with no map and no notes. There are so many details to keep track of that it makes short story writing seem a walk in the park! And it is so uneven. It was supposed to be five connected deaths of one character evenly distributed throughout the 50,000 words. But the second death’s story has got so far away from me, the other three are going to seem like comedy sketches. Also, unlike short story writing, I have no idea what level of detail to give to anything. It’s completely bewildering. In short stories you look for quick strokes. You don’t blabber on about a woman’s eyebrows unless they are really important to the center line of the story.

But in a novel? Huge learning curve this is!

NaNo Day 10

NaNo day ten ends early for me as I have to work at five. Sat down at 1:30 and pounded out my daily requirement to a total of 1710 for the day. That was an easy write. I barely stopped but to use the restroom once.

I guess I am going to report everyday. My total is now 18985 words. Hey, it is better than my stupid lamentations on procrastination!

I can’t wait to get to the halfway mark.

NaNo Day 9 Otherwise Known as KICKING ASS

Yesterday I had a low day with 904 words. Today I had to produce.

And I did.

3074 words. Yeah!

That brings my total word count up to 17275.

However the word counter at the NaNo site is all kinds of jabberwocky. It only had me down for 16118. So I attempted to fix this with the edit by day feature. So I just thought I would add the difference on the day I posted after midnight, the 2nd of November. No matter what I did however it would change my number (1167 being the discrepancy between the two totals) negative 614 for the second when it had only been zero before. Every time I touched the thing it would, for some reason, change a nuber five days down or take a total and subtract from it.

It would never add a positive word count change, always subtraction. Figures. So by the time I decided to stop screwing with it I was down from its original number of 16118 to 15216 when all along I was trying to adjust to the Scrivener word count total of 17275.

So I am going to fudge tomorrow’s numbers to make the number the true word count I am actually at right now. So if I report a number tomorrow, it will actually be off by 2059 words in my favor.

Don’t cheat me of my words stupid internet software!

Still, 17275 words in nine days. That’s pretty good! If I can keep this up after November and get some work out there to be published, I could stop feeling ashamed of the byline for this blog!

All in all it is still fun. I think pantsing a novel is doable I think it is a process that takes a lot longer. There is a lot of spontaneity, but to get to where I think I am going means I pass a lot of potential all the time. I have this pop up, that pop up. Now I have a dead witch’s skeleton in a remote cabin, but I have to get my monk to the Asylum of the Betrothed by the Straits of Ambiguity so he can die another death. Been how do I just leave such a scene? And why, if it were a finished work, would it be there merely for him to leave the next day?
There is a lot of somethings that get passed as nothings. But I can’t just turn at every corner or I’ll be like a dog wandering in the woods by himself. If you’ve never seen such a thing, you should, its hilarious.

My scene titles are interesting, I think. I have four chapters so far (although that could all change I have no structure here whatsoever) with the following scenes titled.

The Spaniard
End of the Line
Riders Outside the Storm
Asylum of the Betrothed
The Courtyard
The Cabin in the Woods of Fable

Riders Outside the Storm and The Cabin in the Woods of Fable are my favorite so far. Particularly the latter, that sounds like a good name for a full story.

Anyway, thanks for reading another update from another anonymous NaNo participant!

Arg! NaNo Day Eight

Ack, my first day of not hitting the target number! I only got in 904 words today.

However, that would have been a monumental achievement for me before November 1st. I have to get ready for work now and will not make it back before the November 9th starts. I will double down tomorrow. Luckily, I know where I am going for the rest of this segment and that will get me an easy four thousand words tomorrow.

The next segment after that, though short, I also already know. So I should be able to catch up in the next two days without much trouble.

NaNo Day 6 & 7

Yesterday SUCKED. I fulfilled my quota for the day with one word to spare (1668) at a couple minutes to midnight and then I quit Scrivener right after posting my numbers and fled the scene.

The novel (thrown together in planning in under two hours) is called The Five Deaths of Horace Gumble. On Sunday, Horace Gumble suffered his first death. That was really as far as any concrete planning had got to. I still had an overarching story idea and where it would lead to, but I had absolutely no concrete particulars in mind for the second Horace Gumble.

See Horace Gumble comes back in each universe (the same soul let us say, but not the exact same man) in the first one, I knew who he was and what he did and I knew it was sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I did not have anything planned for who he was in the second universe nor do I for any of the others.

And it wasn’t as easy as if he were just having multiple lives a la Shirley McClaine because then I could just start it in 1348, say, and then just build up till we got to 2589, all on Earth all in this universe.

Obviously a whole other universe makes things a little complicated.

Luckily, I had only one restart, and that after only three paragraphs. But damn, pantsing this thing is hard!

I was rolling along today with a total of 2186 words. The total for the first week is 13,282 words.

I’m a little embarrassed to say but 13,282 in this last week is more than I have done, combined, in probably fifteen years. I eked out a few short stories here and there. But they were single patches of land peeking up in vast oceans of procrastination.

I’m going to have a 50,000 word “something” at the end of this month. It may be a 50,000 word mess, but I do not give (cover your ears kiddies) A SHIT.

You can also catch your brain learning as you get further and further in.

Also I did more words during my work week per day than I did on my weekend per day.

NaNo – Fifth Day Reflection

So I have done five days of NaNo so far and I was relating to an acquaintance of mine (is someone you chat with on a blog an acquaintance? Let’s use the term that way.) how it is one of the single best things I have ever done.

I am not exaggerating. It is not better than deciding and marrying my lovely wife – get that out of the way.

But it is right up there with throwing out my Ayn Rand books and ditching atheism. It follows closely on the heels of my religious awakening. Because I literally have tormented myself for years with this writing thing.

Funny thing is, as I was just thinking earlier, I have listened and read writers writing advice for years – nay – decades. Especially John C. Wright’s and Stephen King’s. I listened but it never really sunk in. I would sit at my desk and stare at that screen and, when time was about to run out, I would write about my procrastination and my plans for dealing with it. That would abate the guilt a little.

Many a time – most of the time – I would fill the time at the desk going over Youtube videos and just stupid stuff. There was an incredible amount of time wasted. Incredible amount.

A last lament just occured to me. How good would I be if I wrote say, ten pages a day since I first wrote a story when I was 12? At 12 I started with a cheesy Indiana Jones fanfic sort of story but where would I be now?

No point in dwelling on that. Nod at it like the giant ball of yarn on the road trip and keep driving. You have only God to answer to such things, and only that for an answer else it is merely a form of emotional masturbation.

I swear to God as my witness – never again will any journal of mine contain a lament about not writing. I will not have time to make such an entry. It is not in my daily quota which is going to be 3,000 words a day every day. Maybe six days a week? Haven’t decided. This month it is a minimum of 1668 every day.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, it is only the 6th of November and there is a long way to go. But I am so stoke about this! I feel like I am back in 1985 – ROCK ON! Torquing dude! FIYAH!!!!

Tomorrow is my first day off from work since starting the challenge. I am going to tear it up!

What I look forward to is being able to give a little more thought to a story the next time. I slapped this one together so fast I don’t even know what the next thing is before I get to it. I think I will spend a little time after each day’s quota is met fleshing out some future projects that have been collecting dust in my computer.

NaNo – best thing ever.

NaNo Day Five

Now that was a tough one. Sunday sucks for me as I am usually wiped out from the Friday and Saturday bartending shifts.

But I did it. I wrote 2286 (I think that was the exact number I didn’t write it down but it was something like that). I now stand at 9420 words.

I don’t think Scrivener calculates page numbers correctly. On its statistics function it says I have 10 pages worth of paperback. But if you go my the standard formula of 300 to 350 words per page, I should have 26 or 31 pages give or take. Although it doesn’t seem like I wrote that much either. But if Scrivener’s count were true, each page would 942 words which is way more than any estimate I have ever read about.


That said. I haven’t gone back and read a single thing I wrote. I have no idea if I am making something readable or a steaming pile of crap (I know we can safely take greatness out of the list of possibilities!). As far as this assignment goes, I only have to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. I don’t even care what the result looks like as long as I have the numbers. I can worry about quality after I achieve this goal.

NaNo Day Four

This one was a hard one. The Friday to Saturday writing shift will always be a hard one. I go to work at four on Fridays, I get home a little after 3am or so. I get to sleep close to 5am. My wife wakes me up from the couch around 6 or 7 to go to sleep in the bedroom. I sleep until 11am or 12pm. Then I get up, shower, walk the dog, get back in, make my coffee (and whatever other daily things must be done) and then write until I have to get ready for work again (again leaving around 4 pm to do the same shift). Today that left me with an hour and fifteen minutes.

I posted 1726 for the day – actually an hour and fifteen minutes of work – for a grand total so far of 7224 words since the first of the month, or, Wednesday.

Goals and deadlines. Who knew that was the trick? Although the real trick will come on December 1st won’t it?

NaNo Day Three – Apparently Nike Had the Answer All Along

Day three of NaNo yielded 1701 words. It is my lowest so far but still above the daily target. I have 5,498 words so far. Not bad for a plot that I threw together at the very last minute from notes that were over five years old. And when I say plot I really mean the sketchiest overview. If I had read my own synopsis from the outside I would have rolled my eyes. OMG!

But still, this is the most I have written in years.

It appears Nike was right all along JUST DO IT

You know, maybe Nancy Reagan’s JUST SAY NO is on the mark as well?