Page-A-Day and Sunday

As I mentioned, I’m currently writing a page-a-day novel as well as something I’ve come to think of as my Sunday novel. I’ve been doing them both for a few months now, long enough that I’m ready to talk a little bit about each project, but more importantly talk about how different the processes have been for me, particularly in light of working on a NaNo novel at the same time.

NaNo, of course, is NaNo. I’ve finished it in 12 days, I’ve finished it in 30 days, I’ve totally failed it. My goal is to write 50,000-60,000 words in a month, about 2,000 words a day. After years of this, I’ve found a happy medium between outlining and pantsing, giving myself a basic blueprint of the story with room to wild out and surprise myself. It’s been a winning formula for quite some time (when I’m not cheating, obviously). The resulting first drafts vary from needing a lot of rewrites to just needing a few rounds of revisions.

Blasting out that first draft as fast as possible has been my way of writing for a majority of my writing career and it’s how I’ve done most of my projects.

Defending The L is not my first page-a-day project. A few years ago, I decided to shake up my creativity by writing one page a day every day for a year because as the adage goes, if you write a page a day, by the end of the year, you have a 365 page novel. At the time, I was looking for some kind of creative productivity boost. I had a general idea of the story, a few scenes I knew I was writing towards, and I just sort of let it unfold, day by day, page by page.

My current page-a-day is a little different. I started writing Defending The L this way because I wanted to write this story, but didn’t have time to devote to it to do it NaNo-style, nor did I want to wait until NaNo. I also don’t have the goal of writing a page a day for a year, just until the story is done. As of this post, it’s right around NaNo length of about 50,000 words and into the third act of the story, which takes a bit of a horror turn.

Defending The L also has the dual purpose of being a bit of a catharsis piece. It’s set in a library, so I’ve been able to vent some of my frustrations with the job through the story.

Like the previous page-a-day (which still doesn’t have a title and I haven’t looked at since I wrote it) and much of my NaNo work, this one is going to need some revising, but more than likely not any heavy re-writing. Of course, I’m not finished yet, so fingers crossed.

My Sunday story, That’s Punk, is an entirely different beast and honestly, it’s a little scary.

First of all, there’s nothing horror or fantasy or otherwise genre about it. It’s straight contemporary fiction, which for me is way out of my comfort zone.

Second of all, instead of writing this first draft as fast as I possibly can and getting it all out in one hunk I can shape through rewrites and/or revising, I’ve only been able to work on this story on Sundays. And when I do work on it, I go back and re-read what I wrote the previous week, revising anything I’ve decided needed changing while it’s simmered in my brain since the last time I looked at it, and then I add new material. There’s also no goal before I call my day on That’s Punk done. No word or page counts. Once I do my rewind and revise, I decide how much I want to get done that day. Usually, it’s a scene, or maybe not even that. I stop where it feels good. I’ve been working on this story since the end of August and I’ve only got about thirty pages written.

It’s so weird on so many levels for me. I’m writing something I don’t normally write in a way I don’t normally write. And you know what? I think I like it. There’s something indulgent about being able to take my time with a story, revise it as I go, and keep my goals fluid. There’s something luxurious about having this dedicated time to work on something on a day with no other expectations. I’m not rushing to get anything done because I have to go to work or I have errands to run or dinner to make. I don’t do anything on Sundays by design. Writing this story on my lazy day has turned into a form of relaxation for me, as strange as that sounds.

November has been an interesting writing month for me for years thanks to NaNo and the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel around daily life. But this November, writing three different novels, three different ways…it’s been eye-opening.

One thing about being a writer…I never get bored exploring and developing my craft.

NaNo 2022

I’ve decided that for this year’s NaNo I have enough of an idea that I can actually work on a novel this time and not have to cheat.

Maybe.

So, the idea I have is actually a combination of two ideas. The first is idea is about a character I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while named Royanna McKee who comes from a family of con artists and her attempts to break free from her family causes problems, particularly with her twin sisters, Claudine and Bernadette.

The other idea features a couple named Trix and Miggy Herrera who also have interesting families (particularly Trix) and as a couple they’re commissioned to write books about niche history topics. For example, Trix is supposed to be researching the history of a local courthouse, particularly the corruption related to its construction, when she comes across an article about a woman who went missing in 1976 and decides she’d rather research that.

Naturally, I thought those ideas could mesh together well in a timeline switching read, going back and forth from 1976 and 2022-ish.

Am I good enough writer to successfully pull that off? Probably not. But it’s NaNo, so it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I FINALLY came up with a title. Leave Well Enough Alone. It’s not great, but it’ll do.

The challenge of this NaNo (aside from the questionable outline I put together) is that while I will be NaNoing away, I will still be working on my page-a-day project, Defending The L (have I mentioned that here yet? I’m too lazy to go back and look) and what I think of as my Sunday project (which I did mention in this post) called That’s Punk. So, I will technically be working on three novels at once during November. But so long as the words are flowing, I’ll only be logging the words from the official NaNo project.

Unless it falls apart and I need to cheat.

This is my 19th NaNo. It’s far from the worst way I’ve bent the rules.

Besides, after this many years what do you expect?

50,000 words is 50,000 words.

NaNo 2021

Here we are once again. It’s NaNoWriMo time.

I wasn’t sure I was going to do NaNo this year. It seems that podcasting takes up most of my time these days, not that writing was coming easily anyway. I’ve written plenty about that, most recently in this post.

More than that -I didn’t really have anything I wanted to work on to the tune of 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, I have ideas I could turn into first drafts, but nothing that compelled me.

And then I got an idea for a new Patreon project: The Found Diary of Christina Essex. Aside from the title and the basic premise -an unknown narrator reads a diary they found in the attic of their new house- I didn’t have much to start with, but I knew it would be good for a Patreon tier (more about this in a later post).

In order for me to have this new project ready for a January start date, it needs to be done soon -like now. Hello, NaNo project!

The one hitch in the giddyup is that this Patreon project is going to be an audio story. I can tell you right now, it probably won’t make 50,000 words. Not exactly ideal since that’s the goal of NaNo.

So, once again I’m going to cheat.

Much like the few years that I did two novellas instead of doing one whole novel, in this case I’m going to a novella and then other writing. Meaning, I’m not only going to count what I write on The Found Diary of Christina Essex, but I’m also going to count any other writing I do. Blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, whatever. I’m going to count it. The goal for this very special NaNo is for me to hit the NaNo goal of at least 1,667 words every day.

I am still struggling to find my writing joy. Will writing a significant amount of words for thirty days in a row help me reclaim it? I don’t know. But I felt a spark of magic when I wrote the last Patreon flash fiction bonus and I feel like it’s all right there, just teasingly out of reach. I know writing is work, but I want it to feel less like work. Because it didn’t always feel like the bane of my day. I used to look forward to exploring new ideas, even if it was just a blog post.

It’s sort of like being in love. I want to feel that way again. I want to feel that way always.

And who knows, maybe this will do it. And maybe I will hit 50,000 words on just the story.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?

NaNo 2020 Winner!

This year’s NaNo was interesting.

I went in with only a rough overall idea of what I was doing so I ended up outlining as I went. I did my usual pattern of 2,000 words on work days and 4,000 words on my days off, though I did end up spending one Sunday writing pretty much all day for a gain of over 7,000 words so I could hit 50,000 before I had to record podcasts later that week. It worked. I hit 50,000 words on November 18th.

However, I didn’t finish the first draft of The Supervillains Will Save You until November 29th. It’s the latest I’ve finished a first draft in a NaNo in quite some time. It’s also the most I’ve written for a NaNo first draft in quite a while, finishing up with 64,222 words.

This NaNo was stressful, to be sure. In addition to outlining as I went, which has its own kind of stress, my non-writing life had its own challenges as well.

I thought I’d be doing three podcasts this month, but ended up only doing two, which was a break in my favor. However, the library went back to curbside service in the middle of the month and the stress of that definitely put a cramp in my writing style. It eventually smoothed out and I was able to actually get some writing done at the library, which helped a lot.

In conclusion, I once again found a way to make it work and ended up with a first draft of something that I kind of like and will only need some minor work because of course I realized important things that should have been put into place early in the story when I’m half-way through with it.

Whatever. I’ll take the win.

November Writing Projects

In the last week of October I managed to come up with something to do for NaNoWriMo. I decided that my best bet was to go with the sequel to The Support Group Meets on Wednesday. I’m tentatively calling it The Supervillains Will Save You, which is not ideal, but what in my life is?

I was able to break down a basic plot outline surprisingly quickly and I’ve fleshed it out a bit so I have something a little more substantial to work with, but I think a lot of it is going to be a surprise to me as I go along. Which should be fun.

I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to pull 50,000 words out of my hat this year, not only because writing has been hard anyway, but also because the day job has been more demanding and I’m currently working on three podcasts.

You know what? It’s fine. I’m at my happiest when I’m driving myself crazy with stress. Makes me feel alive.

In other news, I do have something of an idea for that anthology I want to submit to, but I have to admit that my confidence took a hit reading the previous anthology for research. I’m not sure I’ve got the chops to come up with something that isn’t completely wasting their time. Especially given the struggle I’ve had lately with any and all writing.

But as I always say, one catastrophe at a time. Let me get through NaNo first.

And while I’m doing that, you can be listening to episode 17 of Book ’em, Danno, which just went live. It’ll be a great way to kill time while you wait for episode 18 to drop at the end of the month, fingers crossed. Like, subscribe, heart, share, comment, harass friends and family, put it on a billboard, any show of love is appreciated.

And while I’m doing that, you can be listening to episode 17 of Book ’em, Danno, which just went live. It’ll be a great way to kill time while you wait for episode 18 to drop at the end of the month, fingers crossed. Like, subscribe, heart, share, comment, harass friends and family, put it on a billboard, any show of love is appreciated.

We may be in the final months of the year and in between seasons of Murderville, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not something to look forward to. The season 5 promo will be available to patrons on November 11th, 3 whole weeks before non-patrons get a glimpse. So if you don’t want to wait until December to find out what’s going down in the last season of Murderville, then become a patron now. $1 an episode lets you read and $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month.

 

October Writing Projects

It’s October and we all know what that means. It’s time to get spooky, get creepy, and plan out our NaNoWriMo project.

Well, I got the first two.

I have no idea what I’m going to do for NaNo this year.

Normally, I at least know what project I’m going to work on, even if I haven’t thought about it very much. Sometimes I know months in advance what I plan to work on in November. This year…nada.

The most likely candidates are either a sequel to The Support Group Meets on Wednesday or this random idea I got for a young adult novel. (Fucking what? You don’t write YA.) Trouble is that I’m not particularly enthused about either and I’m not sure either one could carry me to 50,000 words.

Honestly, I’m not even sure I want to do NaNo this year. But I’m particularly stubborn about certain things and maintaining my streaks is one of them. I should at least attempt year 17.

In other, more positive news, I’ve been reading an anthology that’s related to the one that I’d like to submit a story for, provided I can come up with one that fits, and last month I managed to finish not one, but two entries for the 100 word story contest.

That little bit of progress is encouraging, even if it is most likely a wasted entry fee.

It’s been a while since I’ve wasted one, though.

You know what’s not a waste? Murderville. And the last season is coming up. On October 13th, patrons will get to read the preview story for the final tale, so become a patron now because you don’t want to miss it. $1 an episode lets you read. $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month, like the one going live on the 25th.

Also live is Episode 16 of Book ’em, Danno. Ain’t no rest for Five-O because of the wicked and Eric Braeden is a hypnotic man. Give it a listen while you’re waiting for Episode 17 to go live at the end of the month. And remember to share it with your friends, family, enemies, strangers, co-workers, acquaintances, that one guy from high school, and any other unsuspecting human.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner!

I hit 50,000 words on November 17th and finished the first draft of The Support Group Meets on Wednesday on November 21st. Final word count was about 54,000 words, which isn’t too bad. I’m already thinking of revisions. Of course, I’m going to sit on it for a while before I go down that road. No telling what some time and a fresh read will bring.

Most days, the words came pretty easily. The hang-ups were usually me getting started or not getting distracted by social media. I think all but one day I was able to get my word count in before my day job shift started. I was lucky. The story flowed really well. Any issues I had were me getting in my own way, like always.

One thing I’ve noticed in the last few NaNos in which I’m writing an actual novel and not a couple of novellas is that the first drafts are getting better. I’ve got a better understand of the story, even if I don’t have the most exact outline. My first wins were due to very specific outlines that I followed. Those manuscripts usually needed a lot of revision, but that bit of hand holding helped me get the confidence I needed to know I could get the job done. They gave me the base to build on to do a better job of crafting a first draft. They helped me get a better feel for what the story is and how to get it down on the page.

There are still things I struggle with. I have yet to successfully execute a B-plot in a first draft. And even after all of these years, description is something that usually happens in the revisions. I put some key things in during the first draft, but never enough. Some people put too much; I’ve always been the opposite.

The challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is no longer a challenge for me. It hasn’t been for a while. Now the challenge of each NaNo is small and more specific. It involves challenging myself to do better, to write a better first draft, to work on my writing weaknesses.

Hopefully…someday…it’ll pay off.

November Writing Projects–This Year’s NaNo

It is once again that time of year in which I torture myself by writing 50,000+ words in 30 days. This year I’m going back to writing a novel.

This year’s NaNo project is The Support Group Meets on Wednesday. I’ve already written it as a short story (which is really just like a bad first chapter) and it was my entry in the script writing contest last year. So I’ve already got a synopsis and the first fifteen pages of a script for it. And maybe one day I’ll get around to finishing that script.

But in the meantime, I really do want to get this idea out in its entirety in some form (really, it would make a good script or novel) and I think it will be make a good NaNo project. I like the idea, I’m interested in it, and I think it’s hearty enough to get me to 50,000 words without much trouble.

Provided I can be productive, of course.

If all works out like usual and I’m done before Thanksgiving, I’ll get back to revising (Vampires) Made in America. I didn’t finish it last month (I didn’t think I would), but I’ve only got less than 100 pages left to revise.

I probably won’t get it finished before the end of this month, either.

Maybe before the end of the year.

The official promo for Season 4 of Murderville goes live for patrons this month. So become a patron and don’t miss out on the next Munsterville mystery and who will be solving it starting January 2020.

Episodes 5 and 6 of Book ’em, Danno went live last month. I’ll do my best to get another episode out this month, but since I got behind and never really caught up and now it’s NaNo, I can make no promises. Didn’t I warn you about this? I believe I did.

October Writing Projects

It’s NaNo time!

Yes, it’s October and October means NaNoWriMo prep. I’ve known what I want to write for NaNo for months and I already have a reasonable outline available (I’ll reveal the project next month as usual). What’s left is refining the plan and outline I have. I’m a little bit ahead of the game this year, so I hope it bodes well.

I’m also going to continue revising (Vampires) Made in America. I’ve been taking my time with it because after I rewrote the beginning and got rid of the first chapter, I realized that it wasn’t another point of view that I needed, but another personality. Trust me when I say that makes sense. I’m not sure I’ll get done with it this month, but now that I know what I’m doing and I got through that initial first chapter rewrite, things are moving along much faster.

I’m also going to try to be a bit more productive with Book ’em, Danno this month. I’ve gotten a little behind in my recording and I really need to get my pineapples picked before NaNo, so to speak.

As for Book ’em, Danno, episode 4 went live last month on Soundcloud and iTunes for your listening enjoyment. Episode 5 will be available for your ears later this week. Do listen, like, subscribe, review, recommend, force upon friends, family, and strangers, etc. That sort of support is very much appreciated.

Now is a great time to become a Murderville patron because the Season 4 preview episode goes live on October 8th and you can read that for as little as $1 an episode. If you go for $2 or more, you get a sweet bonus every other month, including this month, which happens on October 22nd. Season 4 starts January 14th of 2020!

Thankful For Finishing NaNo

If my counting is correct, I finished my 15th NaNoWriMo on November 18th. My goal, as always, is to finish before Thanksgiving, but this year I wanted to finish a little earlier than that due to the fact that I was recording on Monday and had a hair appointment on Tuesday. It was nice not to have to NaNo around them.

After all, this year I NaNo’d around my cousin’s wedding and my sister and brother-in-law’s visit (in addition to the usual stuff I deal with while writing on a daily basis); I deserved to give myself a break.

The scheme this year was to write Seasons 4 and 5 of Murderville, which I did. I thought that Season 4 would be longer than Season 5, and I was right. However, Season 4 fell short of what I projected, which meant that Season 5 fell even shorter of what I needed and I ended up about 10,000 words short.

So, I wrote a bonus Murderville story. And it’s really cute! I haven’t decided if it’ll be a new goal reward or maybe just a final farewell after Season 5. We’ll see how I feel after I survive the holidays.

As for Seasons 4 and 5, the word counts will be bumped in revisions. My first drafts are always bare bones. I almost always overestimate what I think the word count will be.

And I’m almost always surprised when it happens.

It’s like I don’t even know me.

Oh, well. A victory is a victory and after struggling so much this year with my productivity, I’ll take it. This puts my NaNo record at 12-3.

Not too shabby.