Monday, August 23, 2010

Write-a-thon Day 9 --> The End

Worked at Coffee shop in am, library until pm
  • Solid day -- very productive
  • However, all the work was on projects other than forbidden:
  • Rough draft of Soma -- short story in Zombie Proof Fence universe.
  • Novel pre-work for 7-facts
  • Extensive character sketches for 7-Facts
  • Blogging
  • Sketching for blog
  • That added up to a solid 6320 words

Results: Success!
  • 84.5 hours (beat goal by 4.5 hours)
  • 36,632 words
  • A bit low on the word count, but a lot of time was spent reading old material and organizing.
  • Major progress on Forbidden, and did work on 5 other projects.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Write-a-thon Day 8

  • Worked at the library
  • Marked-up sections 3,4 and 5
  • Finial analysis:
          > Throw away 40% (old Academy setting and related material)
          > Rewrite 25% (opening and several key character interactions)
          > Survives more or less intact 35 %
  • Outlined first month at workhouse, though many details are sketchy.
  • Added to introduction.
  • 4239 words
  • From here: back to the beginning to fill in gaps and make required updates.
  • Sadly, tomorrow is the last writing day, then it is back to the hour or two each evening. Ahh, sweet productivity, how I will miss you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Write-a-thon Day 7

Very productive day.
  • Worked at the library.
  • Drafted new scenes in section 1.
  • Re-plotted introduction to the Cogs, and shifted that sequence from Academy to Workhouse. Most of Section 2 will need re-done (30K words).
  • Changed Mal’s backstory substantially, he now has a driving need to help kids at the workhouse.
  • Also sketched out a Captain Nemo short story (one of those ideas from nowhere).
  • Total of 5985 words.
  • Getting tight--only 2 more write-a-thon days.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Write-a-thon Days 5 & 6

Day 5:
Very distractible Day 5 -- went off on several side trips:
  • Art, page design and game-design for the zombie blog
  • Follow-up on submissions for ZPF
  • Research on creative commons licensing for photos used on blog.
However, I did return to the work at hand and made good progress:
  • Substantial clean up on Section2 (much of which becomes obsolete with move from Academy to Workhouse as principle setting).
  • Continued clean p on Section1.
  • 5000 words, but only 2000 were on Forbidden.
Day6: Plumbing day
Part of the deal for taking this week to write is that I would commit time to attend to household repairs. Focused on that today. Made 3 successful plumbing repairs, and left one sink disassembled until I get parts. Also did substantial yard work.

This resulted in minimal writing. A few hours, 2692 words.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I am Slush

Agents and editors find me in their mailboxes and inboxes. I am raw, uncensored, somehow rough and incomplete. Yet they do not throw me away, instead they throw me on the pile. The slush pile.
Now and then, when the moon is full and no pressing engagements cry out for their attention, they crawl down to the basement, noses plugged against the terrible stink of amateurism and desperation. Bravely, yet with a shiver of hope, they shovel the pile into a blast furnace and set the charge to burn. Their fiery scrutiny heats the slush, melting it, allowing the pure and well-told stories to separate from the crazies and the borings and the poorly writtens, which clump into a vulgar mass and float to the top.

With glittering pens of doom, they skim the scum off the surface returning it whence it came with form rejections, one after another, after another. Sweating through the chill hours of the night, these intrepid souls burn down the slush until they can tap the vent, releasing the molten treasures that remain, and pouring them into the soot-black crucible of 'I would like to see more.'

I am then thrown into a hotter furnace, stoked with purer submissions and perhaps a cappuccino or three, heated to a white-hot frenzy of anticipation, and if lucky, I shall be poured pure and new from this crucible into the mold of an emerging voice, a shiny, newly minted author ready for the world to see.

Queen of the Coal Pile by Aaron Muderick
'Whole Gold Bar on Wood'

Write-a-thon Day 4

Worked at the library. Stayed later than usual -- good focus today. Something that helped with focus: ate very little today, and did yoga in morning and evening.

• Read-through section 1, marking what needs fixed or re-written, deleted old/out of date material. Cut ~3000 words, made ~1000 words of notes.
• Read-through 50% of section 2.
• Outlined bridge scenes for section 1.
• Outlined new opening.
• Still in pre-writing phase. This is behind where I wanted to be -- wanted to be into drafting new material and revising by today.
• Wrote 2633 words.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Forbidden - Revision Plan

Forbidden is my YA steampunk novel. Working on a revision, this pass focuses on story, character and structure more than language.

Here is the work plan for this one. My estimate is that I will have this draft done, and the story clean enough for beta readers, by mid-October.

A writing tip: Using a graph to show yourself (and others) progress against a fixed goal is a great way to motivate yourself.

Some points of interest:
• I update this weekly, Sunday evenings.
• The green lines are targets, one slow, the other fast. I need to stay between these to meet my estimate.
• The straight line across the top is the wordcount goal for the novel. You can see I need to cut 20,000 words to reach this.
• The other lines along the top show current word count.
• Also note that I refer to this as the 1st draft (because it is the first draft anyone else will ever see), though I have completed a previous rough draft.

Write-a-thon Days 2 & 3

Day 2 and 3 were good.

Day 2 -- worked at coffee shop

• Made tracking / management spreadsheet for this draft.

• Fine-tuned estimates -- estimating 150 - 190 hours for this draft.

• Worked on Snowflake (outlining method), and Synopsis

• Spent extra time working on ZPF artwork (this is a distraction as it was not part of this week’s plan).

• Wrote 2800 words

Day 3 -- worked at Museum of Nature and Science

• Awesome work environment. Best view of Denver, overlooking park with view of downtown & mountains. On-site food & drink. Mostly quite. Lot to look at during breaks. Only complaints: unsupervised children (loud/disruptive), and no public internet.

• Worked 7-facts short story. Spending time on this as it may grow into a novel.

• Made several updates to outline.

• Wrote 3422 words.

• Note: still in ‘pre-writing’ phase, no work done on manuscript yet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Write-a-thon Day 1

Started write-a-thon with an average day, not terrible, not spectacular. Focused on pre-writing activities.
• Set up files for next draft.
• Started character dictionary.
• Reviewed all existing files.
• Wrote 2021 words -- all in brainstorming / outline.
• Have not touched the actual story yet.
• Sketched character designs for 4 zombies (for use in ZPF blog).
Non writing:

• 35 minutes cardio
• Installed new router (old one did not play nicely with Apple products).
• Ate 80% healthy.

Friday, August 13, 2010


At the start of a week-long writing spree. The plan is simple: write until I drop each day.

Had some trouble deciding what to focus on as I have just completed a long project and have not ramped up the next project.

Options are:
  • Short story spree -- crank out ~5 short stories to polished form and submit.
  • Start revision of YA Steampunk book
  • Write rough draft of MG mystery
  • Write rough draft of YA mystery

Each of these has appeal:

Short stories: I have not refreshed my list in a while, and I only have one pending publication in the queue, so I really should sell more shorts this year to keep my name work in front of people. I also have a serious idea backlog for short stories.

YA Steampunk: Rough draft is done. It’s a good story. Needs revised before anyone sees it. Completing this will give me two saleable books.

MG Mystery: Based on Doofus, this short book will be a fun Middle-Grade mystery. This too would give me a second book to sell, and I *might* be able to complete a draft during the write-a-thon.

YA Mystery: A new project. I have done a little exploratory writing with these characters and the setting (contemporary high school), but the outline is little more than a three page sketch and some character write ups. Would be fun, but unlikely to get through a draft.