Day Twenty-Two

Home Stretch

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200This is Day Twenty-two. My word count is at 39,707 words. I wrote 3,047 words today, and I’m averaging 1,804 word per day now.

By this time next week, I should have passed the 50,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo-2016 and be well on the way to my personal goal of 60,000. Or, I’ll be done with the first draft.

Things are going along very well. I’ve done my best to lay waste to much of North Carolina (the setting), and develop my main character, Amy. I’m pretty excited about how this is working out.

Some of my writing friends on Twitter are doing well, too. I do my best to encourage and support them as we make our way through this month of writing.

It isn’t as hard as folks might think. And it is. The key is getting started. Once you start, it isn’t hard to keep going. There is the struggle each day to pull up the application and open the document and pick up where you left off. But, that just takes about a half-cup of coffee.

The other day I had this great idea for an epilogue. Yesterday I wrote the epilogue as part of my work. It gave me a finishing framework within which I’ll work the rest of the novel.

So, things are going well, even with a little travel and some interruptions. I’m on track and making progress, and within about 15,000 words of a finish.

Keep writing!

 

Day Fifteen

Halfway

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200This is Day Fifteen. The word count for today is 3,470. I’m averaging 2,019 words per day. My total as of today is: 30,299. This is half way through the month and half way to the end of NaNoWriMo 2016.

If my goal was 50,000 words–which is the goal for NaNoWriMo–I would be three-fifths the way to the word count goal. But, my personal goal is about 60,000 words, so I’m halfway there.

I’m cheerleading friends on Twitter and Facebook. Some even cheer me back, and that is a wonderful thing. I like seeing friends succeed at this as much as I like succeeding at it.

Both Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers, the first two books in the Spirit Missions series, were the result of first drafts done during NaNoWriMo. No, they didn’t go from that to published right away. They went through numerous rewrites, edits, revisions, and more edits. That’s what got them the “Spirit Filled” awards and the great ratings and reviews on Amazon.

So, this project, working title of Alien Alliance, will have a similar process. Edits, rewrites, more edits, revisions, all that. Of course, my wife will be my first reader because … well, she IS my wife. And she deserves a reward for her patience.

The main character, Amy, appeared in the first two books. She was the secondary character to Paul in those, but this time, she’s the main character. There are reasons for that. But, I’m not spilling any beans here. You’ll have to wait for the book to come out.

Can you tell, yet, that I’m having a great time putting this one together? Well, I am. Yeah, there are days when it is hard to sit down and hammer out the story. But, I try to push through. The last two days I’ve logged more than 3,000 words each. That helps. Holidays are coming. I’ll need the buffer.

Keep writing.

 

Day Eight

Day Eight

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200I just finished writing on day eight of NaNoWriMo 2016. So far, I’m averaging a little over 2,000 words per day. Today’s count was 2,150 words. I’m kind of hitting it as a chapter each day. Tomorrow, I’ll start with a fresh chapter. That seems to work pretty well.

So far, the total word count on NaNoWriMo is 16,179. the NaNoWriMo November target is 50,000 words. My personal target is 60,000 words. I should hit that with no problem. I include about 2,000 words in the personal target from some effort prior to NaNoWriMo.

This story uses Amy Grossman’s point of view. She has a bit more internal dialogue than if it was from a male point of view and I’m having a lot of fun with it. The hard part is getting it right when things get tough. And things are getting tough. I’m already thinking of what I have to rewrite tomorrow to do a better job of expressing Amy’s …

Whoops, don’t want to give anything away.

The working title is Alien Alliance. I have a feeling this title won’t work well and a couple of ideas have come up since I started the book.

Those of you who’ve been waiting for this, know that it is in progress. After November, I’ll let it “cool” for a few weeks, then get into the editing, rewriting, and polishing phases. This is a lot of work. I’m hoping to hire my editor again and she’ll help get this story in it’s best shape.

For now, though, I’m hitting it hard every day and increasing the word count. Lots of action. Interesting characters. Can’t wait until we can get this finished and out to the public.

It’s amazing how much fun this can be.

Keep writing.

 

What

What

The story element What is a critical part of a story. Who is important, but without What, there really isn’t any story. The What generally amounts to an event, a romance, an accident, a speech, an election, or an apocalypse.

what-arrowNormally, What is your plot in the novel or short story and is what your character will focus on. You tie your  protagonist to the What, the plot, and the story proceeds through to a resolution.

If you read book blurbs, those paragraphs on the back of paperbacks or the inside flap of a dust jacket, you get a feel for the What. Well-written blurbs usually provide a clue to the main character and the What they will face. Since I mention “well-written,” that indicates there are poorly written … but, I digress.

A lot goes into What. An event, say a wedding, takes a lot of planning and coordination (think Father of the Bride). The event beginning brings in the planner, they select the venue, they redecorate the venue, they select colors, they select flowers, the bride chooses the gown, and all the other details. And, it takes up to a year to carry out.

How you structure that and how your character(s) behave and interact in it can make the story a classic comedy, a bloody thriller, a murder mystery, or an intense drama. Just for a mental exercise, take the movie mentioned above and envision it as a murder mystery. The What doesn’t actually change much, but the characters involved and how they behave do. Significantly.

In my own mental reboot of Father of the Bride, the wedding planner ends as a gruesome murder victim. Of course, the father is the prime suspect, but several of the characters have motive. I even have the groom as a witness to the murder, but he dies horribly just before the ceremony where he planned to name the murderer.

So, you see, the What is a mundane thing. How you, as the writer, treat it is what makes the story.

In my post a couple of weeks ago, we talked about the lead. Who and What are two elements almost always included in the lead. As readers, we care most about who did what, or what happened to whom. As authors, we take the What and break it down to its parts and have the character(s) work in it.

Keep writing.

 

Who

Who

One of the most important story elements in any writing is: Who.

owlgifsAs mentioned in the previous post, The Lead, the first paragraph of a news story should at minimum describe who, what, where, and when. Unless, of course, there is a reason to add why and how in the lead.

Who is always a critical element. We all want to know who did what to whom. That is what we connect with, what we find important, what drives our curiosity.

Of course, the who of any story is the character or characters. The main character, secondary characters, and the antagonist are all included in the who. These are who the reader wants to know about, read about, get involved with.

So we make the character is as real as we can. Use of a character sketch (see an earlier post on just that topic) or character interview helps to fully flesh out details to make a character as real as possible. A character with depth is easy for the reader to settle in with for the duration of the story. To care about. To love. Or to dislike in the case of an antagonist.

The character sketch contains a lot of detail that may never make it directly into the story. However, you use it to add nuance and flavor to the words you choose when describing what the character does, says, and feels.

Keep writing.