Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Month: November 2020 Page 1 of 2

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 25-26

Day 25

Time to start catching up. In years past I could do a 7000 word day (which was fantastic for catching up on word count), but I’m finding that I’m writing a lot cleaner these days. This means fewer words (a 4000 word day is a major catch up day), but those words are contributing to more of a final product than the slapdash ye olde 7000 word days. With experience (age?), I have learned that I would rather write a little slower and cleaner than write at the speed of keyboard sound, because writing cleaner means a lot less work when preparing the story for publishing.

So once I could get my Butt in Chair, I started getting on with the writing. Finally broke 40,000 words and getting closer to Nanowrimo par. Woo hoo!

20″ 152, 10″ 306, 30″ 778, 35″ 554, 25″ 528, 20″ 563, 15″ 554, 20″ 567 (3 hours & 4102 words)

Day 26

Happy Thanksgiving! I took today off from proper writing, although I did spend an hour while watching the National Dog Show thinking about the story and sorting out timelines and figuring out the pieces to the plot puzzle, like what scenes I need to write and when/where to drop in some clues. I ended up breaking out some index cards and writing down plot points on them and then rearranging them on the timeline to get a visual idea of how this all plays out.

From what I can tell, this will definitely NOT be a 50,000 word novel when complete. More likely 65,000 at least. We shall see as the story gets ever more complicated…

60″ 0 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 2330″ (38.8 hours) & 41,043

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 22-24

Day 22

Woke up with all sorts of thoughts and ideas for the novel, and then spent hours writing notes to myself and did some more thinking (I didn’t track the amount of time this took, but it was hours). Did write at the end of the day so I could continue the writing streak (such as it is).

20″ 522

Day 23

All right, time to go back to the beginning and start fixing things so that the story is starting to gel and come together. Went back and cleaned chapters 1 through 10. Note to self: putter, and keep breathing.

20″ 32, 15″ 84, 15″ 17, 20″ 86, 10″ 39, 10″ 11, 10″ 13, 5″ 10, 10″ 39, 30″ 141, 10″ 28 (165″ 500)

Day 24

And the cleaning continues. Got through chapters 11 through 13, and then started having to write new chapters to fill in gaps (I think I wrote the first third of the novel, and part of the final third, so this is filling in the middle third). Overall, it is slow going, but it feels solid.

25″ 240, 25″ 245, 20″ 170, 15″ 41, 10″ 212, 30″ 819 (125″ & 1727)

TOTALS SO FAR: 2090″ (34.8 hours) &  36,941 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 20-21

Day 20

Slogging through. I have no idea where to go with this, what Genie (main character) should do, and I don’t think she knows either. So I stayed in her head and body, and kept writing. Discovered some more backstory on her and Ben (the ex-fiance), and created more problems for her, the poor girl. Now I’ve got her licking her wounds back at home—need to have a mirror moment here, and a real one.

40″ 430, 20″ 533, 65″ 1363, 60″ 1500 (3 hours & 3828 words)

Day 21

It just seemed like a good time to have a disturbing dream for our heroine. And for her to start getting some clues to solve the various mysteries.

20″ 158, 15″ 0 (story thinking), 75″ 1714, 35″ 1000, 10″ 131 (155″ & 3027 words)

TOTALS SO FAR: 1800″ (30 hours) & 34, 194 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 18-19

Day 18


Once I got that out of my system (after avoiding writing all damn day), I put Butt in Chair and started writing. Finally.

20″258, 40″ 1229, 20″ 526, 12″ 381, 45″ 1197 (140″ & 3591 words)

Day 19

And another Evernote blurp. I only got 25 minutes in and 451 words, AND YET they may have been eviscerated by Evernote. Part of what bothered me about that was that those were all the words I had for the day, so if they were gone, then I had a Day with No Words. I spent an hour-plus fretting and generally freaking out at the realization that ALL of my works in progress are in Evernote. WHAT IF they all disappeared from Evernote? I would be seriously screwed. So I realized that I need to come up with a better plan for the works in progress, because I can’t keep going through this. I can’t even think about losing all those novels and short stories. I have a ton of stuff to publish, and it could all so easily go fwoomp. F*#^.

Kudos go to my personal SysAdmin who bent Evernote to his will and got its database optimized, all while I sat curled up in a fetal position, my eyes wide and my lungs wheezing. Thank you, my love.

tldr: Back everything TF up, people. And in something/somewhere you can trust.

It is almost enough to have me printing everything out. Poor trees.

25″ 451

TOTALS SO FAR: 1465″ (24.4 hours) & 27,339 words <over half way there!>

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 13-17

Day 13

Not getting as much time to write as I would like, so I had to settle for thirty minutes today. Still, I got nearly a thousand words in, so I’ll take it.

30″ 905

Day 14

Just got word at the day job that thanks to the Governor’s 2-week “Freeze” order, my work schedule is going to change. Rampant chaos and uncertainty. Might as well write.

20″ 600, 30″ 1032, 20″ 638 (70″ 2270)

Day 15

Still bumbling through this novel. I have to keep reminding myself to just keep sitting and keep writing. And when that fails, to write the next sentence, and let the characters think things through on the page.

40″ 1018, 20″ 522 (60″ 1540)

Day 16

In conversation with my short story writing partner, we talked about ‘writing as therapy’. I think there is something definitely to that, although I’m not sure what writing about talking cats, occult PIs, and Finnish pastries says about me.

Today’s writing was all about Genie and her ex-fiance, and it was surprisingly easy to write, but oh so painful with the ex upset about Genie lying to him, and Genie feeling a ton of guilt and shame. Conflict is a terrible and beautiful thing.

20″ 500, 30″ 1080, 30″ 1059, 10″ 400 (90″ 3039)

Day 17

Felt very stuck because I had no idea where the story was going (still don’t, for that matter), and Genie! The poor girl has her heart broken into a zillion little pieces, and is making no headway on her cases, so now what? Eventually, with the encouragement and support of my in-person Muse, I sat down and wrote, letting Genie think her way through her situation. Spoiler alert: she ends up at the public library!

15″ 89, 15″ 177, 20″ 20, 25″ 591, 10″ 250, 10″ 274 (95″ 1401)

TOTALS SO FAR: 1300″ (21.7 hours) & 23,297 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 11-12

Day 11

My goal for today was 4000 words, and I hit it. It helps to have 3 (or 4?) story threads: the main case to solve, the ticking clock (pay the debt by Friday or consequences), and now police have called in our heroine on a new case. I just keep chugging away at it. Lots of cleaning up of earlier chapters, filling in description and details, then taking a run at moving the story forward. Conflict between characters is always good, especially when they are friends. Keep putting Butt in Chair, keep writing, keep telling myself that it can be awful and it doesn’t matter because no one has to ever see it. Keep amusing self.

30″ 327, 45″ 675, 20″ 154, 10″ 49, 10″ 132, 5″ 60, 25″ 146, 30″ 568, 30″ 753, 40″ 609, 40″ 729 (280″ 4202 words)

Day 12

One of the things I emphasize in my “How to Write a Novel in 30 Days” presentation is to back everything up. It doesn’t matter how—cloud, USB drive, emails to yourself, photographs, photocopies, handwritten copies. Just back it up to something that is reliable so in case SHTF, you will still have what you have written.

I live in Evernote. It backs up to a cloud. I thought I was safe.

I was wrong.

The good news is that I only lost a hundred-ish words (they weren’t the bestest words ever, but they were decent and I regret their loss). The bad news is that I lost a good chunk of my faith in Evernote, and I realized that perhaps I need to change how I do things.

Nevermind that this is the way I have been doing this writing thing for years.


So my blissful trust has been smudged and I now look over my proverbial backup shoulder constantly. Which sucks.

Managed to get an hour of writing in, even after dealing with Evernote issues, and more importantly got more words in the story. Exciting news: heroine under suspicion regarding the new police case. Doh!

10″ 31 (lost), 10″ 98 (lost), 40″ 1137

TOTALS SO FAR: 955″ & 14,142 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 9-10

Day 9

I have no idea what I’m doing, but I just keep writing words. I keep cycling back through previous chapters and then forge ahead with new chapters. Not dizzy at all. Ha.

60″ 411

50″ 1406

15″ 326

Day 10

Ugh. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and that this is pointless. I should be writing adventure/romance, not ‘mystery’ which I don’t feel in my bones. Maybe this would be easier if the story wasn’t about a cold case. Maybe. Is writing this novel stretching me? Oh, hell yes. Is it fun? Not really, although I love the talking cat [spoiler]. Does it have to be publishable? No. Does it have to be done so I can move on and get over my ‘mystery genre’ writing hang-ups? YES.

Maybe if I think about it like some of the urban fantasy novels I love that have at the heart of them a mystery, wrapped with strong strands of romance and friendships—then maybe I can make this work. Maybe.

40″ 449

10″ 127

5″ 44

40″ 1038

TOTALS SO FAR: 615″ & 8674 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 6-8

Day 6

Not many words or time today because I was focused on other writerly things (updating the blog, revising the newsletter). Planned to get an hour of writing in; I was lucky to get twenty minutes.

20″ 592

Day 7

My goal on weekdays is to get an hour of writing in, and I nailed that today, even if I only got 500 words. Ideally one hour would net me 1000 words, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. Still cleaning up the first chapters.

30″ 81

35″ 422

Day 8

Feeling very uncertain about this detective fiction thing. Regency fantasy romance? Sure! Time travel to WWII London? Absolutely! Space opera in an intergalactic coffee shop? No problem!

But a mystery? Egads.

So of course I had to go learn about mysteries and detective fiction because MORE RESEARCH IS ALWAYS GOOD (um, not really). I did learn some things which should be useful, so that’s a win.

180″ 2411

TOTALS SO FAR: 395″ & 4893 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 4-5

Day 4

Holy hell. I don’t know if it’s post-election exhaustion or, more likely, my Perfectionism coming to the fore, but man, I put off writing all damn day. Thankfully, I had an hour that I was forced to sit away from a computer and do nothing, so I wrote longhand, or tried to write, and everything in my head was a constant battering of self-doubt:

“Do I start here?”

“Do I open with setting? What is the setting? What is the mood? What is going on here?”

“Maybe I need a writing prompt. But not that writing prompt. Okay, geez, I thought that writing prompt would work and now I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Do I scrap everything I wrote back in August and start over? Or do I try to make it work?”

“OMG, I suck and I cannot follow my own writing advice. How the hell can I teach people how to write when I hit Nanowrimo and I am a freaking mess?”

And then just as I start trying to actually write, the Evil Critic in the back of my head pops up to offer his charming insights:

“Wow, you really don’t know what you’re doing. You are such a hack. When you wrote other stories in this world, you had fun and now you’re struggling, so the earlier writing must have been inspired and you used it all up because now you’ve got nothing. Wow, this is terrible writing. Maybe you should go study some more because you clearly have no idea how to write detective fiction, so you are going to fail miserably. After all this time, all you’ve managed is 200 words? Such a loser…”

So, yeah. Despite the mental distractions, I managed to write one page of the novel today, which feels like a monumental victory.

As Scarlett O’Hara said, tomorrow is another day. Hopefully this was just the initial stuttering, like trying to start a car that’s been parked in a garage for years. Just needs a little bit of a jump to get going.

TOTALS SO FAR: 25″ & 298 words

Day 5

Now that I got that out of my system, time to get to work.

The good news: yesterday’s words weren’t as bad as I thought. Not great, but not awful. So that’s a win.

Spent today going over what I wrote yesterday and then fitting that in with what I wrote back in August. Lots of smoothing things down and filling things out and trying to keep it all consistent.

The writing still feels awkward, but I’m making some progress. I’ll take it.

20″ 137 words
40″ 264 words
45″ 688 words
[for the day 105″ 1089 words]

TOTALS SO FAR: 130″ & 1387 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Day 3

Still getting warmed up here. I spent an hour reading the last of the three short stories in the Genie Colt* world (it was the longest at 7,200 words, with the other two running around 2,000 each) and taking notes for the ‘story bible’.

Holy hell. I have an entire world already created.

I’ve got an opinionated main character (don’t get her started on fake plants, bad coffee, or McMansions) in a city with wizards, old Norse gods, and mer-people, and a seedy supernatural underbelly that has its own infrastructure that includes bureaucracy, crime scene cleaners, and a motley assortment of residents (daughter of a garbage truck driver and a fairy? Check!). And did I mention the wizard ex-fiance that has our heroine annoyed and intrigued?

Okay, so I’m starting to get really excited, and a little nervous. This thing could be, in the parlance of my childhood, AWESOME.

But no pressure.

Now to review the story idea I had back in August, and see how I can use that.

<twiddles thumbs breathlessly>


*Genie (Genevieve) Colt, occult PI. Set in Astoria, Oregon.

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