462 words on DTD, and writing when I was too tired to write

I actually like what I got. I’m not convinced this whole scene is solid, but it beats the hell out of the lame one I initially had written on the index card. It is, either way, good enough for first draft, because it moves the story forward, and it’s done.

And I went in planning for the absolute minimum words, and instead rounded out the scene.

And I rolled over 24,000 words at the same time. 24,102, to be exact.

So it was a pretty good night, especially for a night when I just didn’t feel like writing.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

65 comments… add one
  • Brent B. Jul 11, 2009 @ 1:11

    306 elusive and beautiful words.

    Today, hesitancy puffed around inside my head, billowing like smoky roses off the end of the marlboro stem burning in my fingers. Man, I wanted to write, but my mind felt like cotton candy, ready to disintegrate to an empty blackboard the moment I tried. I had nothing to give the paper.

    The thought of doing it grew . . . into a stubborn resistance to put it off . . . and off . . .

    Finally, I made myself do it. My hesitancy made the words hit the paper like so much chopped wood at first. But I abandoned all resistance, and found a hidden place that buzzed like a chainsaw. It wasn’t a lot of words, but I swear I’ve never written that fast or confident before. Damn, I wish I could bottle that feeling.

  • Dee Jul 11, 2009 @ 0:25

    335 today.
    What’s the point of going to a new country if it looks just like where you left?

  • Steve Jul 10, 2009 @ 22:33

    A total of 800 or so over the last two days; difficult to say exactly how many I netted, because some of it involved rewriting an existing scene.

    The good news is that the rewrite opened up a possibility for what was until now a throwaway scene in the middle of the book. (If you’re keeping score at home, the first draft of the WIP was all done in first person, and the revision is going to include a great many scenes involving other viewpoints along the way. It’s making things a lot more interesting.)

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we’re almost at the end of the beginning on the revision: out of the frying pan and into the fire. Trouble so far is that the fire as it now stands is &$%#@# boring. Middles are, for me, very tough going…

  • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 21:30

    Holy logos, Batman. I hit another scene that just flew. the upshot was completely unexpected, but couldn’t have worked out better if I’d planned it. I’ve never had a book do this before. How To Think Sideways must be wiring itself into my brain on a subconscious level.

    Holly — thanks. Again. And again.

    Total word count for the day was 2224. Wheels within wheels. This poor MC just cannot cut a break. Heh heh heh…

  • Debora Jul 10, 2009 @ 18:51

    Got 607 words today. Thank you, Holly, for affording your students this opportunity to write along with you. I have never been one to sign up for word count challenges, not because I don’t think they’re a good idea, but because I tend to write more slowly than most. It really helps to motivate me during the time I do have to write to know that I will be posting my word count later.

    I am making progress, day by day, and I have also overcome my old tendency to go back and rewrite. I don’t do that anymore. I know what I need to do is get a whole first draft done, from beginning to finish. Warts and all!

    As you say, Holly, onward!

  • Carly Jul 10, 2009 @ 17:46

    Another productive day for me, wrote 918 this morning and 696 this evening so if I make my brain work for just a few moments thats… 1614. Lovely. The last scene I wrote today came out with something pretty evil from my MC’s creepy husband that I didn’t expect but when I actually wrote it, it wasn’t as scary as first imagined. Still I know now how I want that scene to be so onwards and upwards, it can wait til revision!

    Figured something else out today in that one of my good guys is actually really bloody evil – and possibly pregnant… so much fun!

    Well done everyone else, I love reading the other messages on here it’s so inspiring!

    • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 21:25

      ooohhh! Evil AND reproducing. Now that’s scary!

  • Diana Cacy Hawkins Jul 10, 2009 @ 17:31

    This afternoon’s word count was 1856. More words, less time because I stayed home on the computer.

    But it doesn’t count for this project. I was missing my characters in my fantasy series and returned to it. This is chapter one of book three (trying for stand alones in the same world). Quite happy with both my increased writing ability and with what’s happening.

    I may still write a bit on the project for this thread though before the day’s over.

  • Karen van Wyk Jul 10, 2009 @ 16:56

    Slightly better word count from me today. I managed 501 and I’m leaving off in an exciting part of the story so I’m keen to get back into it tomorrow.

  • Lisa Jul 10, 2009 @ 16:33

    Didn’t have time to post yesterday, but I wrote 310 words yesterday and 657 today. Yay! The night before last as I was falling asleep, this character danced into my head out of nowhere, insisting that he HAD to be in this book. Actually he wanted the part of first-person narrator for the whole freaking thing, but I told him no way to that…but he could audition as a third-person narrator for this scene. So far he is definitely getting that part, anyway. πŸ™‚

    And then another character jumped in that I wasn’t expecting, and I have no idea where this is going now, but I like it.

    I took your advice to somebody (can’t remember who) in the comments a couple days ago, Holly, to ask yourself what could happen that would wreck your MC’s world. The answer to that question was obvious, and it’s about to happen in this scene. It’s going to take my plot in all sorts of unexpected directions, and I’m excited!!!

  • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 15:17

    Struggling with my current scene. The conflict isn’t… honed enough. It’s in there, but buried beneath a bunch of extraneous stuff (do these people love to talk or what? I don’t know where they get that). So I’m at 1002 words for the day so far, but really need to do some thinking before I continue to commit words to pixels. Plus I’ve run out of scene cards and need to scribble out the next set.

    I did get a really cool and unexpected scene using the exercise on Internal Conflict from Holly’s How to Write Page Turning Scenes Workshop. It starred my villain and was him having to decide whether to let the MC get brutalized by a trio of hooligans (which he would enjoy vicariously) or find a way to save her without doing it himself (he can’t reveal he’s trailing her and he needs to keep her alive and healthy so she can lead him to something). It was incredibly revealing. But better yet, his solution set up an absolutely delightful wicked bit for further up the road — man, I couldn’t have PLANNED something that cool — it just popped out. And while it was a short scene — just slightly over 280 words — boy was it powerful. And fun. He scares even me and I think I’m pretty jaded. CREE-E-E-PY!

    Anyway. Lunch is over (and then some) and I have actual earn-my-paycheck work to do. Maybe more tonight, depending on how clingy Velcro-Girl is when I get home from the EDJ (gosh, I love that acronym!), and then only if I’m really inspired (Man from U.N.C.L.E. is on tonight, after all). All in all, I’m pretty happy with this week’s progress.

    Happy wordage, all! And have a great weekend.

    • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 23:59

      Oh, and I was wrong. U.N.C.L.E. isn’t on tonight. *sigh* It’s tomorrow night. And here I was all excited, and all I got was Kojak. Blech.

  • Laura Jul 10, 2009 @ 15:04

    Lost a week of writing. I hate that–the story becomes a stranger then. I did squeeze in some time on the weekend to brainstorm my MC’s passive nature, which led me to think more deeply about my theme–certainly about what I want to say more personally in writing this book. Can’t say I got either of those resolved, but I did see that I was too invested with where the story started–the first chapter, the beginning action. When I considered other places to start, there was an almost immediate shift in the story–it loosened up, if that makes sense. It was almost as though the characters were moving around or moving each other around, like pieces on a chess board and a new dynamic came out of it. I just hope I can get back to this place again. My job peaked this week to an intense level (hard grant deadlines) that knocked me sideways and I’ve hardly been able to think in any direction.

  • Red_dot Jul 10, 2009 @ 14:19

    Ok, I’m on Pacific Time. it’s 11:15 a.m. here. I just finished writing for this morning. I’m glad I made it through my second writer’s block. 969 words. Brings me to over 9,000. I think that’s more words than I totaled in High School. Now some fun research, watching a couple of movies on subject. Anyone else here on facebook?

  • Michelle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:49

    I’m extremely late here, but…only 200 today, but 200 I like very much. So all is well. πŸ™‚

  • A. C. Ellis Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:42

    Nothing on 7/9. I had hoped to get another 1,000 words, but it was so hot in the apartment that I left for the bar.

  • Suzanne Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:32

    I just joined in and I’m really excited about only feeling committed to write for a few minutes each day. I tend to get paralyzed if I don’t have the “ideal time to write” and so consequently get nothing done. But I can write for 20 minutes or so a day, rain or shine, even if I’m exhausted. So I am going to do this.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:58

      Welcome. I’m glad you’re here. I’ll be looking for you.

  • Cessena Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:14

    I bought a new notebook yesterday and it has inspired me. I did about 500 ont he train this morning. My MC is about to be going places!

  • Red_dot Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:06

    Yesterday I didn’t try and write. Heavy research into the subject of the book, very complex which makes me stall when I have a character who’s life deals with the subject. I have finally found a way to get my main character from point A to point B in a realistic enough manner that a non technical reader of the subject can believe. I’m trying to be vague. One reason is Holly asked us not to put detailed info about our books. I have also seen a book idea stolen and used by someone else. Excited this morning about getting back on the pony and getting some words down, it has been 9 days since and words came out.

  • Emily Jul 10, 2009 @ 10:57

    Since I finished my first draft, I have on word count for today. Very bittersweet. So, how long am I supposed to “take off” before I can get back in there?

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:57

      Let the story you’ve just finished cool off for at least a week before you look at it again.

      However, you can always start another story today. πŸ˜€

  • Michelle Jul 10, 2009 @ 10:22

    I’ve been doing great so far this week. almost 3000 words in the past two days. I need to do a little more worldbuilding, but the story is really coming together.

    Last night I also had an idea for another freaky story. I love when my dreams help me out.

  • Jessica Jul 10, 2009 @ 10:14

    I was on a roll last night – 482 words. And I would have kept going except I figured I should at least get some sleep (5hrs) before getting up for work, especially since I’m replacing someone on vacation.

    MC is about to have her second encounter with the red haired man, and it’s going to freak the hell out of her!

    • Jessica Jul 10, 2009 @ 16:02

      Ok, another 348 between my lunch and breaks. That was amazing! My heart is still racing, really creeped myself out. I love this scene! Next is a big fight between the boys while MC has some trippy fun with flowers. I know it’s cryptic but it’s more fun that way, isn’t it? πŸ˜€

  • Staci Myers Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:24

    250 is usually a tipping point for me; I’ll usually be right in the middle of something that I want to finish by the time I get there, so I’ll keep cruising until it’s done, unless I’m trying to wedge in writing on my breaks at work, in which case, I take whatever I can get on the page.

    Mind you, didn’t write anything last night, had to help the husband get started on replacing the breaks on our truck…in 100 degree weather.

    Off today – my reward for working 10 hour days M-Th – so I should have a good block of time for writing.

  • Lacey Savage Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:06

    I hit a low point last night and my motivation dwindled down to nothing. (Can you tell I’m really looking forward to your next writing craft episode?) So, I got nothing done. Nada. Zip. Bupkus.

    I’m determined to change that this weekend, since Fridays are usually my days off from writing.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:55

      Hugs. I’m about 75% finished putting the ideas and outline and examples together. I figure with the other 25%, plus doing the recording and then the video and sound editing, I might have it ready to go the Monday after next.

  • Kait Nolan Jul 10, 2009 @ 8:58

    Well, I wound up with 464, finished the scene I was revising other than one transition I’m just not sure about, blocked out the scene I have to write today, and wrote about 400 words of stream of consciousness spew at my CP in my villain’s head (as today’s scene is his). I’m behind for the week for my weekly goal, so have some catching up to do between now and Sunday.

  • unxplaindfires Jul 10, 2009 @ 8:40

    468 words at home + 1089 at work = 1557 total for yesterday!

    I’m excited to dive back in, except my main character died! I didn’t plan on him dying but he did. Large glass door cleaved him right in half when this little red head hurled it at him – it was just in time for him to see his best friend teleported away by the vampire that is not a vampire. Don’t know what I’m gonna do about that, got a few more bodies then I thought I would and one scene that made me turn on a few more lights πŸ˜€ CREEPY
    Now, to work and time thinking of a way to bring a MC back that doesn’t involve an insatiable appetite for brains. Any ideas?

    • Dawn Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:01

      I don’t know if this will work for you, but I tend to spend time “talking” to my characters. Maybe ask him how he lived through the large glass door and he’ll tell you? It might involve changing that last scene you wrote a bit though.

  • Dawn Jul 10, 2009 @ 8:30

    1,842 words today and I cried through the last 400 or so. N’tal is having a really hard time with Vallion’s death and he’s supposed to, but I killed the man off so why am I so upset? I want other people to sympathize with N’tal, I suppose this is part of the process. That was some intense writing for sure.

    • Staci Myers Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:25

      If the emotions that you write aren’t real to you, they won’t be real to anyone else. The fact that it’s affecting you that strongly is a good sign πŸ™‚

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:53

      At some point in every book, I make myself laugh, or cry, or end up furious…

      If you are not in your book, your reader won’t believe it. It’s kind of like acting—only you have to be the director, the scriptwriter, and the actor.

  • Lisa R Jul 10, 2009 @ 8:23

    876 words last night. The story moved along rather nicely. I did get a little repetitive, but that is the nature of the story. Hopefully it will work. At anyrate, what I did works for a first draft and I loved where I left off. My one character ran away which I hadn’t planned at all.

    I have been going through this web-site and started working on the workshops. I had a ton of fun working on Creating Conflict. There is a Bob in my life that I don’t like. Boy did I mess with his life. It was deflightfully fun. I read the Novel Pre-Writing. I was happy to see that I basically have done all of that with my novel. Yeah! I finished my night with Set Writing Goals. This scared me. With my first rejection, years ago, I stopped writing saying it was time to raise my kids. Well, with the goals I set, I will be sending out four to six short stories by the end of the year. My stomach churns just thinking of it. Thank you Holly for all that you have done for writers.

  • Scarlett Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:52

    2101 words today – whizzed through it now I have finally worked out a key segment. At least managed to solve it by the weekend so feel I can relax. It’s funny how I always seem to work better on a Friday, I think it’s the pressure of two days with no writing ahead of me makes me try even harder to do well and get the words down

  • Sari Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:05

    203 tonight. My cat has been at the vet all day and now has to spend the night there because her temperature’s not coming down. At least I’m not as worried about her when she’s there because she’s in good hands. I really want to bring her home tomorrow though. I miss her πŸ™

    Hopefully will get some good writing done on the weekend but I’ve got quite a bit on. Going to Cirque du Soleil!! πŸ˜€

    • Dawn Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:39

      Best wishes for your cats recovery and have a great time watching Cirque du Soleil. That’s something I’d love to see live someday.

    • Debora Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:56

      Really hope your cat is feeling better!

  • Canotila Jul 10, 2009 @ 5:49

    550 tonight. Thank you Holly for doing this. I feel like it’s going to help immensely.

  • Rachelle Jul 10, 2009 @ 5:21

    Well, everyone is more productive than me.. again. That’s OK. I’ve been writing linearly, found out Im an ‘organic’ writer… must have something to do with my diet. πŸ˜‰

    • Dawn Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:36

      It’s not how much you write so much as that you write and that you do it again and again until you have the entire story!

    • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:48

      Absolutely, Dawn. It’s not the number of words, Rachelle, but that you continue to put words down. Be proud of yourself that your’e stillw ith us, and doing it!

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:51

      Also chiming in. The point of this is to get comfortable with making a date with yourself to write regularly. How much you write is VERY beside the point. That you actually sit down and do it is what will allow you to finish your project.

  • Ieva Jul 10, 2009 @ 4:58

    1100+ words. It turns out she can actually be kind when she’s gotten something to eat. (Perhaps i should feed her more. ;))
    Oh, and I found a cool reason why she hasn’t left this mess at all: “Leaving Bruga was like leaving a wild company after having the second beer: wise perhaps, but quite impossible.” (inexact quote)

  • Minze Jul 10, 2009 @ 4:52

    392 words in ten minutes.

    Total word: 11,704, and I only ever write for ten or twenty minutes a day. I started doing that after listening to Holly’s audiobook on how to break writer’s block, and I must say that working like this absolutely does the trick. I’ve never once started my writing feeling burdened or pressured, and my writing is all the better for that – lighter, funnier, darker, more menacing, more adventurous. I think I could get used to this.

  • DasteRoad Jul 10, 2009 @ 3:39

    No writing because of Evil PhD Work, but while I was working in the lab and waiting for an experiment to finish I did a good page of clustering. Now my head is bubbling with ideas, I think I finally got the hang of what was stalling me. I have a tendency to ask myself simply “what happens next?” and often this question does not take me very far, I end up with unfocused scenes, in which a lot of stuff happens but the point of it all remains vague. I’ve started asking myself “what happens next that is *critical*, important, or unexpected? What goes wrong? How can I solve the problem at hand or complicate it? What new problems can arise?” and so on. And it’s going a lot better, it’s like I never realized before my heroine’s potential. And I hope she has further surprises to show me along the way πŸ™‚

    • Holly Lisle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:49

      Good insights. “What happens next?” frequently leads characters to sitting around reading papers and having tea.

      “What happens next that MATTERS?” skips all that.

  • tamlyn Jul 10, 2009 @ 3:27

    1621 words yesterday (am 6 to 9 hours ahead of the US, so this is thursdays word count written down on friday morning)
    Went back to the start of the scene, and planted in a scene between my heroine and her father. It broke my heart, but it needed to be in there. So onwards and upwards. Two scenes to go, one of them incorporating a major death. It’s gonna hurt writing that one too, even tho the victim is a kind of prick.

  • The Pencil Neck Jul 10, 2009 @ 3:21

    653 words tonight.

    I started putting the questions to my villain and got some interesting responses. The guy really screwed up and realizes. Now, he just wants revenge and leads a very lonely life. I’m still not done with him. I have been really tempted to make him the MC but it might be almost too cliche to have him in that role.

    I also explored the way certain parts of the culture work. Got some interesting stuff.

  • Margaret Jul 10, 2009 @ 1:02

    You know, it’s really nice to hear you say that about one of your scene cards, though I know how rough recognizing that can be. It’s hard to tell when learning a new technique whether issues during it are natural or a consequence of failing to do it right.

    Anyway, glad you got some solid words :D.

  • Anthony Jul 10, 2009 @ 0:14

    Looong night…4,884 words bringing me to 45,371. Good scenes that I wanted to write so they came easy. Kind of a bummer day but the writing kept me occupied.

    • Sari Jul 10, 2009 @ 2:00

      wow. impressive.

      • Scarlett Jul 10, 2009 @ 6:48

        You must be EXHAUSTED Anthony! Whenever I write a big chunk like that it totally wipes me out. Well done

    • Staci Myers Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:31

      I tend to be most productive on bad or stressful days; I think it has something to do with being able to feel in control of something when I don’t feel like I can control anything else.

      Then there are the times when the story just wants *out*, and I’ll spend a rare day in agonized bliss, doing nothing but writing until the last word is done & I pry myself out of the chair for food & a bathroom break πŸ˜‰

    • Nancy Jul 10, 2009 @ 9:52

      Wow. That’s an awesome word count! I’d be a total brainless wonder the next day. Way to go!

  • Clare K. R. Miller Jul 10, 2009 @ 0:12

    361 words today. One short scene which has the villain yelling at her minions for being idiots. Not sure if it will even go in the novel at the end, but hey, words! And it was fun to write.

  • KQ Jul 10, 2009 @ 0:08

    1208, a start to a very important scene. I was getting off track, but thanks to all og Holly’s articles, I realized that I needed to focus on whatever the conflict was, which I did, and I think things are on track now.

  • Jim Mitchel Jul 10, 2009 @ 0:06

    I finished up chapter 3, as well as the very short chapter 4.

    Chapter four saw the villain giving instructions to an unidentified double agent that works within the party of heroes. We also learn that there is a second double agent amongst the heroes as well.

    I’ll spend tonight trying to figure out my β€œin” to chapter 5.

    Word count for today: 512

    Jim

  • Elise Jul 9, 2009 @ 23:57

    758 words on a new scene today. This was from the man’s POV and I’m thinking the idea of a romantic suspense is exciting. I’ve never written a novel with two POVs before and am enjoying the possibilities.

  • Dee Jul 9, 2009 @ 23:55

    1088 words today. Took me completely by surprise. BUT, the cruise is over and only those who really deserved to died.

  • Eve Jul 9, 2009 @ 23:09

    The day took a crappy turn at around 3:00 pm and I was ready to weep into my supper, but I decide to write anyway and got 698 words. I feel the story is back on track. The writing really calmed me down and sorted me out.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 9, 2009 @ 23:18

      I’m sorry about the bad day. It’s cool you got some good in spite of it. Congrats on the words.

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