Aleksa lives

I ripped out a few hundred words tonight, and ended up with (don’t laugh) 666 new words to replace them.

I now know exactly why she lied. She had a damn good reason. I know know why she did the things she did. She had a damn good reason. And I now know how she gets through each day.

She is someone I would want to know in real life. In these last few pages, she has come alive for me with a painful sharpness that I want from all my main characters, and don’t always accomplish to my own satisfaction.

She’ll carry the story. I know that now, without doubt. She could do it on her own, but she won’t have to. Her future partner in what comes is my target tomorrow night. I need the same clarity for him. I’m at the scene where who he truly is begins to reveal itself. So I need the same sort of writing night tomorrow as I had tonight.

So … I need to tell myself what I need from him. Then I need to sleep on it.

How did your words go?

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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.

64 comments… add one
  • Roisin Sep 23, 2009 @ 17:14

    No writing since Saturday, sadly, due to moving house and my first week at Uni: trying to find my way around and get to know my flatmates and figure out how to register and where to turn up is taking all of my energy.

    I have some time tonight, but I really need to sit down and ask myself some questions before I can get anything done. Hopefully I will be back on track tomorrow, or the weekend at the latest.

  • S Kenshin Sep 23, 2009 @ 11:40

    I hand-wrote a key addition to a scene. I guess it must have been about a hunnert words.

  • Michelle Sep 22, 2009 @ 23:41

    Well, I’m back again! My excuse this time is a big move- from Korea to Texas, to be exact. After a year over there we’re back now, and the last week and a half has been filled with catching up with family and friends.

    I’ve managed to keep up with my freelance stuff, amazingly! But the poor WIP has fallen by the wayside. I got 350 Sunday and 250 tonight. Will start plugging through again. 🙂

  • June Sep 22, 2009 @ 22:40

    End of day Tues 9/22 and I have 200 words today of description. Would have had more but this is my busy day, so I’m in and out of the house a lot. The 200 are replacing ‘wrong words’ so it’s not a net gain, but it is still advancement as far as I’m concerned.

    -June

  • Don Sep 22, 2009 @ 20:18

    Did you one better I ripped out nine thousand words. That why I was MIA for the last few days. Something didn’t feal right now it feels better. I did 731 word today I’m now slightly under thirdy one thousand. It’s best not to push just let it develop, and it will.

  • Dena C. Sep 22, 2009 @ 19:40

    Hi everyone. It’s been a while since I checked in, I’ve been busy with the day job and busy with the book. I’m happy to announce that having my nose to the grind stone has paid off, and after a final push tonight of over 5000 words I finished my book. Woo hoo. I’m going to take a few days off from anything writing related and I’m going to glut myself on the books I’ve been waiting to read, but held off on because of the writing. I’d like to thanks to Holly and everyone else on this board for the support. Take care everyone.

    • Yese Sep 22, 2009 @ 20:18

      Congrats!!!! I am sooooo jealous!! I am writing my first book and I’ve only written ~1.5K words and I am going back to plotting. I don’t have enough scenes for a complete book… 🙁

    • Debora Sep 23, 2009 @ 7:56

      Great news!

  • Red_dot Sep 22, 2009 @ 15:14

    942 words this morning, 24K total. Shooting for 25K today. MC met the Space Shuttle for first time today exciting! Trying to get passed CH7. Before I had asked about music to set the tone for writing, thanks for the responses. Next question, does anyone use props to help the creative juices flow? I have a couple of toy shuttles I use that I found online.

  • Lisa R Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:52

    0 words. I had way too many things going on. Hopefully I can hit it hard tonight.

  • Treelight Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:28

    Hey, your advice from yesterday seemed to have helped. And/Or it was easier writing based on the notes I took during the day and that there was some action.

    I got 757 words, and Larasse has now seen that Cathrine is really in trouble. She has seen him, too, and hopes he will be able to rescue her. However she almost gave him away to her kidnapper by accident.

  • Beverly Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:27

    Blech. First day back at work after being on vacation. It took all day long to find the top of my desk.
    228 words. Today will be better.

  • Kait Nolan Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:09

    456 last night. A little under the 500 I was shooting for, but that’s okay.

  • Caitlin Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:04

    846 words.

    My first couple of days have been extremely productive, I must say. I am really glad I joined you guys. It seems that I am making progress and the task does not appear like an insurmountable endeavour. Welcome to the end of the thought process, Caitlin! 😉

    I am 1610 words into the novel continuously from page 1. Tomorrow, I believe that I will have to organize my notes. I have written parts of the manuscript in longhand and it is time to transcribe or ditch them.

    The progress is rewarding, exciting and motivating!

  • Cecelia Westrich Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:14

    My comment is awaiting moderation? What does that mean? I wrote too much? Sorry. I didn’t know there was a word limit.

    • The Pencil Neck Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:38

      The Moderation thing seems to be pretty random.

      I’ve written several things that went into that Awaiting Moderation state. At first, I thought it was length but I’ve written long things that haven’t went into moderation.

      This has happened with several other posters as well.

      So, it’s not just you.

      • The Pencil Neck Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:39

        “Haven’t went.”

        sigh

    • HannaBelle Sep 23, 2009 @ 9:04

      As Pencil Neck noted, it has happened to several of us, and we don’t know why. After I got the message for several days in a row, it stopped happening. BTW, not all mine were eventually posted, and I can’t see why — no bad words, short, long.

  • Cecelia Westrich Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:12

    Got on a roll this morning, 718 words. My flashback is smoothing out a little. I think having the pressure of grinding out hours of work lifted off me is starting to have a beneficial effect. I’m not writing with an eye on the clock, and I’m not hating the work anymore. Kevin is a sad kid, who grew up with everything except someone to tune in to his soul, someone to listen to him and care. He’s found Peg now and she is not just a willing ear. Peg cares about Kevin and his teen angst because of her own rough teen years. She can relate. This is what I am trying to do with the flashback, give the reader a sense of Kevin’s need and Peg’s feeling of empathy. I have this horrible worry that there will be those who will read sexual innuendo into all of this. Especially in light of the news stories in recent months and years about teachers and other trusted individuals taking advantage of teen boys. This is the farthest thing from my mind here in this story. But I can’t help but wonder if such an innocent relationship between a 28-year-old married mother and a teenage neighbor boy is possible or believable. Or am I setting up a situation that is going to ask the reader to stretch his belief and cause him to raise a skeptical eyebrow?

    Still, I’m happy with the way this is all going so far and I’m starting to enjoy writing again in a way I have not for quite some time. I was even thinking of giving up. I’m glad that I didn’t.

  • Red_dot Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:54

    Last night 250 no so evil words. I could see Holly writing with her black cat, a candle dimly lights the room while the sounds of helter skelter playing backwards fills the void.

  • Peggy Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:28

    No new words for Doppelgangers, unfortunately. I sat down to rewrite the scene where Chase notifies parents of their daughter’s death, and didn’t have the “in” to getting to the emotional core that I want and need for that scene.

    So I programmed my subconscious to work on it and woke up this morning (Tuesday; I’m trying to keep the entries relevant to the day Holly posts them, though I’m on the West Coast and write earlier than she does) with the “in” I need. I will get words today!

  • Minze Sep 22, 2009 @ 10:35

    452 words. It felt rather awkward and clunky. Even though I only stopped writing for ten days, I’m already a little rusty. Not really surprising, of course, but still, I wouldn’t have expected it. Perhaps the best thing to do is to always make sure I’ve got more scenes to write once I’m done with the one I’m currently working on.

  • S Kenshin Sep 22, 2009 @ 10:15

    Does editing count? And how would you keep track of your progress?

    My current piece has been roughed out, but I’m having a hard time getting it into ‘fighting trim.’ Alas.

    • Amy Sep 22, 2009 @ 10:22

      I’m not too sure about editing, but if you want to see your word count…if you use Word you just click on the tools option and then scan down the drop down menu until you see word count.

      That’s what people are doing to know their word count and all.

      Other then that, i have no idea about editing. I’m still working on my first draft.

      • S Kenshin Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:12

        Oh.

        I don’t use Word, and since I’m not drafting, guess I’m in the wrong place.

        Sorry.

        • The Pencil Neck Sep 22, 2009 @ 12:30

          Oh, no. You’re in a great place. We’ve got people in the revsion stage and other people doing weird things like translations. Editing counts fine… although I’d imagine the “rules” would be a bit different. After all, there’s a pretty good chance your word counts will go negative during revision.

          I put up word counts during my planning/plotting/development phase. I just kept track of how many words I wrote per day and posted it.

          I’m not sure what software everyone uses but quite a few of us don’t use Word. Personally, I’m using Liquid Story Binder which keeps word counts. I used to use yWriter which also keeps word counts. Some people write long hand and just manually count their words, some people write long hand and then copy it into a file later. Some people are on Macs, some people are on PC’s with Windows, some people are doubtless in Unix/Linux.

          It’s all good.

          • S Kenshin Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:18

            Oh, okay, thanks!

            Actually my word count inflates when I edit. I always write ‘short’ to begin with, almost sketches. Can’t help it. It’s the way I’m made. ;p

    • Red_dot Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:52

      Anything you do that helps you push forward, I call progress. Myself, I am trying to write before editing. I have no idea if that is what I should do, first book.

  • Amy Sep 22, 2009 @ 10:11

    Yesterday i did 2000+ words.

    For today so far (since it’s early morning still) i’ve done about 200 words, but i’m just getting started.

    I like how my story is coming along. I’m allowing my self to explore with my characters. I’m trying to show different sides to them. I think i managed, roughly, to do so with one of the ‘bad’ guys in the story. I say roughly because i don’t know how well i pulled it off.

    Anyway, i feel my story is coming along nicely, and it’s not moving as slowly. I have a rough idea of how it’s going to end, but i have no idea how many chapters it’s going to take to reach the end. I find it best to just go with the flow, and get there when i get there.

  • Tami Sep 22, 2009 @ 8:58

    Congratulations on reaching that character clarity! I think that’s a hallmark moment in any writing project, and well worth celebrating!

    For me, I went back over last night’s Blue Moon draft and edited (950 words). I dislike editing so close to when I write, but my two biggest writing projects right now are webserials, and I have yet to force myself to write multiple installments ahead of time, so I can get my preferred mental distance from the original draft.

    Biggest edit was in the last half of the installment – went from abrupt and creepy and a little cold-hearted to being intriguing instead. I hope it’s still at least a little creepy, but I’ll settle for piquing the reader’s curiosity and raising some questions.

  • Debora Sep 22, 2009 @ 8:54

    I did not get any words yesterday, but had an excellent writing day nonetheless. One of the last chapters in my book has to do with the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1863, just four and a half months after the battle of Gettysburg. This is when Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address. A very big deal for small town of Gettysburg, population 2400. Some 15,000 people are said to have attended the ceremony.

    One of the problems I’ve faced with writing a novel about the battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath is how to stay true to the history, while at the same time developing characters with stories big enough to hold their own against such a catastrophic backdrop. I’ve always known I should be winding matters up, plot-wise, at the dedication ceremonies, but I had not yet spent any time working out what would my MC (and other characters) would be thinking and feeling on such a day.

    Yesterday I opened up the tab in yWriter entitled “Dedication ceremonies,” which had no scenes assigned to it yet. I started walking my characters through the ceremonies, and before I knew it had added 35 “scenes” to this chapter. Don’t think scene is really the right word here, it’s just how I outline. Think “steps in a sequence” instead of scenes.

    “Face to face with Abraham Lincoln” is one of the steps I am most excited about writing. I will admit it, I absolutely revere Abraham Lincoln, and once experienced a sudden, overwhelming awareness of his presence while visiting the Wills house, which is where Lincoln stayed in Gettysburg.

    Can’t wait to write this! But got a long way to go yet.

  • Jessica Sep 22, 2009 @ 8:41

    Got about 100 words back with the thread on the other world. But then realized that the reason behind the situation would have to change drastically. Instead of being ordered to force the citizens to “church” the soldiers will be sent to infiltrate a politician’s house, that way when Pip is killed the people will go willingly to “church” to mourn and then the fires will be all the more tragic and effective.

    Now… just have to write all that. 🙂

  • Rabia Sep 22, 2009 @ 8:39

    644 words last night, which I’m psyched about because I spent most of the evening obsessing over math books for my homeschooled kindergartener.

    Holly, your post reminds me that I need to probe into my MC’s dark past and the murders she committed and the whys and hows surrounding them. My story (and the muse) have been skirting around the issue for all the 18 K words I’ve already written.

  • HannaBelle Sep 22, 2009 @ 8:26

    I don’t usually write this early, but just added 585 words to the gossiping neighbors scene. Plan to write again later this morning.

  • Khena Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:48

    895 for me. I finished up the scene I had been working on, and moved back in time to the one previous that I skipped. I had a mild urge to just keep moving forward and leave it, but decided to write it anyway. It’s heavy on emotion and I’m just afraid to write it for some reason, probably because it’s time to introduce a little romance between characters that hated each other when the book started. They had a good reason, they were on opposite sides of the war, and now that they’ve been together for a few months, it’s time they changed a bit. Just seems strange to me to be adding it so late, but it’s the perfect time because of the high stress of the last scene.

  • Larkk Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:33

    Not many new words because I’m typing from my notebook into Scrivener, but did about 2500 of those last night. But since I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished last week I’ll split my time between doing that (since the notebook is my only copy) and working on what I think will be the last of the middle scenes.
    The last of the middle scenes. Egads, what a glorious mess.

  • HannaBelle Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:32

    Still mulling over the gossipy neighbors and not sure how to have 7 or more characters talking, without getting lost in their descriptions and reactions. It is becoming “she said, she replied, she said” hell. Today I am going to try to do it more like a crowd of conversation with only a few characters identified.

    No words to count, but the days have been productive with planning. I have also been working out the character that is obsessed with miracles and saints. I have not presented her yet and she needs to be closer to the front.

    Need some advice. As I hit each challenge, I recall a book title of Holly’s that would help, but I don’t want to do knee jerk stop and start attempts. For those of you who have gone through Holly’s courses, what do you recommend I do first and second, etc? Or is H2TS comprehensive enough that I should start there and use the clinics, as well, clinics? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    • Debora Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:58

      Here’s how it worked for me. I signed up for H2TS and was so completely hooked I could not wait for the next lesson to arrive. It’s sort of like an addiction, oh my goodness! Needing a fix, I would buy myself a clinic to tide me over between lessons:-)

    • The Pencil Neck Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:03

      I did a couple of the clinics first and then was one of the HtTS charter members. Although a lot of the material is related, Holly tries to make it so that one thing you buy isn’t going to totally include the material in something else you can buy.

      I suggest HtTS, the Plot Clinic, and the Page Turning Scenes clinic first in whatever order you can manage. Those are the ones that impacted my writing the most. After that, the Character workshop. And finally the Culture and Language workshops.

      I’m really looking forward to the Revision course.

  • Leah Sep 22, 2009 @ 6:35

    YAY! Glad to hear you’re making progress.

    As for myself…not so much. Still recovering from the trip back from Osaka and the hectic schedule I have made for myself has got me sideways. However, I did get a few words down today! Some is better than nothing, especially after a week of nothing! Go me!

  • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 22, 2009 @ 6:11

    1759 words on my translation. I will be more than happy when it’s done. Also, 589 words on my WIP and a big quarrel between the Phoenix and my MC. Also, they changed their plans and will now return to the evil magicians castle to steal a ring. It’s gonna be fun to write the next scene because a Sphinx will be waiting for them and I wonder how they will outwit her.

  • Greg Sep 22, 2009 @ 4:13

    Very slow day, very tired, but dragged myself to my word counts quite late on!
    D&D: 522
    OFL: 1191
    RFW: 1014
    Made a lot of excuses not to write earlier on in the day. Hoping to be more disciplined tomorrow!

  • Joyce Sep 22, 2009 @ 2:56

    2414 words, mostly for the blog column, but also some character development. I think I’m starting to slip into the habit of using both the nonfiction work I’m doing and the planning for HoC as a way to avoid actually writing HoC. I’m in SAFE territory and floundering. I need to stop dicking around and just write. If I write, I’ll buy myself time to plan more. But if all I do is plan, I’ll run out of time to write.

    • Rabia Sep 22, 2009 @ 14:49

      *nod*

      I have to be careful not to let my writing about writing crowd out the actual writing, as well.

  • esj Sep 22, 2009 @ 2:29

    words went okay. Didn’t have a chance to write earlier but in the middle of a bout of insomnia, I figured I would die within. Ripped out a budget speech recognition errors… yeah, like that one. Added another 300 odd words.

    “Go away. Go away,” Julia cried. “I have to see Mars or I will lose her forever.”

    And that was the moment of truth I discovered a day ago that helped me understand Julia and how she is different from and the same as my friend with MS. when you lose someone, even though you know they’re gone you still find yourself doing things to try and bring them back. My friend sets aside a couple of days every year to grieve her daughter’s passing and try to never forget the infant, child, and the adult her daughter had been. Julia also doesn’t want to lose connection. Mother and daughter argued terribly about going because of the brutal failures of missions 38 and 39 but she went anyway. And now, Julia keep trying to reach Mars in her dreams to reconnect with her daughter and be able to die in peace.

  • The Pencil Neck Sep 22, 2009 @ 2:15

    888 words.

    It’s almost scary how close I am to the end now. Tonight, my final battle came together and things happened that I totally didn’t expect that put a totally new spin on things. I had really been considering resurrecting an old story line from the first draft or totally removing The Empress from the story… but now… don’t think so. I’ve still got a few scenes to wrap everything up but it’s pretty much just clean up after this.

    The Mage talks to The Thief in the plaza before the Empress’ temple. He works on the Thief’s guilt that he has to kill people to live and his desire to be human once more. The Mage places his hands on the Thief’s shoulders and then blows his head to ashes. The Mage tries to retrieve the Tear from the Thief’s clenched fist but he can’t get it open. Then he realizes the Thief’s head is growing back at an alarming rate*. The Mage summons down the lightning and totally toasts the Thief and then with people peeking from their windows, the Thief kills the Mage by impaling him on the extended arm of one of the statues of the Empress.

    *There is a reason for this. And, no, he’s not quite a vampire any more.

    • Treelight Sep 22, 2009 @ 13:19

      WOW!
      That’s all I can say to that battle!

  • Teri Sep 22, 2009 @ 1:32

    In today’s 458 words, the rebel leader has arrived at the forward base and is discussing the coming options with Taskh. He disapproves of Taskh’s sugesstion to assassinate the man at the top of the current government, whom they are opposing.

  • Ieva Sep 22, 2009 @ 1:12

    I did 1000+ words on Vega, and now I’m scared because I have to finish the scene that’s changing everything and it feels so weird writing it. I’m not sure it’s the right way, the only way, but my stomach knots when I’m writing it and I know I have to see what’s on the other side of this choice.

    And oh, it’s so scary.

    • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 22, 2009 @ 4:38

      Don’t worry over the right way too much. Remember that there is always a revision but you can’t revise if you haven’t written anything. Chin up. you’ll make it.

      • Ieva Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:17

        Ahh, it’s more like a date when you sorta know he likes you at least as much as to actually meet you, and you sorta know you’re smart and cute enough (and if you ain’t, you can make up for it) but still there’s that jitter in the chest that basically means that you’re very much approaching something potentially serious.

        An exhilarating feeling, albeit a scary one.

  • Patricia Sep 22, 2009 @ 1:10

    384, and Ryan realizes exactly how dangerous his enemy is. I’m so close to the scenes I have been waiting to write since before I started this book, yet it’s taking me so long to get there! Ah well, I’ll get there eventually, and then I’ll be at the semi-official halfway point of the story. 😀 Good luck on your words everyone!

  • T.C. Sep 22, 2009 @ 0:31

    Evening,

    This is my first post here but I would love to write a book with you Holly, firstly I will say that this group has been inspirational and is the embodiment of an idea I have wanted to act upon for a long time, to consistently write a few words everyday, and maybe every once in a while I will get a few of those several thousand word days.
    My goal is 500 words a day, but I would be happy with 250. Today for my first day of WABWM I made a dazzling 531 words. It was short but powerful, I am around chapter eight of my WIP and it is one of the turning points in the book. It is the mid-story battle where the plots are changing and characters are morphing into something different, lots happening.
    Tonight for instance I told my readers that one of the main characters died, I think most will know he didn’t actually die, for he didn’t but the emotion the flows from that into the other characters is intense.
    Well, I am glad to be a part and am looking forward to tomorrow.
    T.C.

    • Patricia Sep 22, 2009 @ 1:11

      Welcome! 😀

    • Ieva Sep 22, 2009 @ 4:00

      Good luck on your novel! We’re cheering you on 😉

    • Adam Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:47

      welcome. starting to monitor my progress with this group has made me sit down nightly and get something down on paper, drastically improving my progress. i’m sure you will find it helpful too! 🙂

    • Red_dot Sep 22, 2009 @ 23:18

      Welcome aboard matey! Oh wait talk like a pirate day is over.

  • Tori Sep 22, 2009 @ 0:23

    Had less than twenty minutes to write and only got 390 words. But I will probably get more before the nights over. I REALLY want to write the next scene. My MC just made a BIG mistake that will bring a whole batch of unintended consequences in the next few chapters.

    I would want to meet Aleksa too Holly. I wanted to meet her as soon as you started talking about her.

    Sometimes its hard to be proud of my words. I write so little in comparison with everyone else. This is something I’ve been struggling with. I never thought I wrote well enough to even be considered a writer.

    • Adam Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:45

      most of us feel that way from time to time. The difference between writers and non writers is that writers ignore the inner demons that constantly tell us we can’t or we aren’t good enough and tell their story anyway, when non writers listen and stop writing because of those thoughts.

      work at your own pace, don’t compare yourself to others when you are starting, and dedicate yourself to the craft to learn all you can and improve. that is all you can do and everything else will fall into place. 🙂

    • Debora Sep 22, 2009 @ 7:50

      Any day I get 390 words I’m happy. It’s not about the number of words! I would not be posting to this thread if it were a competition about the number of words, because I’d be dead last across the finish line.

      For me, it’s about honoring my commitment to myself to actually write a book that matters to me. I’ve never completed a first draft before, but I will this time.

      However long it takes! Slow but steady . . .

    • Rabia Sep 22, 2009 @ 14:46

      It’s really not the number of words so much as the fact that you’re doing it and doing it regularly. If you have the writing habit, you’re a writer. Don’t worry about the rest of us. 🙂

  • charmaineclancy Sep 22, 2009 @ 0:00

    1,411 words for The Pirate Girl. Privateers board Grace’s ship and a battle erupts while Grace and the Duke hide in a cavity in the hull.

    Now I need to spend some time on Dog Show Detective.

  • Adam Sep 21, 2009 @ 23:41

    Sounds like an excellent writing time, and i hope you find the same inspiration tomorrow.

    slow writing for me tonight. went back to finish my one loose end, and started getting bogged down in all the myths and legends i’m having to come up with. it gives me a good starting point, and i’m liking the makeup of the group of characters. The main character is going to get very uncomfortable before the chapter is over, and that could turn out to be kinda fun.

    650 words tonight.

  • Sarah Collins Sep 21, 2009 @ 23:37

    Must be a night for cool wordage – mine ended at 1234 and I swear I didn’t stage it! I wish I could take a couple of days and write full time on my WIP. I am LOVING it!

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