Almost to 30,000 words (one third), and got a scene I love

By Holly Lisle

While my day has been a bit rocky overall, I came out of my work on Ohio Novel #3 with my character making a tough decision that is going to have major repercussions — mostly good, but some bad — and I got a couple dollops of funny stuff into the story.  

Word count for the day is 1276 (a smidge over my 1250-word daily target), and 29,804 words for the entire manuscript so far. 

And — insert much joy and dancing here — it’s now the weekend. Which, because it has been a weird week, I intend to enjoy. All the ridiculously late snow and freezing weather has once again been replaced by sunshine and mid-50s temperatures, green grass and dandelions, and probably nymphs and faeries dancing on the lawns (though not while anyone is looking, of course).

Meanwhile, I have 49 workdays left on the Ohio Novel #3 project, and I am on target.

And I love what I’m getting, which is a nice note upon which to wrap this up.

I hope you have a great weekend. 

See you Monday.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Day’s chaos not as disruptive as I had feared — 888 words, and a new kind of evil monster

By Holly Lisle

I didn’t get the full three hours — I still have a stack of stuff I have to get done. But I did get one good scene, a decent chunk of words, and a new creature to throw at my good guys that makes my skin crawl.

Keeping this short, because I’d love to finish the other essentials today… 

But I’m now at 28,535 words total, and I’m happy with what I came up with.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Snow… FFS! But 1259 words that I love, and 27,647 words total… and your picture of the building map I drew yesterday.

By Holly Lisle

It snowed at around three in the morning, and it’s sputtering again now. Fortunately, while the snow has been sticking, the temperature has never dropped below freezing, so we shouldn’t lose blooming flowers, or tender crops, or my spectacular personal back-yard display of dandelions and violets.

(And absolutely no sarcasm here — dandelions and wild violets are my two favorite spring flowers, and have been since I was about five. About some things, I’m remarkably consistent.)Late Snow 021 04 21 07 26 02

Picture is my back yard and the yards behind it, just a few minutes ago.

On to work. I’ll have to take tomorrow off for personal matters, so there’s not likely to be a blog post…

But today the words flew. And I loved what I got. Nice twists, a fun discovery, and small hints toward the scary bits in the story’s near future.

Finally, as I mentioned yesterday, I needed to map out a building for the book, and I drew it into my bullet journal so that I wouldn’t misplace it (which is a problem I have with maps in general). And I wanted to show it to you, and finally got the picture from the phone to my blog so you can see it.

I blocked out story spoilers.

Everything else, you can safely see.

The Mysterious Building OHIO NOVEL 2021 04 21 10 35 34

The fictional locals have a derogatory name for this ultra-modern monstrosity which I do use in the book but which I won’t use in the blog. It’s probably mostly guessable, though. 😀 (I am pleased to note that no equivalently hideous ultra-modern monstrosity exists in the town in real life.)

I’ll also state that if you’re a character in the story, you do not want to be identified as a visitor when you go into this building. If you don’t work there and have an employee badge, your best bet is to stay far, far away from “Redacted” Enterprises. While I didn’t realize it while I was drawing and labelling things, I discovered that “visitors” is in quotes for a dark and evil reason.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


1300 words, a weird map, and a couple of nice twists.

By Holly Lisle

I started a bit late, and started in with a problematic bit of what I wrote yesterday…

And stuff clicked. I also drew an enigmatic map in my bullet journal, and if I wasn’t having a miserable time transferring stuff from my phone to my desktop, you’d have a spiffy picture of that right now.

Since I am, I’ll drop it into a future post.

Meanwhile, however, my MC isn’t in trouble at the moment… but in getting someone else out of trouble, she’s going to end up neck deep in the soup.

Some of this is plotted (those 30 story sentences), but a lot of it is simply pouring out of my fingers as I work from one scene to the next.

And I read something both wonderful and relevant to the Ohio Series yesterday in Terry Pratchett’s A Hat Full of Sky which I’m going to quote here:

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place where you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently…”

That’s what coming home to Ohio has been for me, and it’s what these books are, down at the very bottom, about. They have magic, and monsters, and a lot of alien strangeness. 

But they are still here, now, in this place that I love and that I have loved since I was born here, and forty-one years away has given me both new eyes, and extra colors.

And I’m using them on these stories.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Good words, a fun scene, and the very good tension of upcoming danger

By Holly Lisle

Today’s words came easily, and were fun to get.

I started by reading through the last few paragraphs from yesterday, picked up where I left off, and today’s scene flowed nicely, introducing both a long-running “failure to mention something important” by one of my important secondary characters, and then a second such “gee, why would anyone need to know that?” from the same character.

This particular unreliable protagonist has been fun to write from scene one in Book 1 onward, and he continues to both amuse me and make me want to whap him with a fly-swatter (or something bigger) on a pretty regular basis.

My folks, including my main character, are piecing together a dubious rescue attempt into dangerous territory — and while I have no clue how this is going to work, or what’s going to happen next Monday, I do have the entire weekend to let it percolate in the back of my mind, and run little footsteps through my dreams.

Most excellent writing day.

And a big, big thanks to the folks who are funding my Ko-Fi for the three hours daily that are making it much, much less stressful for me to write these five books. If you’re one of those folks, please make sure you’re on the mailing list for the weekly blog updates, because at the point where I’m ready to take these live, I’m going to have to make sure your name in the acknowledgements is spelled correctly (or whatever you want me to put in instead of your real name).

I’ll let everyone know its time to send me the name you want in there from the email address you use on Ko-Fi. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll just use what you have in the Ko-Fi account, but I know a LOT of folks have previously (when I was on Patreon) wanted something different than what was in their account.

We’re, best guess, still about a year and a half off from that. But it’s definitely worth mentioning now, so that you can make sure you’re on the list.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Today, the big cuts paid off big — the combat accountant, the buddy assassin, and 1254 words

By Holly Lisle

Back into positive numbers today, and it feels good. 

And the story flew. My protagonist has discovered that to her astonishment, she is not as alone in the universe as she was led to believe…  

… but discovers immediately thereafter that she is in immediate and deadly danger of losing this family she never knew she had. She calls in the troops.

And discovers she has at her disposal a combat accountant (nope, I will NOT explain) that her lawyer failed to mention existed — while the lawyer’s assassin bodyguard gets excited about the possibilities inherent in rescuing the family member. (He’s a very nice guy for an assassin.)

So. That was my day. It has been a good day.

Now off to do the rest of the stuff on the list.


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Wow, did things get tense today! 1252 words, and 22,234 words total

By Holly Lisle

My main character was in full force today. Yesterday’s gutting of the wrong words gave me the space I needed to get the right ones, and my three hours flew.

I mention in a previous post having dreamt of my half-sister (who died some years ago) being with me… and today she stepped into the story, not as she was, but as she could have been and would have been had life and the circumstances of her birth been kinder.

She is in trouble, of course (because she’s in important character in a novel written by me). She won’t be named Julie — naming her that wouldn’t fit the story, the world I’ve created, or who she was in real life — and I will not erase who she was in real life, because as long as I knew her, she did her best at everything she tried.

In my memory, she lives as she was — I will not erase the truth of her.

In the novel, she’ll live as she might have been in a world that was kinder to her and considerably more magical than this one.

Now, on to other things.

 


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Redundant redundancies and a better direction lead to a BIG negative word-count

By Holly Lisle

Yesterday I finished with 22,297 words.

Today I started in a bit before 8 AM, full of coffee and certainty that I knew where I’d be going.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 8 52 15 AM

First cut in word count

I picked up exactly where I left off, and adding to yesterday’s scene — and then, hitting a chunk of older material that was wrong — I pulled out 673 words.

Fine. It happens.

I was still working through the problem scene… and I thought I was near the end of it…

And then I hit a big chunk of text that was older, set off as a separate scene from a different POV, that I’d forgotten I put in there.

It had to have been some of the words I got last week, before I discovered the current path and why it’s better. That POV and its entire contents were wrong for the direction I’ve decided to take.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 a 9 36 49 AM

Second cut in word count

So I cut all 1581 words of that. Big sigh here, but this is a novel, and it’s the middle book of the series, and a lot of pieces I’m pulling in from the first and second books at this point have to mesh.

So I removed what was more than a day’s planned words… and I kept writing.

I made great progress. I love what I got today, but no sooner had I finished the scene and started reading the stuff that followed than I discovered a third chunk of text that does not at ALL fit the new, better, much more compelling conflict that I found yesterday.

And this one really hurt. I cut out 2,249 words.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 9 38 52 AM

Third cut in word count

I still wrote more, but after three hours and change, I’m still buried deep in negative numbers, and at this point I have to walk away to do the other stuff I have to deal with on Tuesdays.

So I end with a count of -1319, and I know that I got a lot of words, and I know I like what I finally ended up with… But DAMN.

I’m sort of dreading tomorrow.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


It was hard coming back. 803 words net, and a lot of bloody fixing

By Holly Lisle

I read through last Thursday’s pages, where they’d had a good long time to cool.

The mistakes were clear, as were the things I had to show as important.

So I’ve been working for four hours, have done nothing else since I got up, and what I have is better… but I didn’t come close to getting the 1250 words I’d hoped for.

It was a good enough day, even if I still feel like crap.

I know I wrote well over my objective word count. With all the deletions and fixes, though, I don’t have that much to show for it.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


No jury duty, 1588 words, and am now over 20% through Book 3 of 5 (also… fasting…)

By Holly Lisle

I’m grateful for writing, and for being well into a story that holds my attention and makes me need to know what happens next.

Having been fasting since Sunday night, I’ve now had nothing but coffee, water, and vitamins for long enough that my hindbrain has started taking action against me.

My legs keep picking me up and walking me into the kitchen and toward the fridge — until my mind catches them at their treachery and turns me around with some difficulty and walks me back.

But all the news is good news.

Being notified last night that I’m released from jury duty until the next term when I’m drawn, I was able to focus on the fiction (in between the fights between my mind and my legs), and get some good, tight words.

1588, well over my 1250-word objective.

I threw myself into the story, and managed to not open the fridge, or touch any little “just something” snacks.

I am not by any means world’s greatest student of the art of fasting — but I can keep reminding myself that we’ll all eat tonight, and use that knowledge to reassure the part of my brain sending me in search of food when I forgot to block it that a meal is, in fact, not far off.

On today’s bit of the story: A father tells a daughter how she is to leave home — and why. And in her I found the replacement for the character who I’d planned for her role (while doing those five line-for-scene outlines), and who was entirely wrong for this particular part.

This is the third of five novels, and in it, a central battle is building — and NOW I have the right character to step into the role I’d arbitrarily assigned to an existing character who didn’t have the strength or the skills to carry it.

Total word count: 19,799. I passed 20% of the first draft finished when I hit 18,000, but didn’t notice.

And since I always run at least a bit long, today’s word count is probably closer to a true 20%.

Now I’m off to do the rest of the day’s work. And the rest of this week is mine without concern for being pulled away from my writing by jury duty. 


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