Down for the count tonight

No words. I’m not even going to try. Howling headache.

How are your words tonight?

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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.

59 comments… add one
  • Cecelia Westrich Sep 18, 2009 @ 22:02

    Just joined today and started my word count at this evening’s session. I’m so proud, 425 very easy words. I’ve been pushing myself to write 2 or 3 hours a day, and then feeling miserable and guilty that can’t keep to it. But this is low pressure and not demanding. This I can do. Thank you for the encouragement. I will try to work over the weekend but if I don’t, I won’t beat myself up and I’ll be back at it on Monday. I’m working on a mystery novel, a cozy mystery. A young woman is friends with a boy in her neighborhood. He does yardwork and so forth for her and they are friends. When his 15 yr old girlfriend his murdered, he is accused and she comes to the forefront as his only supporter, refusing to believe in his guilt. So I’m having some trouble with flashbacks. That’s my problem area. I’m trying to let the reader know why she feels so strongly about this kid. So maybe this new approach will be the answer for me. I’ll be back to let you know! Cecelia

    • Roisin Sep 19, 2009 @ 5:09

      Welcome to the party! Yes, this is a very low-stress approach. You’ll be amazed how the words start stacking up, and writing a little most days keeps your writing muscles nicely oiled.

  • Roisin Sep 18, 2009 @ 21:00

    724 words today, and passed the 10k mark on the Busman’s Holiday Project. Yay! On the other hand, i’ve reached the murky middle, where i’m a bit shaky on the precise details of what happens next.

    I’m still feeling enthused about this story, though, and I’m looking forward to sitting down and working out the details. Had a productive conversation with a writerly friend who’s cheering me on, where I figured out some things while answering her questions.

    Oh, and I came up with my third idea for lesson 3 of HTTS while on my morning run. It’s strange; nothing in the world has ever been able to make me committ to regular exercise, but the minute the time spent running is thinking-about-writing time instead of wasted time, I’ve been going every day without complaint :).

    • Joyce Sep 18, 2009 @ 21:51

      Ooh, I really like that idea about running. My usual empty-my-head activity for sorting through story issues is showering (er, not that I wouldn’t shower anyway). Driving is always a great time for me too. But I’m tragically exercise-phobic, too, so maybe turning it into story time will work for me. Thanks for the tip!

  • Fran Sep 18, 2009 @ 20:31

    Maybe the howling headache is the sub’s revenge for having been reined in the day before.

  • Kris Wilcox Sep 18, 2009 @ 18:51

    I picked up an old thread to jump right in with you all. Did 429 and am quite pleased with that. Thanks for the prod to get writing again πŸ™‚
    x

  • Sarah Collins Sep 18, 2009 @ 16:40

    Finished the edit of WIP#1! Hard to believe it, but it’s done unless I keep picking at it, LOL.

    • Joyce Sep 18, 2009 @ 21:43

      Congrats! Now that it’s finished, do you have plans for it? Was it written for something particular or are you going to shop it around now?

      • Sarah Collins Sep 19, 2009 @ 22:01

        I originally wanted to use it to get an agent, but now that I’ve seen my voice grow SO much with my new WIP I think I’m better off to get it pubbed myself and use it as experience when I go to an agent with the current WIP. I’m so in love with my more experienced voice, but still so proud of my first novel. It’s an odd but wonderful feeling! I think my new WIP is a better representation of my style, but the first one is still good and my beta readers tell me they care about my characters. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment so I’m definitely going to shop around. I’ve got a spreadsheet of potential publishers, LOL.

        Thanks, Joyce. =c)

  • SCBrazil Sep 18, 2009 @ 15:51

    I am further than I’ve ever been into a project. Still not much but I’m pleased and remain determined. I passed the 15K mark today.
    Determined to just forge ahead, I still haven’t even read back over what I’ve already written. Not one word. But the thing is, I am starting to forget details that should tie-up.
    Do you guys sort these details out later or read over what you’ve already written to maintain consistency? I’m not talking about revision, just small details that should remain congruent.
    Incidentally, I am working on a narrative where we see the same event from multiple POVs.

    • Joyce Sep 18, 2009 @ 21:39

      I have a great ability for shifting details. But I try to be really strict with myself about not editing as I write. So when I notice that I’ve changed someone’s age or moved a room from one side of the house to the other, I just put a little note in [brackets] next to the wrong version. When it’s time to edit, I can search for all the brackets and fix the issues in one fell swoop. It gives me the comfort of knowing that I won’t overlook that mistake in the future, it makes edits easier, and it actually reinforces the correct version of a detail. Hope that helps you.

    • Debora Sep 19, 2009 @ 6:56

      It would be a fatal mistake for me to start worrying about whether I have been consistent about any details, large or small, during my first draft. That would be like opening the door to my Inner Critic, who is the worst sort of party-crasher. Who never has anything nice to say about anybody or anything, and makes me feel stupid and inarticulate.

      Everything is fixable later. Joyce’s advice is good advice, if you happen to catch a discrepancy. But I wouldn’t go looking for trouble!

      Just my own two cents.

  • Johanna Sep 18, 2009 @ 15:43

    Still brainstorming. I have a bunch of characters I love who’ve been demanding I write something for them. And then I have different magical powers I thought of and applied them to the characters and found they worked together well. Now I’m just asking myself lots and lots and lots of questions. How do these powers work? Why do they work? Why do these people have them? How can they be used for good or evil? And on top of the questions, I’m trying very hard to make sure that they are different and interesting enough that my story won’t be too similar to the thousands of other power-people stories. So far I feel pretty good about what I’ve come up with, but I need to do a lot more thinking before I can start writing. However, that doesn’t stop me from writing down scene ideas or funny dialogue to use once I really start writing.

    All in all, I’m having fun, which is the most important part.

  • Faith Sep 18, 2009 @ 15:35

    After weeks of avoiding my story, I jumped back in yesterday and got about 350 words. I now have 20 minutes before I need to be somewhere… so I’m going to force myself to write for 10. I can do this. I can I can I can.

  • Gerhi Janse van Vuuren Sep 18, 2009 @ 15:29

    Haven’t written for days because we are spring cleaning and moving the furniture about. I have a new writing space and wrote my first 1144 words in it tonight.

  • Beverly Sep 18, 2009 @ 15:02

    2,296 words and it’s now Friday!!! Hope your feeling better soon.

  • Jewel/Pink Ink Sep 18, 2009 @ 12:33

    936 between yesterday (at my daughter’s horse show) and today towards my WIP. Getting some back story in, which I know I may have to excise in later draft, but I am getting a better grasp of my characters.

    Plus 600 words towards a news story I covered yesterday.

  • Lisa R Sep 18, 2009 @ 11:20

    522 words. I almost thought I wouldn’t write and because I was tired, it was a little slow going. My MC started studying which will help her learn if the green lady is friend or foe.

    At work I was doing a bunch of scanning, bored to death wondering if the day was ever going to end. So, I started thinking about the story line. I was hit over the head by my muse. The person I thought was going to kill the green lady just hadn’t fit. Now, I have two different suspects. So much fun.

  • Kait Nolan Sep 18, 2009 @ 10:02

    943 and finished with the rough draft. It’s so rough it’s painful to me, but I’m forcing myself to let it sit for at least a month. In the meantime moving on to working on the novella I plotted out a couple of months ago and plotting out the next big project.

  • HannaBelle Sep 18, 2009 @ 9:28

    Holly, I hope the headache went away easily, which they often don’t.

    No words yesterday, spent the day with errands and stuff.

  • Debora Sep 18, 2009 @ 9:07

    Hope your headache is gone, Holly. I’ve not been able to write the past few days, but I know why. And I forgive myself, which is in itself a step forward. I plan to do some clustering exercises about the scene I am just wrapping up. For some reason I feel reluctant to leave it. I don’t plan to do any revising, though, which again is another step forward for me. I am okay with the rawness of it, all the repetitions, all the sheer unwieldiness of it. I just want to make sure I’ve said all I want to say. For the moment, at any rate.

    Can’t really know until I finish.

    • Debora Sep 18, 2009 @ 9:09

      I also meant to say welcome to those just now jumping on board. You won’t regret it!

  • Patricia Sep 18, 2009 @ 9:04

    605 words last night, and Ryan is being witness to a coming-of-age ceremony. It’s really cool because I get to explore more about the creatures he is living with, and their culture is absolutely fascinating. Even he is getting excited, but when anticipation is so high you can taste it, who wouldn’t be excited?

    I am certain you will feel better soon Holly. I know that when I have a killer headache, it always disappears when I least expect it. πŸ™‚

    Welcome to all those who jumping on board! I am looking forward to seeing you progress. πŸ™‚

  • Charmaine Sep 18, 2009 @ 8:49

    Sorry you don’t feel well, take the time and get better.

    591 words for me tonight. Chapter 3 finished of Dog Show Detective. Protagonist, 11yr old Kitty has just come 3rd in her 1st Junior Handler’s show. Did well for handling such a naughty dog. Mystery unravels in next chapter.

    Had a big quandary about using the word ‘bitch’ this week. Use the word casually when I talk about dog showing, but worried about the age group. Asked, writers, friends and fellow uni students. All differing opinions. Eventually my 11yr old daughter told me it was fine to put it in, but with a little more pushing I found that even though she knows it’s not a rude word, she can not say it. That settled it. Won’t use that word.

  • Rabia Sep 18, 2009 @ 8:41

    300 -plus words last night. I stopped because there was a lot of talking in my scene–important talking, but still a lot of nattering anyhow :D–and I wanted to brainstorm ways of breaking that up with some small but significant action. Also, a character that I was planning would be “good” is starting to show some unexpected dark sides. I can feel it, but my MC is so far blissfully unaware of it. It will make the betrayal–if that’s where RB is going with this–much worse in the end.

  • Khena Sep 18, 2009 @ 8:02

    Yesterday was an odd day for me. I finished up the scene I needed to add and realized it wasn’t really a scene. Or rather, it didn’t need to be it’s own scene. It came right after another scene, was the same POV, so I just slapped them together and wrote a few sentances to tie them together. So, one scene done, and the end of Chapter 18.

    I went back to the first scene I had started in Chapter 19 and something very suprising happened. My MCs were surrounded by soldiers on the border between two countries at war with each other, and the soldiers simply make them turn around. They hadn’t actually crossed the border yet, but they fully intended to. Still, rather surprising from what I thought I knew about the two countries. Another scene finished.

    I started the next scene on my list, though I am thinking of adding another in between, since it’s rather abrupt. All of a sudden my characters are across the border and being captured by the same band that let them go a week ago. Whoops.

    Word count for the day: 1508

  • Peggy Sep 18, 2009 @ 7:57

    724 for me on Doppelgangers, between finishing one scene and revising three others. The grand total for it is 31.5K or thereabouts.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 18, 2009 @ 5:41

    2036 words on my translation and nearly 2/3 done. WOW! Am I happy or what. Only managed 429 on my WIP but they were crucial. The MC needs to inform the others that she is the one the assassin aimed for while -at the same time- hiding the fact that she’s female. Also, she harbors some thoughts that her stepsister might have betrayed her.

  • KQ Sep 18, 2009 @ 5:30

    Around 150-ish. Still longhand, still not really counting. I’m glad to be doing something on it, anything!

    Hope you feel better soon, Holly!

    Everyone that has jumped aboard, I look forward to reading about your progress. I think it’s really nice to watch other people’s work grow! I know I’m not the only one that has been reading Pencil Neck’s updates and enjoying them- it’s like watching little movie trailers! (Keep it up, Pencil Neck!)

  • bailish Sep 18, 2009 @ 5:13

    All right! I accept your challenge! 250 words a night or else!

    I’ve been working on this storyline for months, but rather than writing the story, I’ve only been changing my outline. Enough is enough! You are all witnesses! You can count on 250 words from me before midnight tonight.

    • Patricia Sep 18, 2009 @ 8:52

      Welcome and happy writing! πŸ™‚

      • bailish Sep 18, 2009 @ 10:13

        Thanx Patricia!

        I just finished my 250 for the day. It was a scene where my FMC and MMC meet the head of the empire, who gives his blessing on their engagement. In the next scene, the head will confront his own son and tell him what a disappointment he has been. The son’s reaction turns the story into a thrilling race to the conclusion.

  • Ceallai Sep 18, 2009 @ 4:13

    Headache cure that usually works for me: in a small cup, mix ten drops of lavender oil in about a tablespoon of a base oil (like olive oil for instance), put a little in your hands and rub them to warm it up, then rub it on your temples, the back of your neck and shoulders, and put a scarf on to keep warm. Not strong enough for migraines though…

    301 today. Was ill at the beginning of the week, and too busy last weekend. Now I’m better (ish) but my boyfriend’s ill instead, and when he gets ill, he gets REALLY ill. Anyway, not writing for over a week made me forget the plot so I’m just getting back into s-l-o-w-l-y.

    Happy writing everyone!

  • Greg Sep 18, 2009 @ 4:03

    Sluggish day after a bright start.
    D&D:524
    OFL:1129
    RFW:1015
    RFW was the problem, I think because I’ve only just started it and I’m ironing out world-building issues as I go, which is slowing me down.

  • Joyce Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:49

    1596 words towards the blog column I need for Wednesday. Part fiction, part review, and the words just flew. I have to keep reigning myself in on my new ideas or I take on way, way more than I can handle. It’s just so easy.

    I never imagined that non-fiction, writing about writing, would be something I enjoyed doing. I started the column just so I would have some material for my blog, thinking it would be drudgery. Awful reason to do it, but it ended up being a useful misstep. I can totally understand why Holly puts so much time and energy into her courses. There is something really satisfying about breaking down my own process and talking about it.

    • Rabia Sep 18, 2009 @ 8:34

      *nod*

      I spent more time over the summer focusing on my own blog. I find writing about writing (and creativity in general) enormously satisfying. Blogging has helped me become a more concise writer, too.

      It’s all writing. The skills are transferable. πŸ˜€

      • Caitlin Sep 18, 2009 @ 13:17

        Ditto!

        I love writing about writing! My blog is a place where I keep all the ‘tips and tricks’ I come across when I read about writing, and some of my writing exercises. Love it!

  • Treelight Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:36

    A new chapter which is necessary for the rewrite started with a bit more than 500 words. I should have written more, but I have trouble concentrating these days.

    The story makes now a little switch back in time when Larasse witnessed how Cathrine was kidnapped. He just decided he should follow her.

  • Ter Sep 18, 2009 @ 1:39

    Hugs about the headache, and hi, I’ll join in. I have a novel that was closing in on the end in May. Then I didn’t write anything for months, for one reason and another. I started writing again at the end of August with a target of 200 words a day. I haven’t written every day, but it’s getting better, and I don’t mind upping my goal to 250 words a day. I make that about half the time when I write anyway.

    Yesterday’s total was 223 words.

  • esj Sep 18, 2009 @ 1:30

    okay, I’ll bite.

    Sight unseen: 600 words yesterday, today, -300 words +100 words.

    I have some words that just don’t fit but if I rip them out, there’s bloody raw edges between the two that just doesn’t match up. I may have to do more surgery. πŸ™‚

    • The Pencil Neck Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:35

      In general, it’s probably best to just keep writing and don’t write and revise at the same time. If you know what’s wrong with what you’ve written, make a note to yourself about what you need to rewrite and then keep writing as though you’ve already written it the way you want it.

      After you’re done with the draft, THEN go back and start hacking and slashing. You’ll have a much better feel for your story and your characters and you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want to do. If you start revising now, you’re probably just going to have to revise it again later to get it the way you want it and if you get caught up revising and making things perfect when you’re in a writing phase, you’ll probably never finish it to your satisfaction and just keep writing and revising and revising and revising and never have a completed draft.

      At least, that’s the way it works for me. ymmv.

      • The Pencil Neck Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:38

        esj,

        My first response might have come across a bit pedantic. Please, don’t take it that way. It’s late; I’m tired. πŸ™‚

        Welcome to the group and keep cranking out the words.

        • esj Sep 18, 2009 @ 10:15

          no problem. I suffer from the same hazard myself. Part of the reason I write/revise/write/revise is because they use speech recognition and it makes all sorts of mistakes which are really annoying. It changes my verb tenses and adds then drops various words sometimes that are critical to the story. If I don’t catch them right away, it gets lost and I end up rewriting far more than I probably need to. Or maybe it’s that I rewrite what I need to but fool myself into thinking I doubt.

          And yes, the above was totally uncorrected straight dictation without corrections.. CU I need to rapidly revise.

          — eric

  • The Pencil Neck Sep 18, 2009 @ 1:28

    1138 words. (Revision)

    I snuck a few words in this afternoon and then the rest this evening. I’m toast. Early meetings, worked all day, wrote about 400 words, rehearsal for a gig, then a late conference call, and then about 700 words that I didn’t expect to see. I thought I was just going to get the 400 today. But, boy, I’m beat.

    Scene 1 (finishing up): The hooker found her friend and they went and talked to a priest of the Goddess of the Arts who happens to know The Mentor and told those hookers where she lived. (This is how the assassins found her.)

    Scene 2: The Mentor, angry at being set free from her sarcophagus, tracks down the man responsible who’s in hiding and proceeds to whoop his ass. But before she can finish killing him, the Spell entrances her and forces her to leave after vowing to come back and finish him. The Crime Lord lays on the floor with a dislocated elbow and various cuts and bruises and laughs uncontrollably.

    • The Pencil Neck Sep 18, 2009 @ 2:36

      I meant to sneak in a “Get better, Holly” wish into my original post. And I forgot.

      So, get better, Holly.

  • Tori Sep 18, 2009 @ 1:27

    My Secret Project lives. I wrote my first scene about thirty minutes ago. My MC confronts her mother about a secret the mom shouldn’t have kept.

    My MC says something surprising. I don’t know if I should keep it or not. She tells her mother: “You’re the reason he left us.”

    Is this too much too fast? Does it even belong? Gah. I hate it when my characters confuse me like this!

    Number of words: 277

    I had wanted 500, so I may try to add more in an hour or so.

  • Yese Sep 18, 2009 @ 1:21

    450 words.

    I started my first novel tonight after 5K words of prewrite. Even though I don’t have everything planned out (just the basics) I decided to just get on with it. The inspiration will come. The characters will guide me.

    Feels good.

  • Ieva Sep 18, 2009 @ 0:38

    Ouch. πŸ™ It’s horrible. I hope you’ll feel better soon.

    I didn’t do any writing but I wrote&edited a paid review that makes 1100+ words. Hey, they are words.
    Also, it’s really autumn here, pouring rain and melancholia. Beautiful. I feel autumn creeping in my novel all the time while it should be summer. I’ll let it go though. It’s editable.

  • Mark Sep 18, 2009 @ 0:01

    Wrote 1400+ words last night. I’ll probably only keep a small fraction of them, but they’ve given the chapter a much clearer structure for my second attempt tonight. The Writer’s Club was excellent, but over much too soon. Oh well, now I have to wait till next fortnight.

  • Adam Sep 17, 2009 @ 23:46

    finished ch 13 and got a little start on ch 14. Tzal got to his meeting, embarrassed himself, but amused the lord so it turns out ok. need to plot out what exactly the lord tells him, as i’m cutting a sub plot that i had strung through the work and i think this was going to be where Tzal learns about that the most… very pleased with the progress i’m making. i never realized how a blog like this could help keep you motivated to push forward, and that has really framed what i need to do in order to succeed at this endeavor.

    also did a little marketing blurb for a website i frequent (3DBuzz for any computer animation enthusiasts out there. best 3D, 2D, and programming tutorials around). started outlining a political essay that has been tumbling in my head for the past few weeks. those i don’t try to force out, because they tend to be more pointed and better if i let them simmer for a long time. So although my word count in the novel doesn’t show it today, a very good day overall.

    550 words in novel.

  • Jim Mitchel Sep 17, 2009 @ 23:08

    Chapter 10 is still going well.

    The kidnapped king realizes he’s not alone. The devilish creature that took him is still around.

    The devil talks to the King and praises him, and his family, for the great horrors they have bestowed upon the world. The King’s family have been doing the devil’s work for him, and they did it better then the devil himself ever could.

    Word count: 360

  • Sarah Sep 17, 2009 @ 22:59

    I think I clocked in around 1600 on my short story, and finished it up, plush a little tinkering on the novel. Maybe 300 words there. I love having days off work.

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