DTD—289 words forward, and a small clue

Aleksa gets the first hint that what she thinks happened to her assistant is not what happened at all. Small segment tonight—I haven’t slept more than a couple of hours a night since last Friday, and I’m determined to get a full night’s sleep tonight.

So, with 21,184 words completed, I’m going to turn in.

The Air Force Kid has returned to base. I’ve been blue the better part of the day; I miss him already.

Good luck on your words, if you’re playing. I’ll check in tomorrow to see how it went for you.

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137 responses to “DTD—289 words forward, and a small clue”

  1. Michael Avatar

    1320 words, give or take half a dozen.

    The Good Guys aren’t great and the Bad Guys may not be *that* bad any more – and may not even be who they are *supposed* to be! I’m picking up a group of characters I introduced ages ago and am now…finding their story, I guess. They were interesting – or, *could be* interesting in the right setting. Nothing like a moral dilemma to shake out who is who…

    I’d almost forgotten how much FUN writing can be when you are ON THE SCENT!

  2. Sandy Jensen Avatar

    Okay, Holly,
    As one of your 1000 true fans, I’m in. (That is, I’m a fan of anything and everything you produce regarding writing. WriterCrashTests rock! You cannot force me to read fantasy, even if you write it.) As a graduate of Thinking Sideways and an understander of the more mysterious ways of Muses, I know mine will sit up a little straighter and fly a little righter if she knows she is holding vibrational hands with your Muse in…uh…um..Georgia, is it? That’s in the Union, right? πŸ™‚
    Peter and I are headed out the door for a week writing with Kim Stafford at Fishtrap: http://fishtrap.org/outpost.shtml
    then two weeks in the back of the Oregon beyond, where my novel takes place. I’m a horse rolling in home dust already!
    Do you remember that book that came out…was it forty years ago, by Malcolm Boyd? It was called “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?” I keep thinking of that title…I’m running with you, Holly! and all you other writers, too. We’re having a Muse group hug!
    Love from Ory-gun!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hey, Sandy—

      Have a wonderful time in Oregon. Sounds fantastic. I’ll look for your words when you get back (I’m guessing you aren’t dragging a laptop with you to hike and canoe and all that other cool stuff.

      Looking forward to running with you.

      1. Sandy Jensen Avatar

        There may be others out there who wonder what kind of fabulous job I have that I can afford to take three weeks off to disappear into the back country of My Fair State. The secret is that yes, indeed, I take my laptop with me where I go. I’m an online college perfesser! I am teaching Technical Writing and The Literature of Food and Culture online. I take a few days off to kayak and hike in the be-wilder-ness then check into a wi-fi cowboy bar, order up a pitcher of dark and start blazing through the student work. As a student, you definitely want to be on the latter end of that pitcher of beer!

        As my reward, I log into Holly’s site and see what all you compadres are up to. I expect to see some butt-busting while I’m gone! Laura, John, Teri, Pencil Neck, Colleen, Anambika, Megan, Kay, all you writers, get crackin’! It’s rodeo season, so ride the great white page that is the white bull (I’m sure Hemingway said something like that…).

        1. megan Avatar

          Gee Sandy, that flet like such a pep talk! Enjoy that trip!

  3. Laura Avatar

    No additional writing last night; but on my commute home, I worked more on my MC’s character development. She’s still too passive; action keeps happening to her rather than being started by her. I haven’t made her dimensional enough–particularly in comparison with the other characters who are much more interesting; they have darker sides to their personalities and motivations, or at least conflicted sides. Somehow I didn’t get her on that boat–yet.

  4. Don Avatar

    Got to 5715 today added 737 from yesterday. Major action comming I want to end tomorrow with the team back on earth. The Banold plotting revenge ( I know you have no idea what I am talking about but with 77 comments who’s going to notice.)

    1. The Pencil Neck Avatar
      The Pencil Neck

      I’m going to notice.

    2. Sandy Jensen Avatar

      I’m going to notice.

    3. Talina Avatar

      Don, congrats with the word count!!
      Good Luck and Happy Writing!

    4. Nancy Avatar

      I’ll be noticing too. There’ll apparently be a lot of us noticing, Don!

    5. Holly Avatar

      I read all of them.

      I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read all of them.

      Congrats. Nice word count.

  5. Karen van Wyk Avatar

    Yikes, I was expecting a whopper of a word count today because I’m at an exciting part in the plot. As it happens, I only managed 248 words.

    Life sort of got in the way a bit but you’d think I could have managed an extra two to round it up to 250. Never mind, I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.

    Thanks for this, Holly. Today was one of those days where I wouldn’t have even opened my word processor if it wasn’t for WABWM.

    1. Holly Avatar

      πŸ˜€ And yet you did. That kicks ass.

  6. Talina Avatar

    I have not finished all of my plotting and I don’t even have all my characters fleshed out, but I started writing my first scene last night. I finished 237 words and they are my first ever!!!! I have been bit by the ink bug…or pixel bug, either way I am off.

    MC recently inherited her aunt’s inn and a murder mystery or two, it just depends on how many people come between the murderer and his target.

    Tonight will prove to be interesting.

    I also find myself returning to the writing clinics. They were a vast help before I started and continue to help me through hard patches!

    Happy Writing to all!!!

    1. megan Avatar

      First ever words!! How fantastic, Go you !!

      1. Talina Avatar

        Thanks Megan!!! It is blast just diving in and putting my fears under my foot. I just finished another 261 words and still have a few more hours until bedtime, a lot can happen in that time!
        Happy Writing!

        1. megan Avatar

          yep those fears certainly need to know their place

  7. Belle Avatar

    I have been a writer wannabe since I was a child and have ideas out the wazoo. It is my personal Mt. Everest. Thanks to this offer to write a book with you, yesterday I did 260 words, today over 400. I am focusing on a whole brand new idea that I got a few months ago. Where can I find a progress meter like yours to put to my website? Thanks, Belle

    1. Talina Avatar

      HI Belle, I thought I would share where I found my progress meter and it is free. You can find it at storytoolz.com along with some other helpful tools. Happy Writing!


      1. Belle Avatar


  8. Kay Avatar

    I have writeen 3, 805 words today. Yippee! I am in the middle of my story and it looks like I just freed myself from writer’s block. I haven’t written, except for 5 hundred some words yesterday, anything since last Sunday. I am just letting myself jump around to differnt scenes at different spots in my story. I can’t seem to get this one scene pinned down, so I am skipping it for now. The scene is my main character, Ali, forcing information out of a thief that was caught by other sodliers earlier. Trying to force myself to write this is driving me crazy I have already writtieng six possible beginnings and come up with another plot thread. But I am proud of myself today. I have written alot and am almost caught up again on my original word count goal. Goal is 8,000 words a week. Which is about 1, 142 words a day. And am now a little more than five days behind, but oh well.

  9. John Avatar

    I didn’t actually do any writing of the actual story today, but I did do a bit of planning πŸ™‚ so at least I got something done! I did the first three tools of the Create A Plot Clinic, and it was fantastic! I realised things about my plot that I’d never even considered before πŸ™‚

  10. Nancy Avatar

    Oooh Oooh Oooh, Mr. Kott-er!! I just nailed my Sentence. With a wicked Twist. And it wasn’t even a lemon (pun intended).

    Thank you, Holly!! Your methods are brilliant!

    1. megan Avatar

      That sounds soo cool! Well done! By the way where the heck do thes Sentences come from?

      1. Talina Avatar

        Megan, the sentence I believe Nancy is referring to is from Holly Lisle’s writing clinics and the Two Year Novel Course by Lazette Gifford. It is the first stepping stone in the path of plotting and planning your story. You come up with a sentence then develope that sentence with detail into a paragraph of 100-150 words. Hope that helps.

        1. megan Avatar

          thanks Talina, I’ll try and work that out, but its hard hu?

          1. Talina Avatar

            The “sentence” is always the hardest because, to me, it is like putting your entire book within the limits of one sentence. But if you stop and think about it, that helps with the direction you really want to go instead of wasting time wondering all over the place. In my personal way of writing, I find it to be my key to the entire book. Does that help any?

        2. Holly Avatar

          Talina—In this case, the Sentence is a very specific technique from How To Think Sideways. 30 words or less, hero, villain, conflict, and twist.

          I posted my own Sentence for Dreaming the Dead somewhere downstream in this thread.

          1. megan Avatar

            yeah Holly, put sucintly like that I think my current idea sucks lotsa lemons but I hold out hope for the characters and the basic idea. Here I go, wings spread and soaring….

          2. megan Avatar

            And thanks Talina, that helps too, maybe as a step above Holly’s, so I can appraoch it …

  11. Steve Avatar

    This may be just the thing I needed to get going again. 250 words a day should be an easy ask, no matter how crazy everything else is around here.

    I’m applying the words to what is currently a 60,000 word WIP, all written in first-person POV. The extra words will be in the form of the third-person viewpoints of some of the other players, about every third chapter or so (a sort of “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” layout), in an effort to a) give a little extra dimension to the story, and b) get the thing up to a more salable length. The first few of these bonus chapters have been immense fun to write–more than I thought they would.

    289 words today, for a total of 289 (we’ll start counting from today).

    Best of luck!

  12. Teri Avatar

    I think this is a great idea. I am still working an outline and have found it overwhelming. So I divided my outline into three sections- begining, middle and end- about 8 chapters per section. Now I am trying to add scenes to each section. I am having difficulty developing scenes for the chapters in all three sections, so I decided to come up with a few scenes for the first couple of chapters and hope more arise as I write.

    1. megan Avatar

      mmmm, that dividing idea just might work… I have a WIP that i love most of, but the milleu is just rotten, 70,000 words in. Seems such a waste and I love the characters, and most of the plot. So now I finnished my last assignment for my local writing group( a Martian Post Card home 167 words last night) I am thinking back to that character who makes my knees weak. Seems he misses me almost as much as I miss him.

  13. Brent B. Avatar
    Brent B.

    Holly! Get out of my head!

    Three years back, I started this dream. It seemed simple – write a book. It’ll be fun.

    And, I have nothing, nada, a big fat zero to show for it. Honestly, I haven’t even gotten past the first chapter of anything I’ve started. I can’t fathom why not? After all, I’ve bought and read all sorts of how to write books (s***, there’s a lot of ’em), even bought an expensive writing software program called Dramatica Pro (ouch), thinking it would simplify the task. It didn’t. I quit.

    For some inexplicable reason, I recently found myself tinkering around on your site. Lady, you have this way of explaining things that really resonates with me, but it drives me crazy, too. Crazy enough to pick up the ol’ slingshot and start firing rocks at this Goliath dream riding on my back.

    So, I started hacking away at some concepts, some characters and started butchering some plot, and . . . the usual . . . everything growing fuzzy . . . starting to get frustrated . . . can’t go on . . .

    Revelation!! From out of nowhere! A new character popped into my head (freaking workshops, arrggh! I hate you). NOW everything is clicking into place; the plot is moving again and moving well.

    Thanks a lot Holly. Now I can’t put away my slingshot. Thanks for all the freaking valuable insight that actually fits inside my much too small head. Thanks for making me carry on with this stupid quest. Thanks a lot Holly. Now, stay out of my head! So’s I’s can quits already.

    P.S. Hope to start laying down some real words in a couple of weeks.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Brent. I’ll be watching for your notes here. You can do this.

  14. Elise Avatar

    1,026 words yesterday – but I’m having a tough time getting started this morning. I’m hoping to get motivated by reading other people’s posts.

  15. Colleen Avatar

    361 words today. I stopped at an exciting part, so that I would want to continue tomorrow. (I’ve found this far more effective than stopping when I run out of things to say, as I stare blankly at the screen the next day with – still – nothing to say.)

    With some light edits of yesterday’s work, this brings me to 834 words for Dawning Sun. The one member of a harem not trying to seduce the new king has just found herself steadying the dowager as they walk behind the funeral procession of the last king. She doesn’t have any idea what she’s going to say to the woman – and neither do I!

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Colleen! That’s the fun part. I just started a scene where my MC is sitting at a table daydreaming and someone walks up to the table and startles her. I have no idea who it is, or what they’re going to say (I only have a vague notion of how the conversation is going to move the plot forward and heighten conflict). It’s a blast. Like watching a movie unfold right before your eyes on the screen!


  16. Nancy Avatar

    Got 453 today during lunch. I’ve intro’d the MC, introduced the Big Concept, and a minor “character” (a flock of pesky Sacred Geese led by “the demon beast of geese himself, Auriculus Septimus”). I’m still grinning from the encounter. My MC — not so much.

    A question for everyone. At work, Budget Season is fast approaching and I’m starting to find it hard to switch between left brained and right brained activities. Anyone else have this problem? I work with numbers and data all day — sometimes changing gears is a real challenge. Ideas, anyone on how to make the transition back and forth?

    1. Elise Avatar

      Nancy, this has got to be the 64,000 dollar question! I’m a computer programmer (which probably explains this huge plot board on my wall that really bothers me because there are literal holes in the sections of different colored Post-Its and I’ve already started writing) and the idea of even trying to work on fiction over lunch is incomprehensible to me. My brain couldn’t possibly switch gears that fast.
      What I’ve found works for me is to get up earlier (sigh) and begin my day with morning pages. This usually leads to brainstorming – or daydreaming – about my novel in the journal. If I’m lucky, I’ll get one or two ideas that I think I can use during that time. Or the solution to whatever scene I’m writing and got stuck on.
      With those little bits of information in my journal or on a Post-It, I can usually pick up from there later in the day. But it’s still hard to turn off the totally logical programmer and become the creative writer.

      1. The Pencil Neck Avatar
        The Pencil Neck

        I’m a programmer and I find I write better late at night. At least, I think I do.

        If I had to, I think I could write during lunch but I haven’t tried in the past few years. I’m afraid I’d get caught up writing and find it hard to go back to work. When I was on another job (still a programming gig), I’d keep a vi session open and every free moment, I’d write things down. That was a kind of a songwriting journal thing. I didn’t seem to have a problem shifting gears back them, maybe I’m just getting old and don’t want to shift gears now. πŸ™‚

    2. Colleen Avatar

      Hmm. I work with numbers and data all day too (I’m, er, something like an accountant).

      I am, however, also an ex-smoker. And I leared when I was quitting that I could still go outside, wander around, and let my brain relax. That’s when I get my plotting done – I give myself 10 minutes to wander off from my desk and jot down notes. It makes me more effective at my job, too, having given myself the break.

      When I’m too wound up from all the numbers and data, I turn my book into numbers and data. What points do I want this scene to accomplish? Write a bulleted list. Where are my subplots? Write a flowchart. Divide the book into sections and look for the flow. Look at how many words you have, and calculate your average sentence length. (No, I’m serious. It makes you think about the words, if nothing else, which can often be a clue to your Muse that we’re going to write now.)

      That’s how I manage it, anyway. Widely varying mileage, of course.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Wow! Thanks for all the input and great ideas! I may just take ten minutes and wander outside right now… πŸ™‚ Thanks, everyone!

  17. Julie Avatar

    My lunctime writing slot was taken over today by some annoying and completely avoidable dramas. I almost let it stop me writing, but then I decided not to let it bother me and took myself off to write.

    I managed 465 words for a scene from potential love interest’s childhood. It was fun finding out about his early motivation for his choice of career path and meeting a rather rakish gentleman… well gentleman’s probably not the right word for him, but I think I’m going to enjoy writing about him anyway. πŸ˜€

    I’m also learning to ignore my pesky internal editor which is nice!

    Well done to everyone who got some words today. πŸ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar


  18. Sidni Avatar

    I’m jumping in–even with my jobs as wife/mom/full time job holder I know I can do 250 a day and get my middle grade mystery novel finished. And, c’mon Holly, and admit it, you’re an angel, right? I mean, unless this is the case, how do you find so much time and energy to do all that you do? I am so touched that you take the time to come up with ways to inspire us and even respond to these posts and cheer us on. You are awesome.

    1. Sidni Avatar

      710 words today. Woo Hoo. The bully just might give Jessi the help she needs to uncover the secret behind the antique necklace her grandma gave her.

    2. Holly Avatar

      Congrats on the words. And I just like hanging out with people who like the same things I like—writing books, getting words, creating wonderful things.

  19. Ann Avatar

    Not quite 200 words for yesterday, but it’s more! Day off today, so I’m planning on sitting down & getting slightly better acquainted with the plot & the protagonist. Yay everyone for all your progress!

  20. Anambika Avatar

    Hi Holly,
    it hurts, when u don’t reply to my comment. I know it is not possible, and it is not necessary to respond to all my comments, but my little heart (it must be little, I haven’t seen it) hurts. β€œAre you mad?” You might ask, I don’t know. they say, writers are queer, right? May be I am also. Yesterday you came very close to my comment, replied to the very previous post to mine, but left my post untouched. It hurt.

    Perhaps it is good! I think. Little doses of what might come later, big, devastating, blunt rejection from an agent? Publisher? Oh! You do good things to me unintentionally also. But, U C, whenever something hits me, I bounce back. I thought about this: my yearning for recognition, response, even in a forum, not necessarily from the webmaster, or the host, but anyone. So will all others do – yearn for a response to their comment. Why don’t I read their posts, comments, and reply? I thought, and I have decided to read others’ comments, and reply. If I could help, cheer-up, give a pat on the back, it would be great, esp. in this write-a-book-with-you post, wouldn’t it be? … Shall I?

    1. The Pencil Neck Avatar
      The Pencil Neck

      In this sort of forum, it’s really hard to comment and reply to everyone’s comments. There’s no way Holly could do that and get everything done.

      In this forum, I’d suggest you just post your word counts and don’t expect a response. It doesn’t mean people don’t like you. πŸ™‚

      1. Anambika Avatar

        Oh Pencil Neck, I know, but My heart doesn’t understand. any way, it is very nice of you to respond. Occasionally I do need a pat on the back, all of us do. even a tweak of the ears, or a nuckle on the head πŸ™‚

    2. Sandy Jensen Avatar

      You have a very interesting name. How old did you say you were?

      1. Anambika Avatar

        Hi Sandy,

        Anambika is not my real name, but it is a beautiful name alright. it is sanskrit, which means ‘nameless female’. a + nam (name) + ambika (female). And I am 30, single, Indian, from the south, doing my PhD in English, Oh! You didn’t ask for my bio, right? and I can say, at least the age part is true. I have no qualms in my body getting old. It’s my mind that I am worried, So I keep it young and fresh. So young that it is immature, So fresh that it is always a clean slate πŸ™‚

        1. The Pencil Neck Avatar
          The Pencil Neck

          I’ll be in Bangalore working in a week and a half. πŸ™‚

          Then back to Texas.

  21. The Pencil Neck Avatar
    The Pencil Neck

    I made the mistake of discovering Ancestry.com and spent most of last night tracing different family lines back. I got all the way to Normandy, right before William the Conqueror became William the Conqueror. I had no idea. So I was talking to my mom about all this stuff until about 1:30am and then realized I hadn’t written my quota. I was tempted to just let it go because I’d gotten over 1,000 words a night for the past few nights… but… the guilt started setting in.

    I got 358 and completed the rough draft climax scene where my hero figures out who killed his brother and why he can’t take vengeance on them. That scene turned out a lot shorter than I planned because I guess I was just trying to get all the basic ideas down. It’s almost entirely dialogue and it’s not as clear as I’d like. But it’s there and it wasn’t there before.

    So, just one more scene before I begin revisions.

    1. Anambika Avatar

      Great, and are you one scene short of completing your book?

      and doing revisions, you do it simultaniously? or at the end? why do you do so? I do it simultaniously, and find it worthwhile. well, do post how your climax got expanded, later, after you finish it for good. Not the plot, but the process. πŸ™‚

      1. Sarah Collins Avatar

        Hey, Anambika! I handle a lot of my revisions simultaneously, too! It seems to be against the grain, but I can’t seem to move on until I’ve got a satisfying little “pop” at the end of a chapter I’m generally happy with. Nice to see I’m not alone in it! =c) Not that I won’t have work to do when the first draft is finished, of course.

        1. Anambika Avatar

          Hi Sarah,

          Great to hear that, One more soul like me. me too, could never moveon to the next till I get the present chapter perfect 36-24-36 πŸ™‚

      2. The Pencil Neck Avatar
        The Pencil Neck

        This is a short story. It’s 8250 words. I’m one scene from the end.

        Holly suggests doing revisions at the end. Personally, if I get into revising mode while I’m writing the drafts, I never finish because I just keep going back and fixing things and stop moving forward.

        I’m considering this short story part of the learning process. I want to go through all the steps Holly suggests. Doing that on a novel takes a long time. I’ve finished a draft of a novel but not the revision because while revising it, I discovered some fatal errors that I had introduced before I had discovered Holly’s methods.

        1. Anambika Avatar

          Hi Pencil Neck,

          It’s not doing revision all of a sudden while in the middle of writing something. Let’s say, I write a scene or a chapter. the next day, I revise, a glance and change a little here, a sentence there. it also helps to pick up the thread, you see, to continue the work. however, once I am for-the-time-being satisfied with a chapter, I leave it to the end. I may come back once I finish the whole work. I don’t know if it is the best way, for what I am doing is my first novel.

          1. The Pencil Neck Avatar
            The Pencil Neck

            Oh, that’s fine. Reading something from the previous day and making some tweaks to get into the flow of the story is pretty common.

            To me, revision is a lot more involved. It’s actually going through with a fine-toothed comb and finding all the little snags. It’s fixing all the grammar and rewriting the sentences to have more variety and remove the passive voice sections. It’s when you really look at your work with an objective, unfriendly eye looking for all the stuff that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t read well.

            Do the revision work that involves MAJOR changes in what you’ve written after you have a full draft finished. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me and spend years writing and rewriting the same thing over and over never satisfied with a story that is a patchwork quilt of different versions of your story.

    2. Holly Avatar

      You got good words even when you had good reason not to feel like getting them. Cheering.

      And yeah, research digressions will eat you alive. It’s all that fun and all that certainty that you’re really working rolled into one deliciously sinful confection.

  22. Scarlett Avatar

    Hi there, just found this Holly so thank you. I am in the middle of my novel at the moment. WIP at moment 70,000 more or less I dont know the actual figure. Today I wrote very little but did realise I have a major hole in my plot which I now need to fix. Onwards and upwards! Will keep track of this and keep writing a little at a time.

    1. Anambika Avatar

      Hi Scarlett,
      even the word ‘PLOT’ has a hole in it, you see. So don’t worry, you shall fix it. But how did you get a hole there? May be, because you did not have a clear plot outline? Elaborate Plz, it might help us. For the rest There is Holly.

      1. Scarlett Avatar

        Hi Anambika
        I have done quite a detailed outline but I find things happen as I write that I hadnt planned. When I did the first quick write I left many gaps in between scenes – it was in one of these gaps that the hole happened… Still it’s early days and I can fix it. 500 words so far today

  23. Anambika Avatar

    Boasting Rabbit is back πŸ™‚
    Today, I wrote 857 words in about 2 hours. But before that, I did a heart wrenching, merciless, deed – I discarded my entire yesterday’s work (1138 words of one of my finest writings). I was forced to, I had to, for the scene is taking my story into unnecessary
    Digressions. So … I dropped it into a backup folder for future use. Is this a consequence of not sketching a detailed plot outline before hand? But I prefer writing off the cuff. Of course, I have a general idea of where I had started, where I should go and where I should stop. Well, this is what happened today. OK, run along.

  24. Eve Avatar

    851 words last night for a total now of 42,654. I’m nearing the halfway point of the book. The next bits are a bit dodgy and I expect my word count might go down a little. There is confusion in this murky middle and I need sort it out.

  25. tjwriter Avatar

    Got about a half page in. I love writing by hand, but mostly I’m glad to be writing again. This story has potential.

    I started this story way back when, but my life’s been crazy for awhile, and I’ve not worked on it. Then I realized how lame it sounded, so I spent some time brainstorming. Now, I have some more solid ideas and I’m taking a shot at again from a bit of a different perspective. I’m really hoping it works.

    Progress, slow and steady, is the plan.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’m cheering for you. Getting back into it can be scary.

      1. tjwriter Avatar

        Thanks so much Holly. I find you inspiring.

  26. Erin T Avatar
    Erin T

    About 300 words planning. I’ve given myself until August 1st to plan – because I am an over-planner, and apparently do everything in my power to not write! – after which time I will be finished with the planning and start writing real, live, actual prose. This is really helping me get going with this! Thanks, Holly.

  27. Cora Zane Avatar

    1015 words for me last night, so the grand total is a little over 58k. Everything seems to be moving right along at the moment. I’ve got my fingers crossed the plot monkeys won’t jump out at me toward the end of the book. One of my characters mysteriously vanished a chapter or so ago. πŸ˜›

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hang in. The plot monkeys will appear. They always do. But you’ll handle them in the revision.

    2. Beckie Avatar

      Hi Cora! It’s Beckie aka Melisse Aires. WWorking on the word count!

  28. Dawn Avatar

    I’m still in the planning stages of my novel but I thought I’d count the words in my sentence lights until I actually start writing first draft. My muse needed a break but we’re heading back to planning soon. I’ll post my word count tonight. Thanks for doing this. For some reason this sort of thing really helps me write daily.

    1. Anambika Avatar

      Hi Dawn,

      Your muse asks for a break, but mine reluntlessly drives me mad. They are a bothersome lot. May be that’s why, many don’t believe in them. Tell me, Do you think, that when you put pen on paper, with determination alone in your heart to write, you will be able to write? an interesting topic to discuss, hmm?

      1. Dawn Avatar

        When it comes to planning my muse balks if I force, yet when it comes to writing my muse is different. I go with “If you write it, your muse will come” because it only takes a bit of writing alone before my muse starts poking around, putting in her two cents.

        I wrote 244 words of sentence light today before deciding I didn’t know what a twist was after all. I hope I get a handle on it by tomorrow.

  29. Staci Myers Avatar
    Staci Myers

    392 words last night, bringing the grand total for White Knight to 11,484. The hero just met the heroine for the first time, and he’s pretty sure she’s a fruit loop…

    1. Holly Avatar

      LOL. I love your teaser. Thank you!

  30. Kevin Avatar

    Hi Holly, this is great, I haven’t started my novel yet but boy have I thought about it. My planning time has been about 7 years so far and I haven’t written one word (not even for notes!); my story has now evolved somewhat and has become a trilogy, so now the task is 3 times as big and 3 times as bad! It crushes me mentally on a daily basis. I have spent a long time searching for motivation without cost or time constraint in the company of others on the same road. The fact that I have written this comment is a green shoot signal that I may now finally start to write. Thank you Holly, it appears that the ship may finally be loaded and ready to sail.
    P.S what does WIP mean please.

    1. Staci Myers Avatar
      Staci Myers

      It is an abbreviation for “Work In Progress”.

    2. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Kevin. Take a deep breath and plunge in. And—though this is hard—let the first draft suck. You’ve spent years building up expectations. In first draft, you’ll find that you aren’t meeting a lot of them. But that’s what first drafts are for.

      This is not brain surgery. Nobody dies if you get it wrong the first time. And when you go back through it the second time, you can fix every single thing that you messed up. It’s one huge reason why writers have more fun than doctors. πŸ˜€

      1. Kevin Avatar

        Thank you Holly, that advice is so useful to me. On that day I did manage a 324 word count, since then have I followed your rules. I done other stuff on Friday and went to the beach on Saturday with my family. I haven’t felt pressured by not producing any more words, infact, it has made me start to think in smaller portions making things easier and more enjoyable.

  31. Ieva Avatar

    700+ words, despite being totally swamped.

  32. Michelle Avatar

    250 words! A big deal- I had to brush the dust off this WIP, but I’m so excited to be working on it again! Thanks, Holly!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Huge congratulations. That’s awesome.

  33. Minze Avatar

    I set the timer for ten minutes and got 463 words.
    I’ll probably ditch most of those. The previous scene blew up the Palazzo and killed the first murder victims, and now my heroine regroups, still thinking it was all an accident. That illusions’s going to be shattered soon, but in order for it to be shattered, she has to be shown entertaining it. The problem is, she can’t just sit and think. So I had her sit, think, and count her money. Oh, and there’ll be someone dropping in for tea later. My Muse says she’ll come back once there’s something HAPPENING.
    She suggested having the heroine go through the rubble to find her belongings. This being the 19th century, someone’s bound to stop her and tick her off for unladylike behaviour. That’s promising.

    1. Holly Avatar

      One truth I learned fairly early on—don’t bore your muse. If you aren’t having fun writing a scene, or dread writing one that’s coming up, skip it, and write the next thing that you’re excited about. If you’re bored, you can bet everything you own that you’ll also bore your agent, editor, and readers.

      Novel are “Life—The Good Parts Version.”

  34. Sal Avatar

    372 words.

    Hero has limped home to find there’s no welcome.

    1. ValMarie Avatar

      I have no idea what your story is about, Sal, but I just wanted to respond and say that this short description really caught my attention. πŸ™‚

    2. Holly Avatar

      Excellent teaser there, Sal. I, too, am intrigued.

    3. Gabriele Avatar

      Sal, the mention of Flooden Field yesterday and now this has me REALLY curious what your book is about.

      And now I’ve come out of lurkdom, I’ll have to participate, right? πŸ˜‰

  35. Gerhi Janse van Vuuren Avatar

    314 words. And I have decided that I will do my 250 word minimum first thing in the morning.
    Okay first thing after breakfast and getting dressed and getting everybody out the door that should be out. But definitely before I do anything else on the computer. It worked this morning.

  36. BeccaBoo G Avatar
    BeccaBoo G

    Kept putting it off until tonight because of chores. Told myself that I was going to just write at least 250 and stop when I got to a good point. And hour later I had 1167 and a new feel for my characters.

    Woohoo. Thanks! If it weren’t for your ‘Write Along With Me’ idea I would have just put off writing until tomorrow.

    You’re awesome.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Wow! Nice progress.

      Remember to be nice to yourself on the days that you sit down to do 250 and end up doing 200, too. Or 100. Building the habit of writing, and doing at least something even on days when you feel like doing nothing, will allow you to finish most of the projects you start.


  37. Johanna Avatar

    Good luck to your AFK! I have two cousins in the Air Force, and I already send them positive thoughts, so it won’t be out of my way to do the same for your son. Tell him thanks for everything he does for this country.

  38. Drake_tesla Avatar

    458 words, and one cliffhanger down!

  39. Mikaela Avatar

    Yesterday was typical. I wrote 1500 new words, then I had to cut 1200 words later. 300 words gained, I suppose.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Are you editing, or doing first draft? If you’re editing, that’s normal. If you’re doing first draft, you can just leave all the words you wrote in place until you finish the first draft, then go back through and do a one-pass edit.

  40. megan Avatar

    Thanks Holly and Steve for your encouragment. Last night (oz time) I printed my short sotry (350ish words) that has been in the works for too long, and sat and did a near to last edit, this morning before my writing group i went to the puter and put in the changes i had seen the night before. Not exactly countable in words but in acheivemant i am happy. Thanks everyone, reading all our bits is fun and encouraging.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Cheers! And I know what you mean. I love coming in here and seeing what everyone else got done.

  41. Anthony Avatar

    Holly, you won’t believe this, but I started writing my next novel the same day you started writing DTD!

    1,717 words tonight / 38,358 total on that WIP.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Very cool! Nice progress, too.

  42. Roland Parenteau Avatar
    Roland Parenteau

    This is a great idea. Count me in.

  43. Lila S. Avatar
    Lila S.

    409 words tonight. I could have written more but I want to pace myself. Started a little story that I want to keep under 2000 words, so I don’t want to let myself ramble. I’m going to let the setup I wrote tonight sit in my head until the conflict shows up. If it doesn’t arrive before tomorrow night, I’ll work on some of the other stuff for my world until it does.

  44. Sarah Collins Avatar

    Watch out world – I managed an astounding 29 words today! I literally had five minutes to work on it, though, so I’m proud just to move in the right direction. WIP stands at 29,443 and my goal is 500 words a day.

    1. Holly Avatar

      You wrote. You have more words now than you did before. That’s all you need.

  45. KQ Avatar

    1476, getting very near the end of what I think of loosely as ‘part 2’.

  46. Beckie Avatar

    Just 250 words tonight, but it finished a scene. I need time to simmer the next scene. I want conflict between two characters but I don’t want a bitchfest, and I don’t want one character to come off as one dimensional.


  47. Jessica Avatar

    270 for tonight. Male protagonist is giving the secret service leader a bit of a tumble off his high horse, although getting a bit ahead of himself before he really understands the situation. Think it’s time mr. Arrogance meets miss Ignorant for some fun!

  48. Lea Avatar

    I wrote 1350 words for A LIFE ONCE LOST
    269 words for VENOM, a WIP that I started long ago, left for dead and came across earlier today. I though I would give it another go and the juices are flowing endlessly now for the story of River and Gavin.

  49. Vivien Weaver Avatar

    479 words tonight, which got repeatedly rearranged. I got the thoughts out there, but I had a hard time putting them together so they made sense.

  50. Lacey Savage Avatar

    I’m still planning / plotting / outlining my project, so no words for me tonight. I did spend 2 hours brainstorming and chatting with my Muse, and I have you to thank, Holly. I ended up with some amazing results that surprised and thrilled me.

    Interestingly, I’ve been going back through your previous books on writing. The Think Sideways course is a staple, but I find myself referring more and more often to your “Create a Plot” and “Create a Character” clinics. The tools in the plot clinic have been particularly helpful tonight, so thank you!


    1. ValMarie Avatar

      Y’know, Lacey, it’s interesting that you made this comment because I’ve noticed myself doing the same thing. I feel like prior to Think Sideways the amount of information in those books was overwhelming, but now I really understand how to apply them for best effect.

    2. Holly Avatar

      πŸ˜€ It comes from being careful not to duplicate content (I didn’t want people to be paying for the same information twice). So the Clinics are all the details, tricks, and techniques I know (or knew at the time) about each of their subjects. They’re designed to be used a little at a time, and kept onhand as references.

      Think Sideways is the comprehensive process of learning which parts to use when, and how to NOT use all the stuff in there that you won’t need—until you DO need it.

      And I’m delighted you’re finding them useful.

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