DTD — 499 Words, and the man with the dull job

Michael Bennetan steps up to carry the first part of the first scene of the archeological subplot of the story. He’s doing a dull dig of a minor pre-Columbian hunting camp in Ohio, and only finding evidence that it was used seasonally and lightly—it offers nothing unique, nothing cool, nothing that will give the historical society that hired him reason to stop the community developers who want to build there.

Except he’s just discovered something that doesn’t fit.

Little does he know…

Well, “Little does he know…” has to wait until Sunday night, actually. Tomorrow starts the weekend for me.

But I do know that the interesting stain in Ohio’s clay that tipped him to the presence of the artifact beneath it was caused by blood.

.
.

So. How’re you doing with your story?

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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.

40 comments… add one
  • Cassie Witt Aug 9, 2009 @ 21:33

    Well, after 3 days with NO progress whatsoever, I cranked out 1054 and 1015 words yesterday and today, respectively. Still not as good as I want, but definitely better than I was doing. I also figured something out. Writing with a time works for me. It makes me focus on getting as much done in the time-limit as possible. I’ll keep using this technique. Hopefully, it won’t die on me.

  • Treelight Aug 9, 2009 @ 18:05

    I eventually decided that this was one of my writing-free days of the week. After work, prepariations for the weekend and one or two hours spent on a fun fair with a friend (incl. watching nice fireworks), I was just too tired to think of anything, let alone continue my story.
    I knew that I might manage some words on friday and most likely none on saturday, which would work out just fine.

  • Nancy Aug 7, 2009 @ 21:26

    I determined this afternoon that I was going to let go of goals and expectations and just have fun. Wound up with 1284 words and happy with the results. I love my villain!

  • Gabby Aug 7, 2009 @ 20:21

    I had my conversation with my Muse and the characters. (they were not happy). My Muse is threatening to boycott and was fighting me when I tried to write a piece during my lunch break. I go back and forth… maybe I will come up with some cool explanation later that will explain the magical gizmos… but maybe, if I leave them out, magic will be more special when it shows up later on.

    Decisions…decisions. …So I’ve decided to write the scene without the gizmos. [*deep breath*] eek! It’s going to be character development and world development, without all the hocus pocus distracting the reader. Hopefully I can pull it off.

  • Karen van Wyk Aug 7, 2009 @ 16:49

    310 from me today. Work and real life somehow seemed to get in the way. I’m hoping to get quite a bit done over the weekend.

    Actually, I shouldn’t say that. Whenever I mention hoping for a good writing day I seem to jinx myself and end up with lower word counts than ever.

  • Kait Nolan Aug 7, 2009 @ 16:22

    Had awesome day yesterday. 652 on the main WIP and started on the new novella. 454 out of the chute. Already 743 down today on main and moving on to novella to play.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Aug 7, 2009 @ 13:52

    29 new words – many more deleted changed and newly written. Satisfied

  • Dawn K. Aug 7, 2009 @ 12:39

    Yesterday I wrote 493 words and I spent today thinking things over and rereading lessons 13 and 14 of “How to Think Sideways”. I’m almost done with section 3 of a 6 section project so I’d say I’ve hit the middle and I’m just not happy.

    I’ve had various warning signs before now. I like two of my secondary characters better than my main characters for example and I knew that from day one. Yet the story I want to tell is not about them. I’m wondering how I can make my main characters more interesting. I think the answer might be in their character sheets. Perhaps I’m not challenging them enough? There should be a ton of tension between them as they are very different and while they argue it all feels so planned. Of course it is planned, I planned it and yet… I don’t want to sit still too long, getting nothing written but I don’t want to type blindly either.

    So, that’s where my story is at. I’m debating the fact that I would much rather write Istrel and Tsaya then touch a single scene containing N’tal or worse, my main character Mailen. I’m looking for the answer to the question of whether to replot or rework the characters. I hope to be writing words again soon.

  • Lisa Aug 7, 2009 @ 12:15

    It’s Friday, so I decided to scrap my WIP again and work on my Busman’s Holiday project. And…oh, wow. 651 words, which is more than twice what I’ve been averaging on the other project, and they FLEW. It was awesome, and I loved it, and I totally got lost in the story, and it was so real to me, and none of that has ever happened with my other WIP. Which makes me really wonder whether I should give up on my other project. I hate giving up on novels, but I have finished the first draft of a novel before, so I know I *can* draft a novel. The thing I’ve never done is finished a first draft and still liked it enough to consider it worth editing or attempting to do anything more with. And seeing as I’m already so bored of my main WIP, I wonder whether it’s ever going to interest me as much as this other piece does. The thing is, I really love the IDEA of my other project, and this Busman’s one is hardly even an idea; I have no clue where it’s going or anything. It’s just a few characters and a situation and and and…I don’t know, sparkle? magic? Whatever it is that makes you *want* to write something. My other one has a great plot, some great characters, some clever ideas, but no sparkle.

    Arrrrrrgh…..!!! I need to go re-read Holly’s article about when to give up on a novel and when to struggle through. 🙂

    • Lisa Aug 7, 2009 @ 12:21

      And now I just answered my own question. I re-read the article I was thinking of (it’s “Evaluate Your Work,” for anybody else who needs it 😉 ), and it took me about two seconds to figure out what’s wrong with my WIP. It has no theme–or none that I know of–and it has no reason why it matters. However, it has a lot of ideas with potential to be developed into both of those things. So I’m going to take the weekend to figure out whether I can tease out those things out of the dying ashes of this idea. I’m only about 11,000 words into it, so if I decide to burn it, well, no biggie.

  • Michelle Aug 7, 2009 @ 11:59

    Whoops, I posted yesterday’s word count here. Yesterday: 1330. Today: 630. Yay!

  • The Pencil Neck Aug 7, 2009 @ 11:45

    330 words.

    I missed a couple of days because of traveling back from India. I had planned on writing on the plane but I was so wiped out, I mostly slept and read.

    I decided to have the sheriff get the warning right so that he’s going to the villain’s house to WARN the villain. So, these 330 words were basically him trying to help the villain but getting a weird vibe from him. This weird vibe is going to cause him to start asking questions. All the wrong questions. And that’s going to be bad for my sheriff because the last thing he wants to do is to start poking this guy with a sharp stick.

  • Nancy Aug 7, 2009 @ 10:50

    Only 358 words since Monday. The Business Trip From Heck is my excuse. I’m really quite amazed at everyone else’s progress though — it really is inspiring to read all the posts.

    The dreaded middle has hit, and my Muse is throwing ‘much more interesting’ ideas at me. The next scene I’m planning to write should be very exciting, but I think I’d rather eat dirt than commit it to virtual paper.

    *It would be ever so much more fun to work on the new mystery novel idea, wouldn’t it?* whispers my Muse. Or, *Let’s spend time today researching Quabbin Basin for that paranormal thriller.*

    I’m trying to fall in love again with my WIP, but feel like my daughter’s punctured inflatible pool. Where did all the sparkle go?

    *sigh* Anyway. Have a great weekend, all!

  • Lisa R Aug 7, 2009 @ 9:53

    648 words that went very smoothly. My MC’s goal is coming to her easier then I had anticipated or wanted. Last night as I was falling asleep, my muse started whispering secrets to me again. My MC”S enemy will throw a curve ball that I hadn’t expected or planned. I feel like all hell is going to break loss very soon.

    Also, I am rejoicing. 70,000 word total (I did start this project a year ago and stopped for awhile due to illness). I finished up chapter 9 last night and started chapter 10.

    • Sari Aug 8, 2009 @ 19:34

      That’s brilliant!! It’s so exciting when your work reaches important milestones, it really makes you feel like you might finish.
      Congrats 🙂

  • Jessica Aug 7, 2009 @ 8:45

    2119 and it was FUN! Closed the difficult scene with 3 dead bodies (well 2 but they decided to put the 3rd out of his misery), and got 90% of the next scene which has great chemistry, great tension, and one very angry woman!

    Today I close the stitches and get back to the MC, who is about to make a very bad decision, but one she thinks is necessary.

    And Holly, very cool twist. I can’t wait to learn more!

  • Belle Aug 7, 2009 @ 8:37

    Oops, I posted yesteday’s words in the wrong post which is zero. I took my writing day off yesterday to work on my mess of an office, go to the plant store, just wander around.

    I found a wall decoration at the plant store to put on my new office wall, if we ever finish the room. It’s a sun with a face on it that is half smiling. There is also a bowl, I guess its supposed to be a bird feeder or planter. I will probably put little treasues in the bowl, like fortune cookie messages and shiny objects.

    This weekend I plan to work on resequencing the scenes for Pedestal.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

  • Khena Aug 7, 2009 @ 8:27

    1597 words yesterday. Less than I wanted, and not quite at my goal, but I am quite happy with them nonetheless. My writing time was constantly interupted. I finished the scenes I had planned for Chapter 7, but I may have to add another. My MC’s had a terrible fight, which ended with them both angry going to bed. The scene I had written for the beginning of Chapter 8 doesn’t really show it much, since I didn’t know they would be fighting so much. But, the chapter is done until I finish the first draft. Two more chapters to finish up before I return to chapter 12.

    I am wondering why I was so afraid of the two sences I just finished, since I had a great deal of fun writing them. Hopefully the next few scenes on my list will be just as fun =)

  • Debora Aug 7, 2009 @ 7:58

    892 words yesterday. A good day’s work. Plus the postman has been very helpful to me lately, delivering spies. This morning I received a set of four DVDs, each of which I will watch several times over and later record. These are recordings of this year’s battlewalks at the Gettysburg National Military Park, delivered by the rangers on the anniversary of the battle. Great stuff, if you find the battle as endlessly fascinating as I do. Plus a book about Devil’s Den and an fictionalized account of a surgeon’s experience of the battle, written by an orthopedist and former Army doc, who, like me, must have felt some kind of mystical connection to the battle/battlefield that drove him to want to recreate a portion of that experience.

    Write for yourself. That’s what I’m doing.

    Little by little, it’s not the word count that matters. It’s whether I am staying true to the book I want to write.

    • Nancy Aug 7, 2009 @ 14:09

      Just what I think I needed to hear today. Staying true to the book. Not the word count. It’s the journey, not the destination.

      Thanks, Debora!

  • Larkk Aug 7, 2009 @ 7:45

    Still managed my 482 words, in spite of interruptions and generally hectic day. Even managed to give them a once over, which benefited the words greatly.

  • Scarlett Aug 7, 2009 @ 7:36

    The children are busy playing so have been successful today and written 3870 words. Now I’m utterly exhausted, but feel excited as a part of the plot that I always had in the back of my mind is now coming out in the story. It’s a betrayal based on a still present love for an old lover and now at last I can see how to use it. Cant wait to write the next bit, but it’s friday and the weekend looms. Cant believe I now want weekends over so I can write more. My life is topsy turvy.

    • Scarlett Aug 7, 2009 @ 12:00

      Added another 1618 words this pm. So tired now I can hardly focus, but I feel v motivated at the moment so thought I would just go with it

  • Minze Aug 7, 2009 @ 6:09

    1.153 words today. My husband is looking after the kids, so I’ve got plenty of time to write and do some research. That isn’t quite as wonderful as I thought it would be, because… all those websites I could look up, all those books I could get from the library… it’s such a lot. Where to begin? And my muse is feeling stifled. She wants to write a book, not a wikipedia entry. I’m not sure what to do. If I don’t do enough research, I might make mistakes that could be hard or impossible to edit out later. If I do too much research, my muse goes off in a sulk.

    • Ieva Aug 7, 2009 @ 6:34

      I’d say that there are no mistakes that cannot be edited out later.
      At least I have messed up big time and still come out safe.

      I began with a story about epileptic girl.
      After writing it, I learned
      – people don’t normally die of epilepsy
      – no employer would allow an epileptic work where she can die on site
      – the “halo” usually happens right before the seizure and the seizure is imminent by then
      – etc etc
      And, of course, I was convinced that epilepsy is a major plot point.

      After crashing some desks with my thick skull, I did some research, hired some spies, and figured that she could have brain tumor, and most of the flashy, epilepsy-specific stuff wasn’t necessary at all.

      So the lesson I walked away with is this: while *some* research is cool, most of the things can be edited later, even if screwed up really bad. You never know what your Muse might want to toss in for you. (E.g. had I done research on epilepsy before writing that story, I’d never actually written it because I would have known that there is zero basis for the conflict… but I wrote it and fixed it afterwards.)

  • Rob Aug 7, 2009 @ 6:02

    Another day wrecked by the Dreaded Day Job. 🙁 I’ll be glad when things settle down at work and I can come home at least half sane. Friday and Saturday have been my weekend, but I might cheat and write a little or do some Surgical Marks and Tire Patches.

  • Michelle Aug 7, 2009 @ 3:48

    Okay, I’m back. I’ve been following everyone’s progress, but I had to rework some planning, so no word counts the past few weeks to report.

    But today- 1330!!! Woo! I’m ready to add at least 250 from here on out till it’s done. 🙂

  • Ieva Aug 7, 2009 @ 3:29

    I did 600 words. Now I don’t know about the quality, but well, at least something happened in there, slowly unfolding, and I’m not even quite sure what. I’ll take it as a good sign.

  • Patricia Babbitt Aug 7, 2009 @ 3:03

    Made my 500+ tonight, and it’s developing the discovery/unraveling of the fantasy world part of the story which is kewl and fun to write! I’m smiling as I think about it!

  • Greg Aug 7, 2009 @ 2:49

    562 words and the end of my fifth scene. Time to introduce the wolf!

  • tambo Aug 7, 2009 @ 1:24

    Holly, just wanted to thank you for the tip you sent in my inbox a few min ago. I especially liked the ‘scrubbing toilet rim’ part. :p

    Thanks again!

  • KQ Aug 7, 2009 @ 1:20

    1001 for me. Not too jazzed about it, but there it is. I feel as though I need to do something to kickstart myself. I am going to try to work on another scene with some secondary characters to see if that fires the imagination. Happy weekend, all, and happy writing!

  • SCBrazil Aug 7, 2009 @ 1:15

    I had a good day today. Nothing exceptional word-count wise – 321 – I just really enjoyed writing what I wrote.
    I am easily reaching my 250 mark everyday but as I tend to swing more towards seeing what is wrong than what is right, I feel loathe to try and up it. If I go for 500 and start to fall short, I’ll chastise myself for my ‘failure’ and give up.
    ‘Do not change a winning team’ so I’ll stick with 250 and thoroughly enjoy doing them.
    Today Hector stumbled across the single one unobtrusive object he has actually been able to see after 13 years of blindness. 13 years of black emptiness only to see a rock floating amongst it! What’s happening to him?
    Thanks to Holly and everyone else for allowing me to share such a pleasurable and rewarding part of my day.

    • The Pencil Neck Aug 7, 2009 @ 11:41

      That’s a very interesting concept.

  • Jim Mitchel Aug 7, 2009 @ 0:02

    The story is still going good. Still working my way through the very long chapter seven.

    A creature from one of the character’s nightmares has come to life, and attacked the group. I’ll pick it up from there tomorrow.

    Word count for today: 460

  • Sarah Collins Aug 6, 2009 @ 23:40

    335 words today. My hero just found out that he’s essentially under the gun of a blackmailer. He can tell the truth and lose something very important to the woman he loves – something he swore to her he’d protect – or he can go along with it for now and hope she’ll listen long enough to hear the truth later. After spending the greater part of the novel trying to win her trust back, he’s in one heck of a spot!

  • Clare K. R. Miller Aug 6, 2009 @ 23:38

    636 words today. Cricket has figured out where she needs to go and who she needs to talk to, and tomorrow, she will be off on her way!

  • Elise Aug 6, 2009 @ 23:32

    1063 words for me today. I’ve added another murder suspect – or maybe two. it depends on whether my MC trusts suspect number two enough to believe his story that suspect number three had the better motive.

  • Eve Aug 6, 2009 @ 23:21

    Hellooo, I’m back. Vacation with the family was lovely, but at times I was itchy to get back to my writing. Nevermind, I had time today and I got 831 words.

    Have a nice weekend Holly.

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