DTD—516 words, and a slave shows up

There shouldn’t be slaves in modern-day New York City.

So I was surprised when one appeared at the right hand of my first-on-the-scene villain, Derok (whom you may have met when he lost his head, and left it behind for the police to find in an earlier-posted snippet.)

Finished up the rock band scene with Aleksa, and starting into the first scene in which I get to meet the villains at their day jobs. I’ve done only very light planning on this part of the story because I want to be surprised. And horrified.

Good writing night.

How have your words gone? And has anyone heard anything from Tori (whose husband got robbed while they were on vacation)? I went through all the previous posts looking for her, but haven’t seen anything since her last post here on Thursday.

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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.

69 comments… add one
  • Tori Jul 7, 2009 @ 19:40

    Holly- Sorry I left you all worried. We are fine. Finally made it back to Portland. When my husband got robbed we had to work to get enough money to come home…so I had to stay off the internet for a while. He still needs new glasses, but he got another drivers license today. We are still waiting for his new phone. This past week was horrible, but I know it could have been worse. I don’t know where I stand with my job yet.

    I am working on The Sentence right now. It’s not going so well. My Muse is silent and I don’t seem to have enough energy to coax her out of her shell. But at least I’m getting somewhere.

  • Dee Jul 7, 2009 @ 2:03

    Nothing today; daughter wanting to become a character introduced later, so I got to listen to description of the character she wants to be. And my son decided today would be the perfect day to make homemade gumdrops. Only, being 8, he doesn’t have the patience to actually follow the recipe for kids I found for him. Re-cleaning the kitchen. Such joy.

  • Jessica Jul 6, 2009 @ 21:46

    I wasn’t sure if I’d have the brain power to do it today – just couldn’t sleep last night at all! But I surprised myself with 311 words! Yay me! 🙂 Thanks Holly for always being so encouraging – and for drilling it in me to just keep writing.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:25

      Glad I can help. 😀

    • Sari Jul 7, 2009 @ 2:43

      I couldn’t sleep either! I was writing my story right up intil I turned the lights out and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it for hours!!

  • Debora Jul 6, 2009 @ 18:50

    Got 459 words accomplished today, along with some serious brainstorming. Have got a new job as a senior caregiver and am rapidly getting too attached to my clients. Tomorrow I won’t be able to write, because I have a 10-hour shift with a new client, who — would you believe it? — founded an Interfaith volunteer caregiver organization in her town, which is a very affluent, Quaker-based town. My new client is just 66, 11 years older than I am, and she’s had a major stroke. So yesterday I had a very bad day, thinking here’s this woman who had the energy to start a whole volunteer organization, and who does she want when she’s in dire straits? Somebody she doesn’t know, who gets paid diddly-squat, but who is genuinely committed. Feel like I should be volunteering, and not getting paid, but our family economics won’t permit that.

    Holly, Thinking Sideways helped me find this job that matters.

    Debora

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:24

      Hugs, Debora. And congrats on finding a direction you love.

  • Khena Jul 6, 2009 @ 15:30

    Hi, I just found this a few days ago and have decided to join in with the res of you. I finally managed to get some time to write on my “new” story, and got 493 words in. Hopefully I can hit around 500 words for most of the days of the week.

    Thanks for doing this Holly =)

  • Julie Jul 6, 2009 @ 14:19

    500 words for my childrens book today. I’m restarting it as I lost my way in the old draft, but this time I’m feeling much better about it. I’m two scenes in and it stands at about 1900 words and there’s a scene coming up that I can’t wait to get to! Feeling quite positive today.

    Congrats everyone on your words and good luck for tomorrow. 🙂

  • Belle Jul 6, 2009 @ 12:36

    Someone really helped me before by suggesting the Mugging the Muse book (thanks.) With the volume of great stuff Holly has made available, whats a good read for a newbie, I need to plan the path of my story so these writing days have a path to follow.

  • Lacey Savage Jul 6, 2009 @ 12:21

    My writing process has changed. I used to be a serious over-plotter, but lately, I find that trying to outline makes everything grind to a halt. So I’m embracing my organic writing abilities. I’m loving the discovery process–getting to know my characters, learning what makes them tick, putting them in situations new to me (and them) and watching them react.

    So last night, I started working on a new novella. Today, I wrote 1,150 words and in the process, learned that my heroine performed a heroic act that she can’t escape, and that her father, who’s six feet under, still haunts her. (Not in a paranormal kind of way, despite my tendency to write in that genre.)

    The hero remains veiled to me, with the exception of one careless remark he made to the heroine that gives me a hint about how his background is going to conflict with the situation in which she finds herself.

  • Eve Jul 6, 2009 @ 11:32

    I took Sunday off too, so nary a word. Boy did that feel weird. I swear I experienced withdrawal: lethargy, boredom, lack of focus.

  • Belle Jul 6, 2009 @ 11:09

    Lots of interruptions and a small household drama, still managed to get 260 words on Sunday, and 300 more this morning. the scene is almost done. Ditto on the question for Holly, how long can you do this. Write a book wtih you has been the exact level of motivation I needed, encouraging, motivating and not intrusive.

  • Anambika Jul 6, 2009 @ 10:55

    Holly, I am sorry, ZERO words today. Suddenly, to my horror, I find myself sitting in front of my computer, mind blank, unable to proceed. Am I good enough? Doesn’t what I write sound rubbish? I am forcing my characters to speak, aren’t I? my descriptions suck, my narration stinks, What should I do? Shall I post, a small piece/paragraph of my writing here, tell me how it sounds. Please, I need the truth. If it sucks, tell me please, I will not give up, it’s not in my blood, I will work hard to improve, but I don’t know, if I am good or bad. what should I do?

    • The Pencil Neck Jul 6, 2009 @ 12:01

      Don’t post samples here. It’s really not the place to do that. Instead, go to http://www.wordpress.com and get an account. Post examples of your work there and then post the link here. That way people who want to can go and check it out and give you feedback.

      Lots of people have wordpress accounts for that reason. You can check mine out at thepencilneck.wordpress.com. The password for the hidden parts is httsbaran. I haven’t been posting to it recently. I’ll probably start posting there again when I have samples I want people to read.

      But all writers hit that “I suck” wall from time to time. God knows, I’m constantly stuck there.

      • Dena Jul 6, 2009 @ 12:59

        First drafts as a rule usually suck in parts. I know I’ve hit patches where I think someone will take my keyboard away for writing such garbage. It happens to everyone. The thing to do is work through it. Just keep writing. First drafts can be rewritten and improved through revision, but you can’t improve on nothing. Just tell your internal editor (mine sounds exactly like my mother) to be quiet, and just write. Sometimes I find times writing helps. Set your timer for a small amount of time that you can sit comfortably and write (between 5 to 10 minutes or more if you want) and write anything. Don’t worry about what you’re putting down, just write whatever you want. No one is going to see it, and you can delete if after if you want. This will help you get in the habit of writing without worrying if it’s good or not. I find that some of the stuff I write this way turns out to be really good, but if it’s not there’s always a way to fix it. Hope this helps.

        • Anambika Jul 6, 2009 @ 20:37

          Hi Dena, Thanks, it helps, yes, after all, I can go back and fix it, right? and there’s nobody to read it now, and laugh at it. Some little part of my brain knows it. but, but, what if my entire thing is a whole dump of garbage? beyond salvage? No way, you are writing because, the story is forcing you to write, because you believe in it. and your judgement about your story, however subjective will not be so far away from the mark, for you have the experience of reading hundreds of fiction of all kinds, and know what is good and bad. … Sorry a little carried away with my thoughts. Right Dena, I will go on …

      • Anambika Jul 6, 2009 @ 13:01

        Hi Pencil Neck
        I have created an account in wordpress, it is http://anambika.wordpress.com Plz visit it, and comment on it. I await yours desperately, and Holly’s, and Sandy’s, Sarah’s, and anyone’s and everyone’s. Tell me if I am good or bad.

        • Robin Bowman Jul 6, 2009 @ 14:49

          Anambika,
          I think you are worrying too much if you are good or bad. Just write. Keep writing. Other people may have opinions, but their opinions are not necessarily Truth with a capital T. Just write the best you know how, and make it better, the best you know how and keep on keeping on.

          • Anambika Jul 6, 2009 @ 20:46

            Hi Robby, (if I can call you that),
            Thanks, you are very very right. And you see, I am a sort who doesn’t care what others think or care. But, If I have to be a writer, others have to acknowledge me right? You might call this, as, dreaming of the finishing line and the applauds or boos, actually when you are running. Ya! right, Often this nasty thought of failure would haunt me, but I would clamp on it hard, and would go on, this time though, it bursted out, and made me drop this post. Oh! thanks for responding.

        • Rachelle Jul 8, 2009 @ 4:54

          Hi – I read your work. I think you have talent. Your writing style reminds me of Ken Follet, who is uber-successful, BTW.

          Im taking a writing course where 12 others share their work, one is a published. Your work is better than all of them.

          Try not to have a mental breakdown, everyone thinks they suck at one time or another… 😉 Including me. Today, I worked all day and got 150 words. Everyone else? 1500, 700 in 10 minutes. Me? 150 in 8 hours.

          Soldier on, my friend.

          • Anambika Jul 8, 2009 @ 8:24

            Oh Dear friend Rachelle,

            (Thanks)^n – No words to express my ineffable emotion
            As a writer, I/we do everything with words, but this time though, I would like to express my gratitude to youall, not through mere words, but through my deed – I am writing, writing with a capital W. MMM? 😉 Even then I end up with words, right? Words, words everywhere, but not a —
            Regarding your 150 words, Plz read Holly’s response to my post, just below. 🙂

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:20

      Okay, don’t panic. This crap happens to everyone.

      First, if you want to write, you’re good enough to write. You may not yet be good enough to get professionally published, but you have to write a whole lot of bad words to break through to the good ones.

      Second, you don’t need my crit or anyone else’s to tell you whether you’re good enough. If you want this, you’re good enough. It’s that simple.

      Third, stop pushing yourself so hard. I’ve been watching you fighting for big word counts every day, and I’ve wondered why you were doing that. Unless you have a hard deadline (and by hard deadline, I mean if you don’t finish the story by a certain date, you won’t get paid) you have no reason to write at such a high-pressure pace.

      At this point, all you need to do is ask yourself, What kind of story do I want to read? And then take your time writing that story. The objective should be to make yourself happy creating something that brings you joy—and the process should bring you joy, too. Not make you miserable.

      Hang in.

      Write a few words. Write a few more words. Know that everyone who writes well now started out writing badly. You get past that by writing a lot, by learning as much as you can, and by practicing every day.

      • Anambika Jul 7, 2009 @ 8:06

        Holly, Thanks, I have to enjoy my writing, yes, I will do. I have been enjoying it, but Suddenly I find this monkey wrench thrown into my works. “Am I good enough?” and poooof, I am deflated like a balloon, and that’s when I needed friends, to put an arm over my shoulders and give a pep talk, or even give a shove, and I got you, and Pencil Neck, and Sarah, and Diane, Robby, Sandy and all, Thanks with tears. I feel sorry for those out there without friends like you to support and comfort when they feel low. I am very fortunate to have you: a thousand cheers to You Holly and Our Community 🙂

  • Nancy Jul 6, 2009 @ 10:50

    The only words I wrote this weekend were for the HTTS Pre-plan worksheets on character, conflict and culture. All good stuff — although my clever, light tale gets darker by the minute. Who knew what tortured souls these… well, souls were? [Did I mention my WIP deals with dead people and ancient deities?]

    Someday I AM going to write something fluffy and cute and clever. But apparently it isn’t going to be any day soon.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:14

      I keep telling myself that about the fluffy, cute, and clever. The closest I ever got was Sympathy for the Devil, the tale of a fallen angel tasked with tempting into Hell the woman whose prayer got a public, provable response from God. And I wrote that during the absolute low point of my life… which is why I think it came out a funny as it did.

      The happier I am personally, the darker my fiction seems to get.

  • Mike P. Jul 6, 2009 @ 10:30

    10:22am no writing yet. I haven’t been awake long enough for my mind to get running. My personal goals for today are 750 words and figuring out the ending.

    I’ve been pretty much winging it thus far. It is working, but I have a feeling it might drag out too far. Knowing the ending might help give it a little direction.

    I’ve been applying my lessons from the plot mini clinic and other sources. I have nearly six pages of plot notes, character notes, phrases to use, candy bar scenes and middle ideas. My main character seems to have his own way of doing things though.

  • Cessena Jul 6, 2009 @ 9:50

    I think I did about 1000 words on the train this morning before my hand cramped up. I successfully introduced the guy who wants to “rescue” my heroine from a life she is perfectly happy in. I really wish I had a laptop, I am sure I could have done 2000 words if only I hadn’t had to write them all out. (I feel like my writing suffers when I write by hand too, I tend to write less stuff. Oh well. I can fix it when I type it into my google doc.)

    • Dena Jul 6, 2009 @ 12:51

      I know exactly what you mean. I write on the bus on the way to work, and while it’s good that I’m not wasting that time, I know I’d get a heck of a lot more on a laptop. My output is usually double on the computer and with less time too. I would love to get a laptop, but since I just bought a Mac Mini at the end of last year to replace my dying PC I can’t really justify the outlay for a new laptop. Perhaps next year…sigh…

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:11

      Yeah, that’s what gets me writing longhand, too. Hand cramps. Ouch.

  • Lisa Jul 6, 2009 @ 9:31

    Over 600 words this morning. I’m working on a low goal of 300 a day, so I’m thrilled. Holly, can you do this write-along-with-you thing forever? Normally I only write in November because it’s NaNoWriMo…no matter how much I try the rest of the year, I can’t motivate myself…but all I need is this slight outside pressure from a total stranger to get me to finish a novel that I think I’m going to actually like! 🙂

    Anyway, today my hero, who’s in prison thanks to yesterday’s events, met a ghost, heard an unexpected revelation, and lost his temper. The revelation was unexpected to me, too, but it told me some important backstory and cleared up most of my questions about where the plot is going to go. YES!

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:10

      I’m having a ridiculous amount of fun with this. And I always have some sort of book in progress. So why not? I might be able to keep this going past DTD (Dreaming the Dead).

  • ValMarie Jul 6, 2009 @ 8:44

    762 words. I was actually expecting to start writing this evening, but Lauren Barnholdt started a series of wordblitzes (10 minutes of timed writing) on Twitter, so I decided to jump in.

    And my MC reached her breaking point in a church service and began causing a ruckus. Fun times.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:08

      Oh, dear. A church ruckus. Great potential for great havoc there.

  • Silke Jul 6, 2009 @ 8:12

    I’m at 10396 words at the moment, with a rough gain of 1200 words.
    Not as much as I’d hoped for, but more than the goal I set myself. 🙂
    So whichever way — it worked out nicely.
    Any progress is progress!

    Sent another query out, too, so I’m patting myself on the back for now.

  • Ann Jul 6, 2009 @ 8:03

    425 for yesterday – fabulous because I was pretty sure when I was about ten words in that I was just not going to write. Today (woohoo!) I think that I will have the house to myself for a bit, so that will be my writing time.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Jul 6, 2009 @ 7:53

    I write mondays to fridays 8 till 12 am. Last week I managed a total of slightly under 5000 words and I am exceedingly happy about that. By now I am roughly 12tsd words into the story which means I am half way through the first part (it will be a 3 part story). I it keeps flowing like that I should finish part one some time mid-July … and my agent is eagerly waiting for part of the new story.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:04

      Yay, Cat! I’m so excited for you. That’s fantastic progress.

  • Dena Jul 6, 2009 @ 6:25

    I got 1743 words yesterday, which brings me ever closer to the 20,000 word mark. It’s back to the day job today, so I’ll be taking a pen and note pad with me and squeezing words out during the bus ride to and from, during my breaks and during lunch. My daughter will be staying over at my mother’s during the week, so I’ll try to put in some writing time tonight. I’m working on revisions of a book I finished some time ago, so that may be tonight’s project depending on how happy I am with the words I get today.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:03

      Have fun with the notebook. The sort of material I get writing longhand is significantly different from what I get typing. Have you noticed that, or is it just me?

  • Sari Jul 6, 2009 @ 5:41

    Have written but haven’t lengthened my story so not counting words tonight. Focusing on plot right now. As much as winging it seems to be working for me at the moment it would be quite nice to figure out where my story could end up. I’d quite like to figure out some twisty turny bits too and there are some little gems I wrote earlier on that could prove interesting later in the story so I want to expand on those before I forget about them!!

    And the cat keeps deciding that the laptop keypad is a great place to curl up so that keeps hindering progress…

    • Debora Jul 6, 2009 @ 6:51

      One of my cats likes to do that, too. I think he likes the warmth. He’s a grand old man of about eighty years, and with the sweetest temperament imaginable. So I do my best to accommodate him. He’s a welcome distraction!

    • The Pencil Neck Jul 6, 2009 @ 11:57

      I use a wireless keyboard that I just set in my lap. My boy cat (Baldur) likes to get in my lap and curl up when I’m working. He likes to push my keyboard out of the way with his back feet. I frequently move the keyboard out of his way and then contort my body to be able to reach it.

      He knows who’s boss.

      He’s laying at my feet right now.

  • Minze Jul 6, 2009 @ 5:28

    592 words in 15 minutes. Usually I write for ten. I got my heroine into the ruins, and she’s noticed two things that are very suspicious, even though she doesn’t fully realize this yet.

  • Gerhi Janse van Vuuren Jul 6, 2009 @ 4:00

    347 words this morning

    I am working through lesson 5 of HtTS and is blown away by the dot and line concepts. I used it this morning to do some sketchy planning and had enough to start the next scene. This is working well so far.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:01

      Yay! I’m so glad it’s working for you.

      And I love the Dot and Line. They help me clear out so much deadwood and focus on what really matters.

  • megan Jul 6, 2009 @ 2:48

    God ijust love reading everyone’s comments, there is alwayas one little gem tot take a way and enjoy how it helps with whatever I am doing, with my zero word count. Oh well tongight is another night for me..

  • The Pencil Neck Jul 6, 2009 @ 2:37

    1589 words.

    I’m going back through the HtTS process on this one. I went through the Character Conflict questions with my main character. Very interesting stuff there. Started on re-plotting the story, although I haven’t gotten all my conflicts worked out, yet. Just general outline stuff. A lot of my culture stuff has been thrown out the window and I rewrote some of that.

    Also set up dossier’s on several of my secondary characters going through the character setup questions (dot/line) and my Villain character almost became my main character.

    I really, really toyed with the idea. The villain is one of the characters who’s the most driven and is forcing the action. At the beginning of the story, my main character is getting tossed around a bit until he gets his bearings. I sat down and started thinking about the relationships between several characters and if I take my villain and pair him up romantically with my main character’s mentor (which is a lot more complicated than it sounds), it could make for a very heartbreaking love story.

    But then I thought maybe part of my main character’s story is his growth in going from being a victim to being in control and in charge of his life. And his relationship with the love of his life is bad enough as it is.

    All in all, I’m really pleased with today’s progress. The world is feeling much more real and the story much more plausible.

    • Anambika Jul 6, 2009 @ 11:06

      hmm! I can see how it had been for you, by the very length of your post. here though, it’s pathetic. read my post below, and you will feel for me. I need some one to read at least of my stuff to tell me where I stand. Have you ever felt like that. I am not able to go further.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:00

      Sounds like you’re asking yourself some wonderful questions. Congratulations.

  • Scarlett Jul 6, 2009 @ 2:23

    1,104 words this morning and it’s only 7.20! Children off on a school trip at 6am so thought I might as well just crack on with it so can do some background reading later on today when I’m tired

  • Melissa PLC Jul 6, 2009 @ 1:36

    I’ll admit, I’ve been too busy and warn out from family stuff lately to write much at all. That’ll calm down a lot after tomorrow, thankfully.

    As for Tori…I’ve not seen or heard anything from her either. I do hope everything’s going better with her and her husband….

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 0:58

      Yeah, me too. I asked her to e-mail me, but haven’t heard anything from her.

  • tamlyn Jul 6, 2009 @ 1:33

    Couldn’t sleep, so wrote 700-ish words before 7 am. Think I might finish the first draft today. Thanks to the HttS tips, I think editing this book will be a breeze!

  • Michael Jul 6, 2009 @ 1:29

    Zero words. I could tell when I woke up this morning that I’d be taking the day off. Now – the story is sitting there, bubbling away and I *did* spend time at several points during the day pondering and plotting on the upcoming stuff – partly looking at previously-written material about the characters that, while fun and interesting, wasn’t a *story* and partly looking ahead at new material.

    Kinda like hitting the clutch as ya crest the hill and head into a dip…

    And I don’t feel bad about not writing today.

  • Ieva Jul 6, 2009 @ 1:01

    700+ words, despite my resolution to slack away.

    My love interest surprised me by walking away and locking my heroine in a prison cell. Sure, comfy and fitted for her, but *hey*. She deserved an explanation, didn’t she? (Well, then again, she’s been such a pain, I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt like getting back at her.)

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 0:57

      Well, that’s going to be an awkward point in their relationship in years to come. 😀

  • KQ Jul 6, 2009 @ 0:50

    1914 for the whole weekend. I never seem to be able to get anything done on the weekend. However, I finished a scene and had the joy of being able to save it in a new folder-part 3! This is the last part I have, so I’m excited. However, I still have a lot of work to do.

  • Julia GD Jul 6, 2009 @ 0:47

    Good day today. 3500 total (and about 2100 from it directly on the novel, the rest are notes, characterization remarks etc.) and I still have a couple of hours before sleep.
    I wonder who your Aleksa is? My main protagonist’s name is Alexa. Poor girl, she was named after a bright fluorescent dye (it’s a long story).
    Anyway, back to writing!

  • Clare K. R. Miller Jul 5, 2009 @ 23:43

    613 words today. More than I expected!

  • Sarah Collins Jul 5, 2009 @ 23:20

    A net gain of 259 words for me today. I started chapter 14 and did a double take when I realized I’m a whopping 155 pages in on my word doc (12 pt courier new). That’s amazing! Ya’ll will have to excuse the wonder of a first-timer, LOL, but wow – what an incredible journey! That’s a total of 31,109 words for “Jack” (not the real name) but only half of my goal of 500 words a day. Nevertheless, I’m THRILLED!

    • Holly Lisle Jul 7, 2009 @ 0:55

      That’s fantastic. Congrats. And I’ll just let you know that particular feeling does not get old, even 30+ books later.

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