DTD—Night off with the AFK

I took last night off. No words. The Air Force Kid is home on leave before going back to the desert for another 6 months, and we sat up and talked and played video games and just hung out together until about 3:30 AM.

If you’re playing “Write a book with me,” here are a few options for the occasional scheduled nights when I don’t write:

  • Write whatever you’ve chosen as your minimum word count.
  • Use the night for planning upcoming scenes (write out index cards, look over what you’ve already written and take note of where you left various characters you don’t want to forget, or whatever you do to plan what comes next)
  • Research some topic you’re going to need in your book, and take notes for JUST the scene where you’ll need it.
  • Go to a movie, read a book, or study something else creative that folks have done, and ask yourself “How well did the creator do this, and why do I think that?”
  • Take the night off, too.

Today is the AFK’s last night at home, but since he has to drive tomorrow, I’m guessing it’ll be an early night…and if it is, I’ll write. If not, I’ll post tomorrow so you’ll have a place to check in with what you did.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

44 comments… add one
  • Mary Becnel Jul 6, 2009 @ 10:15

    Started writing. I am finishing my scene for my wiriter’s group. I have the first draft finished. I am polishing a scene for tonight.
    I can write 250 a night. I can. I can.

    Know you enjoyed your time with your son. He’ll be fine with a Mom like you to cheer him on. I have one returning from a three year Paris job. I now have a son-in-law, grandson, and very creative daughter living with me.

    I NEED this group to keep me focused. This was a gift from my Writing Angel.

  • Bren Jul 2, 2009 @ 15:53

    so glad you got quality time in with your kid. You must be so proud of him. Please thank him and your whole family for me.

  • jenni765 Jul 1, 2009 @ 2:11

    This is a fantastic idea. I plan to start Monday as I want to try the 5K 48 hour July marathon on Friday and Saturday.

    I also over planned my first try at writing a book and lost the joy in writing it. This WABWM is just what I need to get me back into it.

    Thank you Holly.

  • Emily Schafer Jul 1, 2009 @ 0:05

    Okay, I wrote 575 words before midnight, which takes me to 5,704 words for the story. Let’s see how much more I can get before I fall asleep…

  • Beckie Jul 1, 2009 @ 0:03

    I got 340 words on Galactic Game. WC 15564/GG

  • Clare K. R. Miller Jun 30, 2009 @ 23:28

    Wow, I followed the rules without even knowing it! Yesterday I did some free-writing to help myself figure out some background on my villains. It helped a lot. I didn’t pay attention to how many words that was, but it was definitely more than 250. I also added a few words to the actual novel.

    This is a great kick in the butt for me (I can’t say kick in the pants, I only wear skirts) since I tend to focus on one project that has deadlines to the detriment of the other projects; I’ve been working on this novel for months but haven’t gotten very far since it’s so inconsistent. Hopefully with this to inspire me I’ll be more consistent.

  • dorkchops Jun 30, 2009 @ 23:13

    I put two documents together like they should be and was surprised how much I actually have total. I’m also trying hard not to go back and edit there will be plenty of time for that later because I keep wanting to delete chunks at a time and if I do that I’m just going to be back at square one and I want this thing out of my head NOW!
    Also is it strange to have a title for the thing long before you even get into the meat of the story?

    Word count for today: 367
    Total: 2,137

  • Ash McB. Jun 30, 2009 @ 22:58

    I’m still doing the outline of my novel, but I think I’ll still pop in every once in a while to post my progress. I’m a first time novelist and I really think that doing this with others will help as I have a really hard time finishing anything. I would love to make a career out of writing but first I need to actually learn how to finish a project this big.
    I’m guessing that my novel’s first draft is going to be about 100K, the second about 115-125K.
    I manage about 1,000 words a day on my outline (which will be really long since I’m using a phase outline system from the Two Year Novel course) and I’m about halfway through it.
    Wish me luck! 😀

    ~ Ash

  • Rabia Jun 30, 2009 @ 22:26

    Oh, I’d love to plod along with you, but I really ought to do a type-in and work on some short stories this month. How long do you think you’ll be working on DTD? Can I come back and join in a couple of months?

  • Tamara Jun 30, 2009 @ 21:38

    Best wishes for a safe and productive script building deployment to your son. Of the two, I hope more for his safety, health, and a lasting return state side. May his 6 months go by quickly and, as much as possible, uneventfully.

  • Staci Myers Jun 30, 2009 @ 21:30

    250 words on White Knight, bringing the word count up to 11,079

  • Kathy Jun 30, 2009 @ 20:54

    Read your newsletter. This is great. I started my novel a couple of months ago, but haven’t done anything in the last three weeks.

    This is a great motivation and easily achievable.



  • Don Jun 30, 2009 @ 20:48

    Tell AFK good luck as a former AFK myself during a much quieter time, I found it good to go with the flow, don’t make waves, help out your squadron mates, keep a good attitude and things will be fine. Today I started with 3,941 arrived at 4611. This is great for us who are have trouble getting off the dime I believe just write it and rewrite it later just get the sucker down.

  • Lea Jun 30, 2009 @ 20:33

    Hey Holly.
    Family is important so I hope you are having a good time.
    Today- 1059 wrds for A LIFE ONCE LOST, book 2 in my ENDLESS SECRECY series.
    0 wrds for JUNE, but that book be damned if it lets me sleep without forcing me into at least 500 words, we shall see.

  • Ann Jun 30, 2009 @ 20:21

    Holly, thank you, thank you!!! Just over 700 words last night as a start on my 2nd novel – this is exactly what I needed to get me going. Best wishes to AFK & you as well – so hard to send them back.

  • stari Jun 30, 2009 @ 20:07

    all Of the above is like an adrenalin rush! Looking fwd to tonight to get stuck in. Have been taking myself to the local library to work, to get away form the housework and the spider solitare. go all of Us!! Now to decide, as others have sid, which WIP to attack, or play with. or sing with.

  • Red_dot Jun 30, 2009 @ 19:22

    Ok, I get it. Wait for you to post then I comment. I posted today’s results on yesterday’s post. When in the “Write a Book With Me” tab your latest post doesn’t show. You have to go to the main page. posting comment again. I write in the morning. Research and read at night. Reading your first novel right now.

    1900 words today. I have poured myself into today. Crying and laughing, under the influence of Lamisil, which is killing me slowly. I just wrote how my main character finds what he is suppose to do. I am having a hard time with putting in an Antagonist. I think I am falling in love with my main character’s wife, please god make me find some other antagonist, I am done for today. Is there something wrong with me?

  • JAPartridge Jun 30, 2009 @ 19:01

    I’ve been following along on the RSS feeds, but this actually got me to stop lurking in the shadows and post. This non-NaNoWriMo sounds like such fun I have to play along!

    I’m doing a military SF version of the Anabasis by Xenophon for this years NaNoWriMo, but since I’m planning on around 100k I thought I’d do my own personal nano for the first half. The time for this is almost perfect–except I’m going to be spending the next two days college shopping with my son, but as soon as I stop traveling, count me in!

  • JWRR Jun 30, 2009 @ 18:51

    i have just started a new novel and am at 714 words and starting tomorrow i will be joining WABWM cause I really need something to be doing in my 10 weeks off so am going to be aiming to be doing a minimum 400 word count during that time and then down to the 250 afterwards.

  • Kim Jun 30, 2009 @ 18:36

    I’m going to spend the rest of this week and a glorious, commitment free weekend (aren’t those the most beautiful words ever?) getting some bare bones plans in place, and then Monday the writing will commence. Thanks for this, Holly! It feels like just the thing to get me away poking along with planning and into actually writing again.

  • Emily Jun 30, 2009 @ 18:19

    Word count for today: 2,109
    I’m making up for major deletage yesterday. It hurt, but it was worth it.

  • Tori Jun 30, 2009 @ 18:15

    No words. Still in planning stages of my novel.

  • Emily Jun 30, 2009 @ 18:06

    Words today: 2,109
    Trying to catch up from major deletage yesterday. It was painful, but worth it.


  • CarrieD Jun 30, 2009 @ 17:53

    Okay, count me in! Give me one night to get my act together, figure out which one of my WIPs to work on, and then tomorrow the slow but steady pace will begin.

  • Rebecca H Jun 30, 2009 @ 17:49

    I’ve already started my novel. Is it okay if I still do it? I hope so. This is actually a rewrite, since the first draft was more than hopeless. I’ve been writing about 4000 words a day, and I hope to keep it up.

  • Tina Jun 30, 2009 @ 17:18

    Just joining WABWM today. I am at 25,389 words on a women’s fiction novel (my second) and have been in a non-writing rut. I am excited to get going but not set crazy-huge goals for myself.

  • Deb Jun 30, 2009 @ 16:21

    This sounds like a great idea! I’ll definitely do it!

  • Todd Bush Jun 30, 2009 @ 15:43

    Ok, I’ve got 2079 words today on my book. Thanks for the motivation, Holly.

  • Emily Schafer Jun 30, 2009 @ 15:10

    Just got your newsletter, and I’m counting myself in. My word count lately has been between 100 and 3,000 words per day, depending on which day you’re talking about. I do need to keep a consistent goal, though, so I expect my word count to be somewhere between 250 and 1,000 words per day (250 for “lazy days” and 1,000 for those omg-I-can’t-stop-writing days). A little less variable, but it’ll do. 🙂

  • Aoi Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:54

    Starting tonight!

  • Melissa PLC Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:52

    I wish the AFK well, and hope he’ll be back home safe with you before you know it.

    I think I’m going to try this Write A Book With Me thing. I’ve tried to write many times before, but I’ve always lost steam. Here’s to hoping, for me, for you, and for everyone else trying as well!

  • John Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:49

    I’m definitely going to start this, but probably tomorrow; it’s too late at the moment!

    I’ve started writing a bit already, but it’s kind of a spur of the moment thing; I have no idea what the plot is yet, I’m just going to write whatever pops into my head! 🙂 Last time I tried to start a novel I planned it far too much and just lost any excitement for the story, so I think for my first novel it should just be more relaxed.

    Thank you Holly! This is hopefully going to be the motivation I need to actually finish a novel! 🙂

  • Shawn Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:33

    Gonna give this a shot. Since I have too many projects going on I’m going to focus on the 250×5 on my main novel project.


  • Michael Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:24

    I read the “WABWM” email off to my wife, then read off the “rules” page. She gave me a swift kick in the rump and said, “You should do that.” So I reckon I’m in.

    Most of what I write is fan-fiction, Star Wars most specifically. But I figure I can go back after I finish the story and rework it into a non-licensed universe.

    Or not – and just have my very own wonderful story in my favorite universe. So yeah – I wanted an excuse to keep plodding my way along with these characters and so here’s my excuse. I’m in.

  • Karen van Wyk Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:23

    Ah Holly, your email about writing a book with you came at the perfect time for me. I flew through my first novel but I’m struggling like crazy with my second.

    Only last night I laid down the law and challenged myself to write 10 000 words by the end of next week.

    Well, today’s woeful word count of 165 proved that to be somewhat unrealistic at the moment so I’ve decided to plod along with you instead.

    Thanks for the inspiration and the motivation to keep going.

  • Sal Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:20

    Read your newsletter and I think Write a Book With Me is a grand idea. I’ll be writing just for fun, 250 words a time, a paranormal story set on the Scottish Borders in the 16th century. It’s been planned for a few years, I just never got round to doing anything with it.

    Smooth flights with no air pockets to your AFK.

  • Gerhi Janse van Vuuren Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:10

    Good news. I’m still working on the book idea.

  • Todd Bush Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:01

    Starting today, Holly. But my book is gonna be non-fiction about life as a new husband and dad. Should be fun!

  • The Pencil Neck Jun 30, 2009 @ 14:01

    The past couple of days, I’ve been moving my stuff from one computer to another. (Work changed laptops on me.) At the same time, I discovered that Liquid Story Binder is pretty cool and I’ve been moving my latest work from yWriter to LSB.

    Last night, I wrote 855 words.

    I’m about 3 scenes away from finishing my first short story that I’m using as a learning experience, a quick and easy way to go through the entire process of writing a story. This short story is also a way to learn more about one of my characters in another book that I’m working on. I had planned on about 7500 words for this story and I’m sitting at about 6600 right now.

  • Anambika Jun 30, 2009 @ 12:15

    Hi Holly 😉

    No of words written by the Pacing Rabbit = 000
    No of words written by the Boasting Rabbit = 300 + [revision of 4600 words]
    hee Hee Hee

    Of course your Kid should come first – [An Indian son of an Indian Mom says] …
    Don’t worry, You could Catch me later

    • Holly Lisle Jun 30, 2009 @ 12:41

      Catching you would be utterly counter to the point. I’ve written and sold novels in incredibly compressed time spans… because I was under the gun to get paid so we’d have money to eat and pay bills.

      I’m not doing that this time. I have no inclination whatsoever to push myself into another 3000 word-per-day writing frenzy. I can do it. Have done it. Don’t need to prove I can do it again.

      I’m doing something different this time.

      • Anambika Jun 30, 2009 @ 13:11

        Sorry ma’am, You are absolutely right, You don’t need to … you have already … think of my post as – let’s say – a little kid with his toy gun, shooting his father, Army General, and boasting, “eh! Daddy, I shot you, can you shoot me back if you can?”

        Only problem is that you might find it very difficult to think of me as a little boy (171cm, 160lb) 🙂

        PS – Oh! No! Writing is not a game to me, but I enjoy doing it. I only wanted to add some spice to the ‘writing-a-book’ post.

  • stephanie Jun 30, 2009 @ 10:02

    Tell the Air Force Kid to have a safe, Fun-as-he can trip. Coming from personal experience, those trips are what he makes of them.

    If he is like you….I bet they are great opportunities!


    • Holly Lisle Jun 30, 2009 @ 12:46

      I told him. He said thanks. And he’s getting great movie ideas from having been there. I’m sure this time around will give him additional background and stories.

      The real stories though from last time, though…[shudder]. I’ll spend the next six months worrying.

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