The Wishbone Conspiracy: 2027 words, and a Change in the 3-Novels Experiment

Got pretty decent words today on The Wishbone Conspiracy. 2027 new words, taking me to a total of 23,873 words in the novel.

I mostly like what I got, though I had a bit of a hard start.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

The “Write on three different novels each week” experiment worked very well. Until it didn’t.

I was writing first draft of Dead Man’s Party on Mondays, first draft of Moon & Sun: The Emerald Sun on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and first draft of Cadence Drake: The Wishbone Conspiracy on Thursdays and Fridays.

Getting 1515 words or better on Mondays, about 1500 words on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 2000-ish words on Thursdays and Fridays.


It required a big mental shift, and rolling through three very different projects back to back to back started taking a toll on me.

I kept going… but then I started research in improving the marketing I’ve done — or in many cases haven’t done — on my work, and current methods of increasing Amazon sales, and experimenting with copywriting and cover design and split testing and…

Along with writing the three novels, and writing a new lesson every week in my new How to Write a Novel class, and answering student questions, and working with Dan on getting the final pieces of the website out of beta, plus spending time with my family…

Well, the fiction broke down just a little. And I hit what I have come to recognize as the “trying to do too much at once” wall.

Dead Man’s Party has to stay. It’s my demonstration novel for How to Write a Novel.

My writing on The Wishbone Conspiracy is still running smoothly. 

But the writing on The Emerald Sun hit a wall.  

This is a book I need to be able to throw myself into exclusively: to NOT be writing other fiction at the same time. It has a specific voice and some specific worldbuilding and a place it’s going that is very different from other things I write. It has a deep world that I have not been writing in recently, characters who have become strangers to me, and both Tuesday and yesterday, my mind simply balked. Refused to work on Emerald Sun.

Was real damn happy to offer up copywriting, cover design, threw ideas at me for both The Wishbone Conspiracy and Dead Man’s Party

But it dug in its heels on what was supposed to have been the work of the day.

Had all my fiction crashed on me, I would be taking a different approach than the one I’m taking starting today, but two of three books — the one with NO previous worldbuilding, and the one with a ton of worldbuilding, but in which I’ve been writing regularly for the last eight or so years — are still fine.

So now I enter Phase Two of the experiment.

This is pretty simple. Monday will still be Dead Man’s Party, and still 1515 words or thereabouts each week, followed by working on HTWAN, answering questions in the forum, doing the help desk tickets that require me, working with my moderators, working with Dan on the site, answering emails, and other daily task.

With Dead Man’s Party, I have to have this amount, and JUST this amount, for my class and to make sure I’m applying the material from the various lessons as I write. So I can’t just write ahead and be done with this particular novel. Each chapter has to be written along with each lesson.

Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I’m going to be shooting for 2000 words per day on The Wishbone Conspiracy.

That will give me six-thousand first-draft words on that book each week.

I currently have 23,873 words total, and with a 90,000-word target for completion of the first draft, need another 66,000 words (rounded) to hit my target.

So some book math. At 6000 words per week, I’ll have the first draft finished in about eleven weeks. Figure I’ll have it done around May 17th.

This is nobody’s fastest pace on a novel ever, and if it were the only thing I was doing, I could get it done a lot faster. But it isn’t, and what I’m looking for at this point is…


A system that I can put into action and stick with, that will allow me to maintain my nonfiction work while creating regular publishable new fiction.


Those of you who didn’t get sidetracked by the book math are going, “WAIT A MINUTE!!! What about Tuesday?”

Very good.

Tuesday, my first two to three hours will be focused on marketing my current backlist and learning how to do a better job of launching my front list.

It will also give me a clean break between Fiction Project One and Fiction Project Two.

And it will carry me to the completion of Fiction Project One AND Fiction Project Two at about the point where I also have the class How to Write a Novel completed in the Splinters version.

At that point, I’ll have two finished novels in need of revision, editing, covers, marketing, bug hunting, launching, and publication.

And at that point, I’ll figure out what happens next. I’ll probably dive all the way into The Emerald Sun at that point.

And look at possible new writing classes or workshops I could create.

But as always…

This plan is subject to revision as I experiment and figure out new definitions for what I want to accomplish, and new ways to accomplish my objectives.

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10 responses to “The Wishbone Conspiracy: 2027 words, and a Change in the 3-Novels Experiment”

  1. emmiD Avatar

    You’re smart to figure this out! Good luck with the new schedule.

  2. Bill Schjelderup Avatar
    Bill Schjelderup

    Holly, I’m glad to see you working on Marketing. I had never heard of you before I got a promotion on the Longview box set. Because it sounded “interesting and different” I Purchased it. I happened to be going on vacation shortly after and thought, hey I’ll start that new book, and if it’s no good I have lots of others on my kindle. I loved it. I then purchased and read your other two books in this universe. I’ve suggested your books to others.

    I subscribed to your messages and read you web site from time to time When you release new books, I’ll buy them with confidence. Several of my daughters write fiction for fun (not published) so I suggested they follow you too.

    Thanks for the interesting, exciting, and thoughtful stories.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much for letting me know how you found me, for liking my work — and for recommending me to other readers.

      I’m deeply grateful.

  3. Diane Berry Avatar
    Diane Berry

    I’m so glad you’re keeping on with Dead Man’s Party. I’m in your novel writing class, and I’m loving that story, as well as learning an incredible amount from your process.

  4. Elaine Milner Avatar
    Elaine Milner

    I’m looking forward to the Emerald Sun, but the middle of May is not very far off. You’ll be able to go faster then with better results.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Definitely. And giving the novel my undivided attention will help it AND me. 😀

  5. Justin Avatar

    While I’m sad Emerald Sun is being temporarily delayed until the completion of the other projects, I’m glad it will have undivided fiction attention so you can create the best possible ending for that series. 🙂

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar

      I understand.

      It was a joy to write right up until my brain just locked up on the story.

      It needs my undivided attention. It can’t get that amidst the current three-ring circus.

      So I’m going to give it the love it deserves.

  6. dragon Avatar

    Sounds like you have a plan. Looking forward to trailing along to see how well it works out. Off topic: thanks for being a bright light in my world.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Awww. Thank you so much. I’m glad I can bring good stuff to your life.

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