I limped across the line. I needed 330 words to get to my target, and I’ve just rambled out about 375. Good enough, but it won’t be good enough next month.
This has been an interesting experiment and mostly a successful one. The basic goals I set for myself were to keep my writing streak going at a pace of at least 500 words per day, to continue Serpentine Precipice (in the mathematical expectation that I would not complete it, as I’m projecting it will be much more than 15,000 words), to write a short story to a specific themed anthology submission call, to rewrite School Hall and my Nullabor breakdown stories, and to blog about my progress every day.
How did I go?
- Writing streak – tick. I continued the writing streak that started before November, writing new first draft fiction every single day. Yay!
- 500 word a day pace – tick. 30 days times 500 word minimum equals 15,000 words. As of the writing sprint that I just completed, I have 15,040 words in the bank. Target adequately met.
- Serpentine Precipice – By the time I suspended work on it a week ago, SP was a bit over 11,000 words, constituting most of what I’ve written this month, though i started it before November kicked off.
- Short story submission – I wrote Third Violin from scratch (about 5000 words), revised it at least four times and sent it off with a hopeful expression on its face this morning.
- School Hall – Didn’t touch it. Didn’t even think about it.
- Nullabor breakdown – Likewise, only more so.
- Blogging – I didn’t get a blog entry in every day, but I didn’t miss too many days. I’m happy with that.
Serpentine Precipice was shaping up to have a compelling protagonist and an interesting setting, but the plot was rambling and too many characters were wandering on and off-stage without any great consequence. I could see the writing on the wall well before I pulled the plug on that one: it needs to be plotted. I was spending too much of my time colouring in the pretty little bits of world-building and not enough time on establishing what things were happening and why a reader should care about them. I am pretty excited to write it because I don’t let myself play in action-adventure fantasy nearly enough, but the cost of that is that I need a clear picture of where the story is going so that I don’t bog the pace down in unnecessary detail. That is harder for me than it ought to be, which is why I think writing an unsellable novella about a mute half-demon bastard son of a merchant empire is a worthwhile exercise.
I am drafting an outline that drags the focus back down to a manageable level while still leaving room for alley-stabbing fun and cutlass battles aboard burning ships.
School Hall – The first draft was a few good characters in search of a straightforward story. It needs a page-one rewrite. Like SP, it became bloated with probably-unnecessary world detail, but on my previous attempt to edit it I could not for the life of me work out what made it suck. It will benefit from being replotted as well, but so far when I have thought about it at all I haven’t been able to figure out what that plot would look like. Once I know what it’s about, I’ll probably come up with a name for it as well.
Untitled Nullabor breakdown story – I hate abandoning stories but I think this one will end up in the archives. Like School Hall, I can’t quite get it to come together. unlike School Hall, I’m not sure that there’s a strong enough idea to make completing it a worthwhile pursuit.
Blogging – The blogging has been a bit hit and miss. On the one hand, there were definitely days during the month when it served its purpose of keeping me honest. Days when I would not let myself go to bed until I hit my word count and then recorded the result. On the other hand, there was a few days (like today) when I wrote the bare satisfactory minimum before switching over to the blog. On those days, I clearly cost myself some fiction progress just so that I could boast in public about my fiction progress. That’s not so good. In December, as I keep the streak going, I think I will cut back to weekly progress checks in the blog.
The streak – My best streak is 95 days; my current one is 32. I’ll keep going in December, and I’ll try upping the ante to see if I can build my momentum instead of letting myself coast. 600 words a day across 31 days is 18,600, which will be a fine target. I will be starting a new job during the month, I’ll have Xmas and Boxing Day in there, and I’ll be travelling in the last week of the year – so I’m definitely going to have to front-load the bulk of the work into the first week or two.
Go go go.