Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Status -- September 30, 2009

Going well. 40 of 57 chapters are proofread, tuned up and formatted for printing (that’s 70% for you math majors). This has gone relatively fast as much of the novel has been in better shape than I thought, and for me at least the story is quite engaging (which sometimes makes proofreading difficult). Fixed many inconsistencies along the way, and locked down some key plot and character points. So it has been good.

At least it had been. This week I hit chapter 41 and found 1) an important scene skipped, and 2) major inconsistencies with some earlier chapters. So I’ve had to stop and rewrite this section. Slows me down, but it’s making the book stronger.

I have also decided it needs an antagonist-conspiracy draft just looking at interactions with the antagonist and how both her character and her scheme are revealed. A few things are given away too early, and a few things that make her motivations believable don’t come out until the very end. I figure these two problems are going to cost me a week.

So here are the current stats:

Days Writing ZPF: 399
Hours Writing ZPF: 812

Novel word counts:
- Rough Draft 0 words
- 1st Draft 6506 words
- 2nd Draft 100,690 words

Total Words: 107,196 words

What this means: In this rev I have cut 8,000 words, much if it at the sentence level just by finding better words and removing fluff. The remaining 1st draft portion is the last section which still needs a final chapter.

My original estimate was 70K words and about 6 months of effort. I guess what this tells us is that my estimating procedure needs a bit of work.

Anyway, the goal is in sight. I expect to have 1st reader copies made in October (likely late October). With their feedback, there will probably be another draft in January / February timeframe.

The next big question -- do I start some marketing (agent / publisher contacts) in parallel with the first readers? Or do I want until next year? More on that later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Status -- September 21, 2009

Because it has been a while:

Through 2nd Draft. Yay. The ending is still broken. The plot ends in a satisfying way, but I have not decided on the most satisfying denouement for the primary characters. They both need a little more to wrap up their emotional arcs. The second draft finished up at 57 chapters, and 114K words. Note the symmetry there.

Started a front to back proof-read. This is mostly for consistency, clarity and grammar. Are they wearing the same shoes as they were earlier? Does a comma really go there? That kind of stuff. In this pass, I am also trying to cut fluff, exposition and ‘pause’ words to get the total length to about 100K words, but it is not compressing at the rate I had hoped.

Have a few places where I did major surgery and need to do a more careful edit (maybe 50 pages total).

Then I will pick an ending, probably drafting 1 or 2 new chapters (I will need at least 2 scenes for the denouement).

After that, I plan to produce 1st reader copies through Lulu or Create Space. Still working out which is most economical, will look best, and will be easiest to use. My current analysis is pointing to Create Space, but there are some features I have not played with, and the final page count is a variable that swings the cost quite a bit.

The .pdf formatting (layout for the reader copies) and final edits are done through Chapter 12. Expect to get draft out to readers in October. Probably late October. Thinking about a round of Agent queries at the same time, but I have not fully thought that through.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vital Statistics

Since I have not updated these in a while, here are the counts:

Days Writing: 374
Hours Writing: 745.6

Novel word counts:
- Rough Draft 0 words
- 1st Draft 12,760 words
- 2nd Draft 102,259 words

Total: 115019 words

Support files, including outline, dictionary, brainstorming and cut material: 150957 words.
(the amount of supporting material stuns me).

Thursday, September 3, 2009


My story “Doofus” is out in the September issue of Flash Fiction Online. Cute story. Read. Enjoy. Leave a comment. Tell your friends. Only then will the world will return to balance, and if you don't, everyone will think you're a doofus.

Flash Fiction Online is a great magazine, offering several short, entertaining, often thoughtful stories each month. It is, in my unbiased opinion, the best flash fiction magazine out there. You can read it online, and you can subscribe for free though your RSS feed. Did I mention they pay pro rates?

In addition to my tale, there are three other wonderful stories in this issue:
  • Ray Vukcevich’s story “Suddenly Speaking,” one of the most surreal stories I have read in a while, fun too.
  • Patrick Lundrigan’s story “How High The Moon,” a logical conundrum wrapped in a robot story.
  • Classic flash from Punch magazine’s March 1919 issue,
  • And some interesting columns to boot.

Have a look, have a laugh, leave a comment, leave a tip (keeps the magazine going and I get a cut ;), and most important of all, tell your friends!

PS -- For those interested in history, this story emerged from a Writer’s Bloc writing prompt. The prompt was "...the knot came undone..." and “Doofus” was the tale I finally wrote after considering stories about a climbing accident, the Tower of Babel, and an incident involving a Hamas militant.

PPS -- look for Scott Lininger’s Love Bound in the back issues. It’s a haunting and memorable ghost story that also emerged from Writer’s Bloc.

Status -- September 3rd, 2009

Wow. A whole month slipped by. Actually August was fantastic. Completed two months of work. Just didn’t finish. Still, the end of the race is just around the corner. Two weeks, maybe a month?

August saw deep edits to sections 2-7, catching most of the 2nd draft plot and character upgrades. What’s left: tie up the ‘shot’ subplot, minor edits in section 1, start to finish proofread, then print reviewer copies.

Getting excited, eager to reach that finish line.