Nearly winning

18, September,2013

Well I have had a productive period.

Setting a daily/weekly word limit worked and I have knocked out about 3,000 words a month.  It seems it’s better for me to have a low limit I can easily beat as opposed to an aspirational target which I can only reach occasionally. 

I stopped at 50,000.  I have the story basically complete including the ending, but because i write in very short bursts there are a lot of small gaps and a couple of clunky parts.  I have also concentrated on the story and dialog, and left out most of the descriptions.  I figure that fixing all that will bring me up to the 60,000 words. 

So at present I am doing a general plot review.  I’m using a hard copy so I can flick back and forward.  It seems to be working and I may be done by December.  It’s will be an odd length so I don’t think I’ll submit it anywhere, but I may put it up on  My sons are quite keen to get experience audio production so this could be a project we can all work on.




18, March,2013

Well it’s been 2 years of boom and bust (but more bust).

I’m up to 36,000 words.  I’ve checked my daily progress on yWriter and this time last year I had 18,000.  At this rate I’m looking at another 3 years to a first draft of 90,000.

The PC slate is working well on the train, but to get the best from yWriter I find I need to be on my desktop.  I need to have 2 monitors so I can bounce from the chapter I’m writing to my notes and to other scenes.

Here’s a bit of a break down of my output.

  • 20,00 to 25,000 took about 2 months.
  • 25 to 30,000 took nearly 6 months.
  • 30 to 35,000 took a month  and half
  • My biggest day was 1300 words, but the next biggest was 600 words.
  • My daily range when (when I actually start) is 100 to 250 – this is mainly on the train to and from work.

Given this will most likely be another ‘trunk’ novel I’m thinking I might lower my target to 60,000.   I need to go through the process of polishing and completing an entire project.  I don’t want to get into the same cycle of endlessly scratching for more words and fiddling about.  I know 60,000 is in writing no-man’s land, too long to be a novella and too short to be a novel, but I think that might be how long the story is.

If I’m happy with it, and I get good feedback, I might dump it in the seething epub ocean so friends and family can access it.  If I’m really happy with it I might do the Podiobook thing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I’m going to try for a minimum of 150 words a day for at least 5 days of the week, that potentially gives me 3000 words a month and potentially gets me to 60,000 words by November/December.

So let’s be realistically optimistic and aim for a first draft by the end of January.

I’m still at it.

I have abandoned the iPad (for writing).  I picked up a Samsung Series 7 Slate.  Core i5 runing Windows 7.  The interface isn’t as slick as the iPad but I don’t have to fiddle around with a cobbled collection of apps that don’t work as well as one application on a PC.

I can now use Y writer on the train and at home.   I have all the Ywriter files in Dropbox and it’s working well.

I have slowly crept up to 30,000 words and I’m thinking I might aim at making the story a novella rather than hunt around for extra sub plots.  I suspect when I get the main arc done and start revisions they will make themselves known.

A solution of sorts

19, November,2011

I have come to a compromise.

I finished my outline and created notional chapter headings using yWriter.   When I was happy that the structure was pretty right  I exported the lot and loaded it into Evernote.  I have loaded Evernote on my computer and I use this when writing at home.  It syncs up with my iPad which I use on the train.

It’s a clunky way to get started but it seems to be working well now.

Technology driven stagnation

9, November,2011

I have stalled.  I was skipping along until I had a mismatch of technology.

On the train (where I get a lot of writting done) I use Evernote on my iPad, but at home I use Ywriter (free- thank you Simon Hayes who has a YA Spacejock book out).

I got the structure right but transferring files and managing versions became a pain.  I started looking for a different solution, then kind of just stopped.

What I am waiting for is a good cheap Win 7 tablet to replace the iPad

Horray for imagination

7, March,2011

For me, characters and beginings seem to come fairly easily.   At the moment I have some ideas for the middle.

But ends are always a struggle.  I can get them into trouble, but how do I get them out of it.  How does my hapless main character get strong enough to win without changing into something he’s not.

Today it came to me.  I was looking at the main character and I thinking about his arc, and I suddenly realised that the main joke in his back story provided the answer.  I have no idea how that happened. 

I suppose that’s the trick, finding the balance between following process and trusting imagination.

Anyway back to the process.

Thoughts so far

17, February,2011

  • Formal planning takes time.
  • I’m finding Ywriter very useful.
  • I wonder if all the planning will suck the spontaneity out of the writing when I finally start.
  • I have avoided numerous character dead ends and potential re-writes already.
  • Going for a walk is a better way to sort out plot points than banging out stream of consciousness crap on the keyboard.
  • Reading books that have almost, but not quite, got it right, is useful when I am plotting.
  • Research can hijack my mind and turn a good simple  story into a crappy tentacled plot.
  • Selective re-listening to a range of writing podcasts has helped me make decisions about structure and characters.

Not an amusing list and possibly only helpful to me, but there you go.

I will constuct a list of podcast episodes I used to help me plan out the story.  “Cameron’s online guide to not f**king up before you start.”