The results are in: I wrote 55,097 words to my dad’s 824 miles ridden, so my dad wins! By a lot! It would have been closer, but he decided to ride over a hundred miles(!) on August 31. Because he could. Basically, he was the Captain America to my Falcon.
As we had agreed, this means that I owe him a finished manuscript of the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles, and he gets to choose what my project is for this upcoming NaNoWriMo. Which he has already done, so November will see more Tanner and Miranda– probably a single novel-length adventure instead of the episodic and semi-linked mini-adventures in a bigger arc that this first one is.
So! The plan is to use September to finish the rough draft, which I’m expecting to come in at roughly 125,000-150,000 words. Which is about twice as long as I’m hoping it to be when I’m done, meaning I’ll have lots of material to work with and cut from. Then, in October, I’ll break type and actually try to fully plan out the beats for the November project, in the hopes that I come out of NaNo with an actual rough draft as opposed to the… pre-rough draft nonsense jumble that I usually end up with. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking. I guess we’ll find out!
In the meantime, here’s some stats from this last month that I found interesting!
Most words written: 10,081 (August 28) Most miles ridden: 106 (August 31) Fewest words written*: 63 (August 1) Fewest miles ridden*: 9 (August 14) Average words written*: 2395 Average miles ridden*: 36
You know that scene in Tangled right after Rapunzel gets out of the tower? The one where she bounces back and forth between thinking it’s the very best and the very worst thing ever? I’m definitely feeling that a little bit (a lot a bit) right now. Because I’ve finally hit a groove. The words are coming. The story is coming together– sort of. (Oh BOY does it need all the editing ever.) And I have actually started writing fast enough that my hands have gotten tired. Since this time last week, I’ve written almost 35,000 words. I know where I want the major story arc for the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles to go, and I think I have some idea of how to get it there. I have so much raw material to work with. And most of the time, I’m not even panicking about the fact that the quality is… aggressively rough draft right now.
Most of the time. Haha.
Check back in next week to see how this crazy race with my dad finishes up! Right now he’s still ahead, but I’m gaining! Is three more days enough? Is his competitive spirit going to beat out mine? Only time will tell!
Guys! I’m so excited! No, I haven’t caught up to my Dad. (Yet!) But I’ve got a writing momentum that I haven’t had in months, and that I can’t remember having outside of NaNoWriMo. Which isn’t to say that everything I’m writing is gold– because I’m not a superhero. Or Ray Bradbury, which is basically the same thing. In fact, it’s kind of terrible– in a distinctly rough draft-ish sort of way. Which is great! Because that’s what this is.
Because you can’t edit it if it’s not on the page first. And for the first time in way too long, I’m okay with that.
First, the bad news. My final wordcount for Camp NaNoWriMo July 2019 came in at about 3000 words… so, nowhere near my ambitious goal of 75,000. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed, in myself if nothing else, since I know I can write at that pace, I just didn’t this month. However! If that’s it for the bad news (and it is!) I don’t have much to complain about.
As for the good news, there’s a couple pieces! First, my final wordcount came in at about 3000 words, I wrote almost every day, and I kept working on it all month long. Compared to my other attempts at Camp NaNoWriMo, that’s a resounding victory, and it’s absolutely a step in the right direction. The second has to do with the fact that I may have found another way to help motivate myself. It’s come to my attention that I’m actually a fairly competitive person. Gasp. That being said, when I find ways to harness that competitiveness, things tend to go pretty well. To that end, I’ve made a deal with my dad that for every mile he rides his bike during the month of August, I’ll write a hundred words. As my father is an avid bicyclist, the next thirty one days could prove very interesting. Check back in next Wednesday to see how I’ve fared the first week!
It’s so nice to feel like the bones of a story are decently solid. Most of what I’ve been doing so far this month is “editing”/fleshing out some sections that I’d already done some scribblings on, and the result has been very encouraging, if still moving slower than I’d like it to be, ideally. I’m proud of a couple turns of phrase in particular, actually, so by way of showing off, I’m including a quick excerpt below. Those of you who have been following me for a while might recognize this as very similar to the beginning of The Verdant Wildlife, which is because I’m in the process of completely reworking it so that it can take its place as the first story in the upcoming novel.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the promised snippet.
Our client had arranged to meet up with us at a small mining outpost near the drone’s last known coordinates and had offered to transport us out there on one of her company’s atmo-sprinters. It was a welcome gesture that cut our travel time down to a fraction of what it would have been otherwise. I spent the half-hour ride alternately teasing my brother and staring out the window as semi-developed plains gave way to wild cliffs and canyons.
Even before the sprinter’s pilot started edging the craft down between a couple of jagged cliffs, there was little doubt in my mind that our destination was less a spur of civilization than a small collection of humans trying to do without it. In Coville, I’d gotten the impression that the occasional showdown at high noon was a distinct possibility. Looking down at the approaching outpost, I would have been more surprised to find that such confrontations didn’t happen there with some regularity.
I leaned towards my brother. “I thought you said we weren’t going to get shot at. This looks like the sort of place that gets us shot at.”
“What, the mining camp?” He looked out his own window. “Good thing we won’t be spending much time there.”
I scowled. Now that our hike was more imminent, I found myself less excited about the prospect of tramping around the wilds of a new planet than I had been the day before. And given that I hadn’t been all that enthusiastic about it in the first place, that was saying something.
Tanner winked at me. “It’ll be fun. Like those trips we took growing up.”
I grunted, non-committal. “I hadn’t spent the last eight months crossing the galaxy when we hiked the Sierras.”
“We won’t be moving too fast. There’s a ton of nooks and crannies out here, and that drone could have crashed in any of them. You’ll be fine.” The look on his face was the same one he’d worn when he’d suckered me into exploring an old “haunted” warehouse with him. At night. About three weeks after I’d pranked him in front of all his buddies. But bringing that up wasn’t going to do me any good.
“Congratulations,” I said. “You just managed to make me feel better and worse at the same time.”
He winked. “I aim to please.”
Lucky for him and despite my complaining, I did still enjoy a good hike, if not under these exact circumstances. Not that I’d be caught dead admitting that to him just now.
Not much to report, so far, save that I am definitely running behind for Camp, but I’m optimistic! Reaching my 75K word goal will be a… challenge. But I like a good challenge– and I have a couple of days coming up that I plan to use for writing and pretty much nothing else. Check back next week to see how it goes!
In the meantime, anyone else doing Camp this July? How are your projects doing? How are you doing?
It’s July, also known in some circles as one of two Camp NaNoWriMo events. Personally, I’ve always had great success in November, with all its official 30-days-50,000-words madness, but every time I’ve attempted to do a smaller project (or at least one with less ambitious goals) for one of the Camps, I forget that I’m participating half a week in and don’t make much progress at all. So this month, I’m trying something different.
Based on the theory that it doesn’t go well for me because it’s too small a goal, I went the other way and am going to attempt 75,000 words in the month of July. On Tanner and Miranda, of course.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Best case scenario? I finally finish that draft I’ve been poking with a stick since last November!
After the mayhem of NaNo, it’s sometimes (read: usually) easy for the slower pace that takes over in December to feel distressingly unproductive. And certainly, when it comes to word output and time committed to writing, the last three weeks have seen a definite drop-off. Yet, while I might be loathe to admit it at times, that’s not always a bad thing.
For one thing, having the time to guiltlessly devote to friendships, everyday chores, and all the other things that make up day-to-day life, while being good in and of itself, is also the sort of thing that can help improve one’s writing. They say to write what you know, and if you have a good working knowledge of the way life seems to tick, that’s going to show in your writing.
But the slower pace means I have time to start the restructuring and editing process. Which is terrifying. And a lot of work. And weird, because for the first time in my life, I’m writing out of order. I recently got my hands on Scrivener for the first time, and now I understand what all the hype is about. Consider me sold. Being able to drag chapters and scenes around and divide them up into more thought sized chunks is already invaluable. And it makes it so much easier to write what’s coming to mind right at the moment without worrying about how I’ll move it to where it belongs later. I think it’s going to help speed up the entire editing/rewriting process in the long run, which is good because my dad has sent another bag of chocolate covered espresso beans with the understanding that I finish a revised draft sometime in the near future– preferably the end of January. With the espresso beans, it just might happen!
Another NaNo has come and gone. And while I’m looking forward to relax a little from the marathon, I’m mostly excited because it looks like this might have actually given me the jumpstart I was hoping for to get me writing a lot and regularly once again. It’s a lovely feeling.
I’m also inordinately proud of myself for blowing my previous NaNo wordcount record out of the water. My final count for the month is just over 75k words, which means that I completed 150% of the official NaNoWriMo goal. Tanner and Miranda are nothing if not fun to write. As always, it’s all incredibly rough and unpolished, not to mentioned only barely structured at best, but it’s a whole lot of grist for the editing mill, and I’m so excited to get to working on it.
So, here’s a last (for NaNoWriMo 2018) snippet of the adventures of a couple of siblings who don’t know how to stay out of trouble. Thanks for reading!
There were two bandits in the doorway. There might be more in the ship behind them, but we couldn’t see them, and we couldn’t hear more than the two we could see. Decent enough odds to make us think that they were the only ones there right at the moment. Well. Some people might think they were good odds. If it was the difference between surviving and not surviving this mission, it might be more ideal to wait until we had a better idea of what was going on, but as they say, time is of the essence, and this was about as good as it was probably going to get. And right now, the door was unlocked. And open.
Tanner and I exchanged a look, took deep breaths, and charged.
Now, these two were probably entirely deserving of whatever justice we might mete out on them during this whole crazy backwards heist. But there was more at stake than just their just deserts, and frankly, unless it was blatant self defense, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about killing anyone and getting that on my conscience. Self defense is one thing. Going in, guns blazing, is entirely another. And while it’s got its time and its place, and I’ve done it before, I didn’t have to right now and I was absolutely fine with that.
So instead, we charged straight forward, fired several shots into the hull above their heads, then broke off to the sides and didn’t let ourselves run in a straight enough line to let them get a bead on us. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t have worked. I mean, it really, really shouldn’t have worked. And yet, it did. The two guards panicked and ducked and fired off a couple of crazy shots into the air above our heads. They missed us entirely and wasted a couple of moments that were more than enough for us to cover the ground between us and them.
And we tackled them. Shoulders down, wrapping our arms around their waists, driving them to the ground. Tanner took the one of the left, I took the one on the right who stood a little further back. Just one of the benefits of being smaller. You can sneak through spaces that wouldn’t be big enough for a lot of people. And it doesn’t meant that you’re not strong enough to go after anyone. As evidenced by the fact that the fellow I tackled went down, and went down hard, despite having about fifty pounds and half a foot on me.
Thank God for the element of surprise and a low center of gravity.
I don’t know quite where I’m going with this. But I think it’s going to be fun.
This was my kind of job. The kind that had gotten me into this field in the first place. Both literally, in the sense that Tanner and I were currently crouched in a sage-brush filled field a little way outside of Dalton, and also in the sense you thought I was talking about first. It was the kind rife with adventure and mayhem, and, just as importantly, it was the kind that promised a healthy payout at the end of it.
We just had to finish the job and get back to the client in one piece. Easier said than done, of course, but that’s where the fun comes in.