Foods on the Writing Plate

It’s interesting what the change from one month to the next can bring.  Up until the end of March, my writing for 2012 consisted mainly of one particular project, but now with the onset of April and some preset deadlines for other projects, I find myself with three different projects going at once, which in my opinion is great, because while working on one book can certainly be enough to drive the writer each and every day, sometimes he or she isn’t feeling it and needs to work on something else, which is why it’s good to have — to use a cliche — a number of irons in the fire.  Here are my three irons going right now . . . all heating at various temperatures, some glowing with great heat, others just beginning to warm up; in the burning fires of my imagination . . . sorry, had to do that.

Iron #1: Wyrd:  This is the historical fiction manuscript that I’ve been playing around with for a long time now . . . by next year it will have been ten years since I started thinking about it and do some initial writings.  I’ve been seriously working on it, writing it, for the last two years and it’s currently over 83,000 words, and while on my word count meter this shows as over halfway, I honestly don’t actually think I’ve reached that point yet.  This is the book that’s been my sole project so far this year, and my goal is at least to make it to page 500, and I’m currently a handful of pages away from 400, so on target there.

Iron #2: In That Quiet Earth: Some time in April — right now I’m tentatively saying April 17th — I will release my second collection of short stories, called In That Quiet Earth.  Like Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers, it will also be ten stories and feature the first two sample chapters to two of my novels.  I do have the cover now which my wife it working on titling and once that’s all set I’ll be releasing that for people to see.  And hopefully the ebook will be available April 17th, but we shall see.  Also, like Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers is now, In That Quiet Earth will also be offered as a free ebook to entice readers to check out some of my work.

Iron #3: White Horse (or Sunil’s Bane): In November of last year I finished up my manuscript that I was calling White Horse, though it will eventually get a new title, once I find the right one.  With each novel that I finish I like to give it at least 3-4 months to stew so that I can firstly start working on something else, secondly allow myself to forget about it, and thirdly start my brain thinking about how I’m going to make it better when I start revising it.  It’s now been over five months and all these things have happened and I’m looking forward to beginning the revision process.  I’m going to be writing and documenting my process as I do this, updates of which can be found here, to kind of show my method, but also to lay it out in detail for me as this will be one of the biggest and most through rewrites I’ve attempted on a novel.  Up until now I’d really just been reading through and rewriting a number of times until I felt it was right; now I’m employing a more methodical process to make it the best story it can possibly be.

And that’s what I’ve got going on right now.  Plus a couple of short story ideas floating around in my mind that I’m going to start soon, and weekly writing exercises to keep me in shape!  I’ve also come up with the book I’m going to write if I do Nanowrimo this year.  I’m planning to and last night worked out what I was going to write, but that will be for another post.

“The White Horse” Progress Report 26: THE END!






It is done!  I just wrote “The End” on The White Horse and almost 98,000 words and 449 pages later the book is now done.  It was a great wild ride and I’m very happy to reach the end.  This is the third book I’ve ever finished and the feeling is great!  And now it’s time to put this book to sleep and give it a nice long rest.  It’ll probably be a good three months, February or March, before I take a look at this baby again, so that it can mature and age like a good wine or cheese.  And then when I go to look at it again, it’ll seem like a different story that I didn’t write and will feel fresh and new, and then operation editing will begin!

But for now, this side of The White Horse feels pretty great!


“White Horse” Progress Report 25



REASON FOR STOPPING:  End of chapter eighteen.

Everything is going along swimmingly — as they say, not really sure why they say that though — and just finished up another long chapter with seventeen and a great writing session of almost four thousand words.  If I stick to my outline, there’s just two more chapters to go, and probably about another ten thousand or so words left of the manuscript to write.  How exciting!  Unfortunately I’m about to embark on “Operation Moving” so I’ll stop writing for the weekend on White Horse and return to it next week.  I want to try and get it all done in as few sessions as possible now that I’m down to the final chapters.  Hope to get working on it next Tuesday, and who knows, maybe I’ll finish it by the end of next week!


White Horse Progress Report 24



REASON FOR STOPPING:  End of chapter seventeen.

Started and finished up chapter seventeen today with some good furthering of the story.  Things are definitely starting to heat up now, as the climax approaches.  If I stick with my outline, which I fully plan to, there are only three chapters to go!

I’d originally extended this “novella” to a 75,000 word novel, and today I past that word count . . .


. . . and obviously the book is not done, so I need to re-estimate my word count goal for the novel, and I believe I can comfortable say it’s going to get good and done and finished within the 90,000 to 100,000 word range, so I’m resetting the goal at 100,000 . . . but this of course could change for all I know, but I have a pretty certain feeling it’ll be done by around 92-94,000.  We shall see!


“White Horse” Progress Report 23



REASON FOR STOPPING: Reached a good stopping point for the week.

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 14,181 words

This was easily the most productive week writing-wise I’ve ever had in my life.  Who knew the key was to not have a job keeping you busy each day.  It was kind of fun to feel like a full time writer for the week.  And here were the word goals I hit each day:

  • Monday – 5274
  • Tuesday – 4419
  • Wednesday – 2161
  • Thursday – 2327

Completed all of chapter fifteen and made some good headway with chapter sixteen.  The novel is moving along with great speed now that I’ve completely outlined the rest of the plot.  I think 75k is still a good final word count goal for the manuscript, though there is a chance it may go over, but this is definitely the right ballpark for it.  The other goal I hit at the end of this week was I reached PAGE 300!

“White Horse” Progress Report 22



REASON FOR STOPPING: Hit word goal for the week; finished chapter thirteen and fourteen; hit 50,000 words

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 5,083 words

This week has been a good and productive one for the writing of White Horse, as I’ve been sticking with my 500 words or so a day, or making up for it when I didn’t quite hit it, and today after a long session with The Unwritten writing group, I got a lot of words down on the page, finished the long chapter I’d been working on, and managed to start and finish another one.  Ended up writing almost four and half thousand words today at 4,4,85, but I kept pushing myself with three different writing sessions during the day, with the goal of hitting the 50,000 word mark, which I did reach and then passed, ending the day and word count for the week at 50,398.  Which is good, because tomorrow I’ll be able to work on other projects after getting so much done with White Horse today.

Now, technically here’s what the word counter meter currently reads with today’s writing:

Yay, I reached that 50k mark, but alas, it is not the end of the book; but I knew a while ago that I would likely be surpassing the 50k mark when this story, which was originally conceived as a novella, continued to grow and grow and become a full-length novel.  I’m now adjusting the word count goal to 75k and I believe this to be a good estimate for how much more I need to finish the book.  Of course, that’s not set in stone, and who knows how much longer the characters may want to hang around, telling their stories.  Anyway, here’s the current word count meter:


And now for some work in progress:

I gingerly got to my feet, almost losing my balance for a moment, and took a few steps away from the dog I obliterated.  For the first time, I saw the torn flesh and fur of the animal, matted with an immense amount of blood.  There were puddles of red growing on the ground.  Then I looked down at myself and saw I was completely soaked with the animal’s blood.  I then felt the cold wetness of it, touching my bare flesh, the weight of it pulling my clothes down.  I gagged, but swallowed, forcing myself not to vomit.

“White Horse” Progress Report 21



REASON FOR STOPPING: Hit goal for the week


It’s been about a month since the last White Horse update, and it’s been at least two or three weeks since I added any writing to it.  I’d reached a good stopping point last time, at the end of the chapter, and knew where I was going to go next with the start of the next chapter, but there was something within me saying there was a piece missing; something needed to be added that would be its own individual chapter; something that had been set up a number of times earlier in the manuscript with hints and references with how the characters were behaving.  That’s why it took a couple of weeks, for my brain to figure out “oh, that’s what the next chapter needs to be, and then the planned successive chapter can happen in the right spot.”

At times this book feels a little like I’m charging along at certain points across the terrain that I know is there, and then everyone once in a while I’ll have to cross a bridge and will have to tiptoe carefully, as each successive plank of that bridge appears in front of me, guiding me along.  I suppose that can be said for just about any long project I’ve worked on.  But at the moment I’m near the end of that bridge and then it should be smooth sailing again on that familiar terrain until the next one.


P. S. This sucker’s definitely going over the 50k word mark!

“White Horse” Progress Report 20



REASON FOR STOPPING: End of part, but not quite end of chapter


Got another good portion of story done this week and I thought I was going to be able to finish up the chapter, but near the end realized there’s another bit of it to go and then it’ll be done.  Nevertheless, finished up a good strong part today.  Also hit and passed the 40,000 word mark and closing in on the 200-page mark.  I’m pretty certain at this point I’m going to shoot on by the 50,000 word goal and probably hit 60,000, possibly even 70,000 depending on how things go.  For now, I’ll keep the word count tracker to the current goal and then up date it when I reach it.


“White Horse” Progress Report 19



REASON FOR STOPPING: Ran out of time!

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 5214 (including writing for Wyrd)

Before I get into specifics on White Horse, for the week as a whole including the writing I did for Wyrd at the beginning of the week, got a total of 5214 words written for the week, which is a pretty amazing feat in itself.  Wrapped up work on my other manuscript Wyrd for a while (you can find out why here), and now it’s full steam ahead with White Horse.

Moved the story along another significant part this week and cracked the 39,000 word mark, as well as the 180-page mark.  I find the book growing and growing as I get into different characters and into different ways of life in this post-apocalyptic world and then I get to a point where I have to mention an important topic like food, government or religion, and then have to have an aside of some sort to explain how this particular topic works in my world at the moment.  It’s sure fun to then come up with a way to make it work, that may get changed in future re-writes once the first draft is done, but at least works for the story for now.


“White Horse” Progress Report 18: 3387



REASON FOR STOPPING: Beat weekly word count, but chapter not quite done


I began this week with the chapter planned in my mind and a notation of “the meeting,” to remind me of what the chapter is going to consist of.  But when I sat down to start it, I realized I needed to explain how the people involved in this meeting got to be there, which required another what I thought to be short chapter.  This “short” chapter has now passed three thousand words, and while there isn’t too much left to say in it, it’s not done yet.  Once this chapter’s done, it’ll finally be on to that meeting.

Funny how a story will do that to you: when the characters cry out and say “how did we get here? Please tell us.”

Also, 70% of the way there!

Now for some words in progress . . .

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Meaning a team is only as strong as its weakest person.  No matter how many ideal candidates you have, that one who fails in some way will be our undoing.  It is with my complete support that I present to you nine members of the governing board that I believe are essential to our survival.”