Tag Archives: faith

Word Count and 50,000

Plotting out Lost & Found has really come in handy.  In a week I’ve written nearly 8,000 words.  The story is humming along.  I’m about half-way through, so it should end up in the 30,000 – 40,000 range, like the rest.

GW-Wordcount-061714I have been amazed how changes in the market, or new information I have come across during the learning process, has altered my approach.  These novellas exist because of a podcast I heard a few months ago.  The more I learn, the more I want to set myself up for success.  Sometimes, that requires changing my path.

There is one option out there that I have not yet decided on.

Bookbub is “a free service that helps millions of readers discover great deals on acclaimed ebooks while providing publishers and authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans.”  This has been used extensively, and often with great success, by many independent authors.  Just because you want to use Bookbub doesn’t mean you can.  They are selective about who they promote and you have to meet their criteria.  One of those criteria is that the book has to be at least 50,000 words.

They don’t promote novellas.

Now they also want your book to have great reviews on Amazon and, preferably, critical acclaim from sources other than readers.  So, the word count isn’t the only hurdle, but one of the basic ones.

So, as I write, I wonder, “Should these novellas be short novels instead, 50,000 words, so promotional opportunities could be made available to me?”

I don’t know the answer to that question yet.  I don’t want to add words for the sake of word count.  I want to add words because they make the story better.  As mentioned in a previous blog, Skyway will probably leap over the 50,000 word limit by the time it is done.  But, when I look at the rest of the novellas, I’m not sure almost doubling The Homecoming Incident will make it any better.  And, at this point, Lost & Found doesn’t feel like a 50,000 word short novel.

What does all of this mean?  It means I haven’t made up my mind.

I won’t know for sure until all of the novellas are written. Because, when that is done, I want to look at them as a whole, as one large character arc, and see what has to be altered to maximize their overall effect.  Maybe that process will require additional words.

But will that turn into five 50,000 word short novels?

Only time will tell.

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Word Count & Nearing the Finish Line

Getting over the hump sure has helped.  In a little over a week I was able to write 10,000 words and probably have another 3,000 ahead of me before putting Skyway aside.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the scope and placement of Skyway has changed and the ripple effect of those changes won’t be completely felt for the next few months.  The biggest challenge is that Gabby’s faith journey in this novella will be different than intended and I won’t know exactly where she is in her faith journey until I write the two other novellas that precede Skyway.

Therefore, I’ve left the faith aspect in Skyway purposely vague and will fill in those gaps when I see where Gabby is and where she needs to be in the grand scheme of these five novellas.

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This novella has been a challenge, but for all of the right reasons.  I can’t wait to finally put it to bed and start working on novella number two… well, the new novella number two.

 

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Word Count & Getting Over the Hump

This week was a tough one, writing-wise.  As mentioned on our last podcast, the second novella, Skyway, takes place over a continuous 36 hour period.  Because of this limitation and a lot of the moving parts having to do with plot and character, what would normally be a smooth process has been quite a struggle.

Fortunately, we are on the other side of that obstacle and nearing the finish line on this draft.  There’s still one major plot challenge ahead of us, and it’s a biggie, but it’s for the right reasons.  I’ll post more about that next week.  However, I’m excited to get this first draft on Skyway done as soon as possible so I can go back and give it a good reshaping/polishing.

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Another exciting development is we’ll be sending out our first novella, The Homecoming Incident, to our second group of Beta Readers in the next week or so.  When starting with a group of Beta Readers, there is always a bit of coordination and logistics involved in getting the material to them via Kindle or other forms.  That adds some time the first time you do it.  After that, it goes very quickly.

This second group of Beta Readers are all within our target demographic, so I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.

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Word Count & Rewrites

I did a lot of writing, but not that added a lot to the word count. I did add a couple of thousand words to Skyway, but spent most of the time re-writing The Homecoming Incident based on our Beta Reader feedback.  The end result was a couple of hundred more words in total, but a better story as a whole.

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I also invested quite a bit of time hashing out the Skyway plot.  It’s not a complex plot, but it has enough moving parts that, if you don’t take them into consideration, the reader will be pulled out of the story.  I know exactly where I want to story to travel, but the specific steps within it require that all of the tentacles of the story remain connected and believable.

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Word Count & Stumbling Along

I didn’t do it.  I didn’t keep up my 1500 words a day.  I tried, but the empty page glared back at me this week.

My problems were three-fold.  First and foremost, I was burned out.  I have never written 1500 words a day in my life.  Not solely toward a book.  Sure, I probably write more than that just working and emailing.  But the nightly 1500 work effort was new and my creative tank drained to empty.

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Secondly, I lost the story.  The second novella’s plot is more complex than the first one, which was a pretty direct line between beginning and end.  The second novella bobs and weaves and when I needed to attack, I had no more punches left.  There was one evening I spent two hours looking at the screen trying to pry words, any words, out of my head and onto the page.  None were forthcoming.

It wasn’t until I took a fresh look at the story again and worked through some vague plot ideas until they were razor sharp, that the story was able to flow again.  This is the way writers block always rears its ugly head with me.  It’s not that I can’t write.  It’s because I don’t know what I’m supposed to write next.

Lastly, I enjoyed life a little more this week.  Even though you don’t have to keep your Lenten sacrifice on Sundays during Lent, I was still writing 1500 words a day, including Sundays.  This past week, I took the day off.  Monday was also the opening day for Major League Baseball and my son and my best friend took in some innings at the Rays/Jays season opener.  And challenges at work and health issues with family and friends was like a vice grip on my creativity that hindered my writing.

However, once the story cleared up in my head and things settled down in my personal life, the writing quickly returned to form and I was still able to collect a little over 4,000 words this week.  Not bad, all things considering.

Hopefully next week will be less interesting and more productive.

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Word Count & Beta Readers

The first Gabby Wells novella, The Homecoming Incident, is in the hands of my first group of Beta Readers.  Can’t wait to hear their responses, make the tweaks and send it to our second group of Beta Readers.

I’m about one-third of the way through the first draft of the second novella titled Skyway.

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Not all 1500 words a day ended up on the page of Skyway.  Some went to quick fixes on The Homecoming Incident and some went toward outlining Skyway.  All that being said, however, I’m very happy with the 9,000 words I was able to write this week.

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Word Count, Novellas and Novels

As I mentioned yesterday, I finished the first draft of the novella The Homecoming Incident.  As the first of five novellas as part of the Gabby Wells Chronicles novella series, I’m excited to get that first draft done.

Today I started outlining the second novella in the series, tentatively titled Skyway.  I’m trying to decide whether my outline work will count toward my 1500 daily writing goal during Lent or not.

Another thing I’ve realized I need to create is a “Gabby Wells Bible” – which is a document that outlines all of the important characters, ages, locations, histories, stories, etc.  So, I can make sure I don’t say a character spent the summer in Chicago and in a later book say it was Dallas.

I haven’t started that yet, but it’s a necessary evil.  It will take time to do, time I could be used being creative, but I’m hopeful it will help me be more creative later.

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I want to get The Homecoming Incident to my beta readers as quickly as possible so that I can move the process forward.  It’s holding up the first full novel, Water & Blood, getting into our second group of beta reader hands.

It’s all very complicated and we’ll talk about it on our next podcast.  Things continue to move and remain fluid.  The key is to go with the flow.

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Daily Writing Word Count – On Track

I set a goal of writing 1500 words a day during Lent.  So far I have lived up to that goal.

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I’ve written over 10,000 words since last week on the first Gabby Wells prequel called The Homecoming Incident.  If things go well, I’ll be able to push myself and complete the first draft over the weekend.  That would be about 5000 words a day.  I don’t know if I’ll have the time to write that much, but that’s what I’d like to do.

Then, I could put The Homecoming Incident aside for a little bit, give it time to rest, before revisiting it and making changes.

During this past week, I’ve also been thinking about roll out strategy changes.  We’ve lined up our next set of beta readers for Water & Blood, however, now I was considering that the novellas may need to come first.  It builds character history and eases the reader into the tone of the novels.

I haven’t decided anything for certain, but I want to finish this first novella as soon as possible so that I can move forward in one direction or another.  I’ll have more on that in an upcoming podcast.

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Lenten Writing Goal

1500 words a day.  That’s my goal.

Having suffered with Crohns disease for 24 years it has created numerous limitations in my life, both in diet and activity.  So, whenever Lent rolls around, instead of removing a food from my already small list of approved options, I choose to add something to my spiritual plate.

My Lenten sacrifice is usually my time.  I’ll add taking time to pray, to read the Bible and, this year, to write.  A lot.

My Lenten goal is to write 1500 words a day.  I think this is an appropriate Lenten sacrifice as the projects revolve around the Gabby Wells novels and novellas which focus on a character of faith.

I’ll keep track of my progress and update the website accordingly.

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Currently, I have three things in progress:

Novel 1Water & Blood is in the polishing stage.  Beta readers are giving us feedback, we are making changes and will then send to an editor.

Novel 2 – the first draft was completed some time ago, but is in the process of being rewritten from scratch.  The plot won’t change, but my writing style has evolved since the first words on paper.

Chronicle 1The Homecoming Incident is the first novella in the Chronicle series.  The Chronicle series are novellas that involve Gabby and her friends prior to the events in the novel series and will be made available for free as a way to introduce the characters and their journey with little to no risk to consumers.  The current goal is to have five Chronicles in total.

It’s not always easy to come up with 1500 words a day.  Granted, I write more than that at work each day, but these 1500s are specifically for these projects.

It’s a lofty goal.  I hope I make it.

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Where Credit is Due

I once read that successful people surround themselves with people who are strong in areas they are not.  I continue to do this in the creation of the Gabby Wells novels.

Collaboration

As I’ve mentioned on this blog, my history is writing screenplays, but am migrating my way into novel writing.  This process hasn’t been easy and has required in inordinate amount of re-writes in order to start the process of re-wiring my brain so that I can approach a scene in my mind from the perspective of a novelist.

This long process has sucked.  But, in the end it will be worth it.

During this process I have had the critical assistance of two people.  One has shown me the independent author ropes and assisted in editing our book and another, a very gifted writer, has been kind enough to help craft each chapter to its maximum potential.

It’s time I give them their due credit, but stealthily so.  The person editing my book has been doing so as a favor (she refuses to let me pay her).  She was once an editor, but has since moved to other areas of interest in the literary landscape.  She no longer officially edits and would rather her public persona remain focused on her current interest, so I will keep her name to myself.  But, thank you, ______, you have been a tremendous avenue of support!

The second person is a writer, who has chosen the pen name C F Long as her moniker.  She is a private person, but has been there during the creation of the novel.  She’s helped me so much that I convinced her to include her name on the book cover.  After all, this book would never see the light of day without her.

So, instead of the Gabby Wells book being written by only me, it will include “with C F Long” on the cover.  She wants to retain her privacy and acknowledges that this novel, and it’s following series, is my creative baby, so she is not interested in participating in the publicity of the product.  However, I felt it would be dishonest of me to finish it and claim sole creative credit for a book in which her voice is intermingled with my own.

Thank you, my creative team, for helping me learn the business and hone my skills.  I still have a long way to go, but I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

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