Weekly Digest, Episode 7

I’m late, I know. But let’s just go anyway. I’ll keep it short. With this much vodka in me, it’s probably for the best.

Word counts for the past few weeks:

  • 2/7/2016 – 2/13/2016: 10,401
  • 2/14/2016 – 2/20/2016: 9,238
  • 2/21/2016 – 2/27/2016: 10,807

Progress is screaming on Familiar Lies. I’m 1-2 days out from finishing the manuscript. I love how it’s turned out so far.

By the way, I have a couple of new books up for preorder. It Came From the Mountain and The Saint, The Sinner and the Coward. The first is a pseudo-Mothman book and the second is a “weird western”. Both can be purchased using links found here.

Weekly Digest, Episode 6

  • 1/31: 179 words
  • 2/1: 675 words
  • 2/2: 1,172 words
  • 2/3: 1,643 words
  • 2/4: 1,627 words
  • 2/5: 1,513 words
  • 2/6: 552 words
  • Weekly Total: 7,361 words

I’ll add in some other stats that might be useful if you’re looking for some inspiration to get your word counts up. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve written 45,191 words. Since I started using Chris Fox’s sprinting method back in August, I’ve written 245,446 words.

And as of 2/6, my total lifetime fiction words written sits at 946,065.

That last number is important because a million words is typically touted as kind of a magic number. In other words, many writers claim they started to really hit their stride at this point. As I approach my tenth novel and a million words, I’m feeling it too. I think I’m telling some of the best stories I ever have, in my own voice and with a confidence I didn’t have before.

As of 2/6 I’ve written for 81 days without a miss. You’ll notice above that on 1/31 I only wrote 179 words; that’s the day I spent nine hours revising Badlands #3. I did a fifteen-minute sprint that day on new words solely to keep the streak going. Streaks are like that; once you get one started you don’t want to break it.

Lately, I’m averaging about 1,500 words per hour and roughly 1,400 words per day. My weird western brought my average down since it seemed to take longer to write. Not sure why. My average speed is coming back up again on this new book, even without an outline. No two books are ever the same experience, so I suppose there’ll be some variance across them.

Familiar Lies, the new murder mystery I’m currently writing, is chugging right along. I’ve been working on it for 29 days now and expect to finish on time. And now that I’m proofreading as I go, I won’t have to revise the entire manuscript after the last scene is written. That’s been another game changer for me. Most I’ll do is read it one time through, full speed, before it goes off to the editor. That’s easy.

I’m still working without an outline and learning exactly what happened right alongside the protagonist. Will I go back to using outlines on future books? I don’t know. I think maybe I needed them earlier in the game, when I wasn’t confident I could finish a story. I don’t know that I need an outline as a crutch anymore. I suppose I think of outlines these days as tools that I might use, but don’t have to use.

Good week. I’ll be back after this week is over to tell you how it went.

Money Talks

One of the primary reasons I don’t query traditional publishers (and turned down a publishing deal) was to retain creative control over my intellectual property. I might have lost easy money up front, but I’m okay with that. It’ll pay out long term.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks about the old world of TV where you sacrificed your money and creative control to get eyeballs on your work. Cable has changed that. She posits that the same kind of thing is already going on in publishing too.

So check out this article; it’s worth a read.

Business Musings: Money Talks

The Sins of the Fathers

I recently read Lawrence Block’s writing how-to book Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print to Pixel. Tons of great writing advice in there. Block has been around forever, but I discovered him only recently through Dean Wesley Smith.

I just finished the first book in his Matthew Scudder series (which was recently made into a movie starring Liam Neeson). It was terrific, so I bought the second one. Here’s a preview of book #1, in case you’d like to check it out (and you should).

Improv Cooking

Just made this dish for myself and the kids…mostly out of leftovers:


I wonder if the name gives away the surprise?


Weekly Digest, Episode 5

Familiar Lies. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1/24: 1,219 words
  • 1/25: 1,667 words
  • 1/26: 1,214 words
  • 1/27: 1,140 words
  • 1/28: 1,104 words
  • 1/29: 458 words
  • 1/30: 1,357 words
  • Total new words: 8,159

Sunday’s word counts aren’t included here (my weeks “start” on Sunday), but I only wrote enough to keep my streak going (maybe 150 words). Instead, I spent nearly nine hours revising Out of the Badlands so that I could get it out the door and off to my editor.

There’s a lesson here (for me, at least) and that is to not put revisions off until the last minute. My days of making eight or ten passes over a manuscript are behind me, but I still need to do at least one proofreading pass to find typos and make sure what I meant to say is actually what I said. Copy editing, by definition.

These days I do it as I go (something Dean Wesley Smith calls cycling). I’ve mentioned it already, but it bears repeating. Before I start writing for the day, I go back over and proofread what I wrote the day before. Then I get back to writing new words. This eliminates the need to do one massive pass over the entire manuscript after it’s complete.

Well, I have three manuscripts sitting around that haven’t had anything resembling a second pass, so I have my work cut out for me.

I hate revising manuscripts, so I put it off for Out of the Badlands. That bit me in the ass because I had to cram to get it done. Not a good way to do things.

That said, the book is out the door and with my editor, so I don’t have it looming over my head anymore. My other two manuscripts won’t go to the editor for another couple of months, so I’ll have time to proofread those along the way. One bite at a time, like eating an elephant.

With Out of the Badlands out of the way, I can focus again on my current novel. Familiar Lies is coming along nicely. So well, in fact, that I might actually publish it next, before the other books I have currently waiting in the wings. We’ll see.