Daily Writing Check-in: April 30, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 27 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

It’s kind of like deja vu, really. I figured I’d start this task by reading through the entire first draft of the book, which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. But somehow, I managed to forget that I hadn’t touched this after the month ended, so it’s still in what I call “NaNo-form.”

Sometimes I’ll spend the first few weeks after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time. I didn’t do that after NaNo in 2017. Or apparently after NaNo in 2015, because this exact same thing happened when I started on #3 in my long-term writing goals list, when I wanted to start out by reading through the first draft of “The Seeger Book.”

So just like then, I started with a spell-check through the whole story today. That took almost the entire amount of time I worked. Tomorrow, I’ll start reading through the entire story, removing the NaNo fodder as I read.

Unlike with “The Seeger Book,” though, I’m really looking forward to reading through this draft. In the time since I’ve gotten back into my writing again, any time I needed to open up the draft of “Vin” to remind myself of something I wrote there, I ended up getting caught up in reading more than I needed to. Unfortunately, it’s not a solid story, just…fun scenes with some of my favorite characters. So it’s not good enough to stay like it is, but still fun for me to read, at least.

2019-Apr Camp Winner-Facebook-Cover
I am pleasantly surprised to be able to say that I did complete the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. The goal was to average 30 minutes of writing work per day. It was dicey for a while, considering how many days I skipped, but I finished today, and even went 20 minutes past. It helps that the work was easy on the brain (spell-checking). It also probably helps to be starting with a fresh story, after spending so long on the last goal.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 29, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 3 minutes finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

This was a hard-fought task, let me just say. Not only did I go through some intensely difficult times with work that led me to take massive amounts of days off while working on this outline, it was also a very difficult story to pin down.

I am really happy with the way the outline has shaped up, including a small-but-exciting idea that came out of nowhere while outlining the climax. I think it’s going to be a fairly complicated story to draft, but on the other hand…maybe I worked out the complications during outlining.

So that finishes #3 on my list of long-term writing goals. Tomorrow, I will start on #4.

1. Outline “Outcast” – Time spent: 12 days

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – Time spent: 7 days

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – Time spent: 26 days

4. Re-outline “Vin” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2017. I spent the month before first realizing that this was the story to write that year, then figuring out what on earth this story was going to be about, exactly. I went back and forth on who the protagonist was, who the main character was, and most of all, learning the true motivations behind the title character. In the end, I wrote 69,878 words, but a good majority of it was just the characters telling each other stories about what happened in the past to get them to this place. It was fun and easy for word count, but not exactly a great plot. The plot was weak to start with though, so it needs some more work.

5. Re-outline “Protector”

After how sporadic my writing was this month, and how far behind par for Camp NaNoWriMo I was at one point, I am really surprised that I am only one solid hour (and a few minutes) away from winning. Unless something crazy happens tomorrow, I think I’ll just manage to pull it off.

A Monday Moment: Favor

“So, can you do me a favor?”

“A favor?” he scoffed. “You must be joking!”

I stared at him, trying so hard to keep my face as stoic as possible.

“Don’t think of it as a favor for me then. Think of it as a favor for your homeland. For your friends and family there. For you, even.” I could see his jaw jumping as he clenched and unclenched it over and over. He was angry. He had every right to be. Still, he had come to see me.

“If this has anything to do with Linus, you can save your breath. He’s not getting out any time soon. And neither are you.”

“I don’t want him to get out. I don’t care if I’m released either. But he can still do a lot from prison.”

“Not from prison in Pithea,” he countered.

“You don’t think so? Do you know anything about the operation he was running back home? About the operation he was running here?”

For as cold as he had been, his tone turned to ice when he replied, “I think I know enough.”

I lowered my gaze for a moment. I would have apologized for my part in all this, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I’m only saying that Linus is very connected, very smart, and very determined. I wanted him caught here in Pithea, but the truth is—”

“Wait, what?”

I looked back up at him to see narrowed eyes.

“You wanted him caught? Don’t you work for him? And you got yourself arrested too.”

“I’m well aware of that, thank you. But if you haven’t noticed, they don’t have much in the way of charges against me. My guess is the worst they’ll do is keep me here for a bit, and then send me back. I can’t go back—not after getting Linus thrown in jail.”

“I’m supposed to feel bad that they’ll hate you back home after what you’ve done?”

“They won’t just hate me.” I searched his face for the slightest hint of the compassion or kindness I once knew. “They’ll kill me.”

Prompt used: favor

Daily Writing Check-in: April 28, 2019

Words/Time:  28 minutes of freewriting

I knew it would be difficult to find time to write this weekend. Yesterday, I managed to carve out some time in the afternoon, which was good, because I didn’t get home from a concert until around midnight.

Today, after being up super early and getting home only a couple of hours before my family we going to see Avengers: Endgame, by the time we got home from that, I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open. Still, I knew I had 150 minutes of writing work left to finish Camp NaNoWriMo before the end of the month, so I decided anything I could get done was better than nothing.

It seemed like a good time for freewriting, rather than trying to focus on the outline I’ve been working on, so I went back to an old word list I wrote down in my failed attempt at a bullet journal 1 1/2 years ago. I picked a word from the list and wrote 356 words. And even better, it’s not too vague, confusing, or spoiler-y to be used as a Monday Moment, an attempt at a weekly feature on my blog that has been incredibly sporadic over the last 5 months. But come Monday, there will be a Monday Moment!

Daily Writing Check-in: April 27, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 20 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I’m nearing the climax of the outline. I also added a little to the timeline for this story. And then I decided it was important to know what day of the week it should be in the story on the final day. That led me to realize that it was going to be important to know what day of the week it was during a lot of my stories, especially the ones that involve the War Games, which are played on the weekends.

Outcast,” which ends right as “The Seeger Book” starts,” gave me a starting point, because I know what day of the week that story starts on. But rather than just count forward to find out where I’m at with this book, I decided to make my life easier in the future, and made up a calendar for this year of the series of Pithea Books. I can refer back to it any time I need to. And when working on books that take place before or after these 2, I can always use the same method to make up a calendar for those years.

I found some time in the afternoon to work, which helped a lot to increase my chances to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time. I think I have a real shot at winning after all (I’m down to just under 3 total hours left on my goal).

Daily Writing Check-in: April 26, 2019

Words/Time:  15 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

Not exactly a stellar amount of time, but it’s better than 0. It’s important to me to not skip days any more than necessary. I didn’t get home from work tonight until about 11:45 pm, so I literally went right to my computer to work on the outline for the last 15 minutes before midnight. I may work on it more tonight to try to make up for a super short amount of time today, because I know I’ll be gone until late tomorrow too, and likely won’t have a lot of time in the afternoon to work. So we’ll see how it goes.

I still have hopes to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time, but I will have to make the most of every free minute I have over the next 4 days.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 25, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 6 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

After 2 1/2 weeks not doing any writing work, in the middle of this difficult task, and then 4 weeks working on it sporadically, I’m really glad to be making some serious progress. I also spent that 4 weeks talking with characters just trying to pin down what huge  things I knew I was missing from the story. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever figure it out, or if I’d have to make the decision to just write as much of the outline as I could, and then leave it for now.

It’s a pretty big win, amongst the difficulties I’m having with work, to have made the progress I made today. The outline is starting to really come together. I’ve realized that it’s necessary to include in the outline the things that are going on behind the scenes, that won’t be in the book, so I know how the timing works, and since realizing that, it’s making a lot more sense too.

I’ll need to work for a minimum of 50 minutes per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time. Even now, in this final week, I can’t seem to avoid taking days off. And Saturday and Sunday I’m going to be very busy. Tomorrow will be difficult to find time too, since I’ll be home from work late, and my writing time is always in the evening. I am happy to be back on course to getting this outline done, so if I don’t finish Camp, this month will still be a win.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 23, 2019

Words/Time:  54 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I finished the character interview with one of the antagonists of the book. I worked on that interview for 8 days in the end, (actual days working on it, not counting days off), and at times felt like I was just stalling, because it was easier than getting back to the outline. I don’t really know why I thought that, though, because every day that I worked on this conversation, insights came out. Maybe some days the insights were small, but it was always productive.

I honestly don’t know how I got by for so long in my writing life without talking to my characters…

Tomorrow it will be back to the actual outline, which will likely still involve some questions that I need to brainstorm answers to, but I am a lot closer than I was. It will also involve going back and reading parts of the 20-page conversation many times, reminding myself of what I came up with. I’m looking forward to it!


The 20 pages were written in the smaller book in this picture, so it’s probably not quite as long as it sounds.

I’m down to needing to write 46 minutes per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time. I am optimistic about finishing, but not necessarily confident.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 22, 2019

Words/Time:  49 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I’m nearing the end of the character interview, and am still shocked by the fact that it is, by far, the longest one I’ve done. I went into this thinking that it might stall out and get me nowhere. I just don’t think I realized how completely empty the underlying conspiracy that drives this plot was though. Now that I have talked to one of the main antagonists of the book (and up until this character interview, I thought this person was The Main Antagonist of the book), I’m actually uncovering the complexity of the plot. I think I might just be ready to go back to the outline soon, and actually finish this writing goal.

I’m up to needing to write 47 minutes per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time because I skipped yesterday. It’s no fun if it’s easy to win, right?

Daily Writing Check-in: April 20, 2019

Words/Time:  45 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I was starting to think this character interview is just a stalling tactic. But what I’m actually realizing is that I am writing an outline for the story in a way. This is a side to the story that the reader won’t see much of. Just the parts that push through to the protagonist’s side. But it’s going to be really helpful to have all of this down when it’s time for me to go back to the actual outline. The sequence of events is coming out really clearly (I think).

I’m pretty happy to have worked another solid chunk of time that will keep me on track to finishing Camp NaNoWriMo with just a few more words per day as my goal. Monday is coming, and more work that has been my main reason for skipping so many days this month, but we’ll see how it goes.