October 2021 Challenge - Build a Writing Habit!

Nether

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Day 3 wound up being 2,782, which on another day might been fine, but today was irritating because I was ahead of the curve and thought it was going to be a much better writing day.

However, because I was operating on one hour of sleep, I kept thinking "Well, I'll write after I take a nap," and then I just kept putting the nap (which was just another hour anyway) off. I also thought I had the day, but I wound up running errands... and because I stupidly chose to do one thing before another, one of my errands went awry (which, rather annoyingly, was also the one that really mattered, whereas everything else wasn't as time-sensitive).

On the plus side, I think I'm reaching a point of greater investment in the story because I've finally hit one of the romance subplots. (Although I guess I've already introduced one of the other big ones.)

And I think I found another way to tie together some plot threads, and move a minor character into a larger role, which should be fun. It's all part of a larger thing where I know what I want to happen, but I'm still working out how to get there.


Day 2 - 224 word on something new that I'm calling Mars Belongs to the Magical. It heavily mixes fantasy and science fiction as well as lot of myths from different cultures. I'm starting to wonder if that's too much.

Novel or short story? And are you talking about Earth myths transplanted to Mars, or myths about the planets?

It's certainly an interesting title.
 
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Helix

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Day 4: reasonably productive. Haven't quite finished for today, but so far, I've got
  • the outline of a natural history piece I'll pitch to an o/s magazine;
  • the outline of a non-fic short piece that I plan to submit on Wednesday;
  • most of a fic short piece that I want to submit tomorrow; and
  • a micro-microfiction (two tweet) story that I put together after getting an email about it this arvo.

Nothing for Medium today

ETA: fic short piece now finished. Time for dinner!
 
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mccardey

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Day 4: reasonably productive. Haven't quite finished for today, but so far, I've got
  • the outline of a natural history piece I'll pitch to an o/s magazine;
  • the outline of a non-fic short piece that I plan to submit on Wednesday;
  • most of a fic short piece that I want to submit tomorrow; and
  • a micro-microfiction (two tweet) story that I put together after getting an email about it this arvo.

Nothing for Medium today
My goodness. Bloody impressive.

I did gardening and thought about how I should be writing but there was gardening and we didn't do bi-location at school, so it wasn't my fault.
 
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The Second Moon

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Day 3 - 413 words on Mars Belongs to the Magical. I also wrote a poem about Fall. I've been sending all my poems to a family member and I realized all the poems were sad. I wrote this poem so I could have something happy to send (the family member suggested the Fall theme)

Nether - It's a linked short story collection. It's about myths from all over Earth now living on Mars because they were being hunted by humans while on Earth.

Helix - That's a lot of work done! Great job.
 

Pterofan

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To answer Nether's questions, maybe help other pantsers with similar problems, and maybe break me out of my writer's block and get me going again:

First off, this is a closed series--eight single books that, when read in order, tell one big story. Like the Harry Potter series. It goes from Point A to Point B and then it's over. As with Harry Potter, I know where the story's going, I've already written the climax and I know how it all ends. That's all I have in common with J. K. Rowling. Since it's essentially one big super-novel, I'm okay with skipping around because I'm doing it within "chapters." If I'm working on Book 2 and suddenly get an inspiration that shoots me over to Book 6, yeah, I'm gonna run with it. It'll all fit together eventually.

Here's where the problems come in. I tend to write slowly, with more than occasional blocks. That's fine if you're aiming for traditional publication. A year or two between books is expected. However, this is intended for e-publishing. In fact, it already has a publisher. This series is a spinoff of two books I wrote for an ebook publisher of erotic romances; part of the contract states they get first look/right of first refusal of any future book employing the same characters or setting/background. A secondary character in the other two books plays a major role in this series, so it has to go to them first. Epublishing in general relies on speed and putting out books as often as possible so you don't lose momentum, or your audience. The publisher's going to want a monthly schedule, and since I'm not a speedster plus I'm given to frequent blocks, I can't guarantee timely delivery--unless I write the entire thing at once, and don't even sub the first one until I've got at least five in the can. Even that would be risky. Better stick to all eight. For all I know, this artificial pressure I'm putting on myself is what's causing the blocks to begin with.

I did start with Book 1. It got boring. The characters in Book 3 were more interesting so I wrote that first. That one just flowed onto the screen. Then I went back to Book 1. It was still boring. I skipped to Book 2. Got stopped by the sex scene. Skipped to Book 4 and realized the plot was running off the rails. Then Book 7 grabbed me and demanded I write it, so I'm on that for the time being. And Book 2, which finally decided to tell me what its ending was. And now that I've let Book 1 sit a while, I think I know how to fix it. However, now it'll have to wait its turn.

The other problem is being a pantser in the first place. What if I wrote and published the first three books, then suddenly got an inspiration that would vastly improve the story, but contradict what was already out there? (This already happened within Book 1, so I was able to catch it.) Again, this is going through a publisher. I can't just take it down and re-upload a new version. Once it's published, it's in stone. So I need to write either most or all of it before I risk sending in the first one, so there won't be any messy surprises.

On top of that, I got an idea for a whole other series. I pursued that for a bit, but it petered out. I might go back to that at another point.

The good news is, things have happened within these books that inspired stand-alone sequels. Those I can write in any order I want, and take my time. Unless sales get really good on the series, and the publisher pushes for a book a month. I'll worry about that when I get there.
 

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Here I am, jumping in late and sporadically, as has been (and will likely continue to be) my MO. :hi:

Goals this month will be mainly NaNoWriMo prep. I have an idea I've been wanting to get going on for a couple years now, that felt too daunting for last year, but I'm hoping it will work this year. My plan for now is to get more familiar with it, build up the world, find that snake of a plot and actually outline it, so once November comes I might be able to finally just write it.

I did make words back on Day 1: 963 of 'em.
Day 4: 533 words

Second Moon - love the sound of your new project! As to your worry about it being too many things, I certainly don't think so, especially as a collection of short stories. It sounds like a fun world to explore.
 

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Got the forms filled out for the cover art on book two. I should have a first draft of a cover in 2 or 3 weeks.

Heard back from the formatter. Should have that done in the same time frame.

Started mocking up a few covers of my own for the short stories. I can't see forking out big dough (or even little dough) for covers for shorts.

I like them. :)
 
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TStarnes

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I'm just starting this, so I'll start on day 3 (yesterday) I guess.

I have a bunch of goals for this month if I want to hold to my current release schedule. I'm grouping these by projects instead of specific tasks, since that's how I track my progress.

The Sword of Jupiter
Editing: Finish getting the first book of a new alt-history time travel series called The Sword of Jupiter done (the series is called Imperium about a pilot from the future going to an alternate version of the ancient past where the Carthaginians won the 2nd Punic wars). The last draft came in at 191k words, and I need to get that trimmed down (large portions can stay, but the middle bogs down quite a bit so it's more cutting that writing on this draft), through my 2nd set of editors (line editors. The previous draft already went through one set of editors and I'm on those revisions now), revisions made and proofreading finished by the 4th week of the month so I can publish it.

Cover: Get the finalized cover design agreed on and finished for The Sword of Jupiter, again for the goal of finishing at the end of the month.

The Trumpets of Mars
Outlining: Book 2 of the Imperium series, I want to have the outline finished by the end of the month. I outline a lot (the last book in the series outline was just shy of 20k words), so it's quite the undertaking. I'd like to start writing this next month.

Fanfare
Writing: Continue writing this book (2nd in a coming of age series about a young musician). Word goal: 2,100 words a day.

Extraction
The 8th book in a thriller series (the John Taylor series). I finished outlining it last month and don't need to have it finished and ready to publish till the end of the year, but I'd like to finish writing it next month to leave December for edits and finalization.
Word goal: 750 words a day.



Day 3
Weekends are tough because kids have activities and it's hard to get quiet time. Missed some goals, but progress was made.

The Sword of Jupiter: Cut 3,247 words, wrote 733. Still have 21 chapters to finish
The Trumpets of Mars: no work done on outline. Sucks.
Fanfare: 1,424 words, not a huge miss on the goal, but a miss.
Extraction: 0 words, a big whiff
 
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Taylor Harbin

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I'm just starting this, so I'll start on day 3 (yesterday) I guess.

I have a bunch of goals for this month if I want to hold to my current release schedule. I'm grouping these by projects instead of specific tasks, since that's how I track my progress.

The Sword of Jupiter
Editing: Finish getting the first book of a new alt-history time travel series called The Sword of Jupiter done (the series is called Imperium about a pilot from the future going to an alternate version of the ancient past where the Carthaginians won the 2nd Punic wars). The last draft came in at 191k words, and I need to get that trimmed down (large portions can stay, but the middle bogs down quite a bit so it's more cutting that writing on this draft), through my 2nd set of editors (line editors. The previous draft already went through one set of editors and I'm on those revisions now), revisions made and proofreading finished by the 4th week of the month so I can publish it.

Cover: Get the finalized cover design agreed on and finished for The Sword of Jupiter, again for the goal of finishing at the end of the month.

The Trumpets of Mars
Outlining: Book 2 of the Imperium series, I want to have the outline finished by the end of the month. I outline a lot (the last book in the series outline was just shy of 20k words), so it's quite the undertaking. I'd like to start writing this next month.

Fanfare
Writing: Continue writing this book (2nd in a coming of age series about a young musician). Word goal: 2,100 words a day.

Extraction
The 8th book in a thriller series (the John Taylor series). I finished outlining it last month and don't need to have it finished and ready to publish till the end of the year, but I'd like to finish writing it next month to leave December for edits and finalization.
Word goal: 750 words a day.



Day 3
Weekends are tough because kids have activities and it's hard to get quiet time. Missed some goals, but progress was made.

The Sword of Jupiter: Cut 3,247 words, wrote 733. Still have 21 chapters to finish
The Trumpets of Mars: no work done on outline. Sucks.
Fanfare: 1,424 words, not a huge miss on the goal, but a miss.
Extraction: 0 words, a big whiff
You must be a pro or just have better time management that I do.

today wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped. Doctor’s appointment, tags for the car, bike ride with pup, groceries, termite inspection. Only got about 1.5 pages written on one story.
 
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TStarnes

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You must be a pro or just have better time management that I do.
So very far from a pro. I've only been doing this volume since July when I started on a new plan to make self-publishing work for me (since I've been doing 1 book a year since 2015, with lots of edits and being methodical and struggling to keep from losing a ton of money on editing and covers). But it does require a schedule that I have to try and stick to (although I don't always, hence the missed goals).
 

Cindyt

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Day 4

WORD COUNT 429

A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET (Draft 3) – Edited part pages in general and a new title for Part One: Prologue with is now Straws in the Wind.

NIGHTMARE IN BLACK (Draft 1) – The meaning behind the title is shocking. I made dock for it with all the front stuff, then started writing Chapter 1 without a clue, and hit that old muse groove, and wrote the first scene.

GROWING UP BUFORD blog, (Part Two: The Hunger) Crack Food Junkie – Edited a few paragraphs, hoping to pub later this week.

Moon – WTG on 413 words and the poem. Most of my few poems are sad because I have to be sad right down to boohooing before I can write one. The Miami poem I shared back when and my religious poems are exceptions.

Gatteau – Nice word counts. Popping in now and again is better than not showing up at all.

Woolly – Good luck on the cover art.

Helix – Sounds like you did have a productive day.

TStarnes – :hi: WTG on the trimming and adding words. Good luck with the other 21 chapters.
 

Nether

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Day 4 was 2,552 words. Again, lower than I'd hoped, but I hadn't got much sleep that night either and this was a few days in a row at that point.

While being tired can help me write, there's definitely a point where it gets to be a hindrance. At this point, I'm not sure whether the book isn't working as well as I'd hoped (although the daily average currently isn't that far under my quota) or the fact that I had several days in a row with almost no sleep. On the plus side, I finally felt tired so whatever it was might be ending.

I've decided to add some smaller/throwaway POVs because I have a major character whose head I want to stay out of yet there are events I need to at least partly depict in order to bridge to other scenes. If some of these end with the character's death, the overall plan stays the same. If I let them escape, the story might change in interesting ways. I'm not sure which direction I'll go because, again, the outline for this book is still developing since I didn't map the whole thing out ahead of time, and I'm still figuring out a lot of events in the middle of the book.

I'm also somewhat torn on what to do for book 9. I started planning out... well, it's a werewolf novel. I suppose I should say at least that to make these updates less confusing. Anyway, parts of it are from an idea I had maybe 10 or 15 years ago, where some of the original ideas will be transferring over, as well as a few things I'd thought of since then, and I need to winnow down the rest. While all of the iterations have a similar starting point, some lore elements vary and the character backstories (and conflicts) are a little different.

However, I have a gender-bending humor/horror/mystery on the backburner (partially plotted, and I keep expecting I'll plot it out further yet haven't) and I have that Christmas-themed horror novel. Basically I have to ask myself if I want to just write horror for the rest of the year, and all of these are adult horror novels.

First off, this is a closed series--eight single books that, when read in order, tell one big story. Like the Harry Potter series. It goes from Point A to Point B and then it's over. As with Harry Potter, I know where the story's going, I've already written the climax and I know how it all ends. That's all I have in common with J. K. Rowling. Since it's essentially one big super-novel, I'm okay with skipping around because I'm doing it within "chapters." If I'm working on Book 2 and suddenly get an inspiration that shoots me over to Book 6, yeah, I'm gonna run with it. It'll all fit together eventually.

I'm not sure I could write like that. :censored: Although I have a roadmap for my entire series that's mostly remained unchanged (although technically book 3's story changed, the villain was the same and the overall impact of the story was the same), I've added things to the roadmap since then and, even though the books are technically standalones (although one book is standalone in the same way that The Empire Strikes Back is a standalone (ie, the ending is basically a cliffhanger setting up the next thing)), I'd worry about running continuity. And the drive from finishing one book has helped me along with the next in the series. I probably could have just written the whole thing back-to-back, but I realized I wanted to try trade-publishing first and that would be a risky strategy for trade-publishing.

It's definitely an interesting approach, though. And I'll mention that my planning hasn't always necessarily been sequential.

Here's where the problems come in. I tend to write slowly, with more than occasional blocks. That's fine if you're aiming for traditional publication. A year or two between books is expected. However, this is intended for e-publishing. In fact, it already has a publisher. This series is a spinoff of two books I wrote for an ebook publisher of erotic romances; part of the contract states they get first look/right of first refusal of any future book employing the same characters or setting/background. A secondary character in the other two books plays a major role in this series, so it has to go to them first. Epublishing in general relies on speed and putting out books as often as possible so you don't lose momentum, or your audience. The publisher's going to want a monthly schedule, and since I'm not a speedster plus I'm given to frequent blocks, I can't guarantee timely delivery--unless I write the entire thing at once, and don't even sub the first one until I've got at least five in the can. Even that would be risky. Better stick to all eight. For all I know, this artificial pressure I'm putting on myself is what's causing the blocks to begin with.

Could you get around that by changing the character or setting? Or would that be too big of an issue? Or just a moot point because you're planning on using the same publisher anyway?

The other problem is being a pantser in the first place. What if I wrote and published the first three books, then suddenly got an inspiration that would vastly improve the story, but contradict what was already out there? (This already happened within Book 1, so I was able to catch it.) Again, this is going through a publisher. I can't just take it down and re-upload a new version. Once it's published, it's in stone. So I need to write either most or all of it before I risk sending in the first one, so there won't be any messy surprises.

Well, I guess where you already have the publisher lined up, the biggest risk is theoretically off the table, so you probably don't have to worry about needing to make massive revisions on one, then the next, and the next, and the next, which is a concern with my series.

Nether - It's a linked short story collection. It's about myths from all over Earth now living on Mars because they were being hunted by humans while on Earth.

Now I just have so many more questions! :p

Anyway, it sounds like a fun concept. I'm assuming by "linked," they probably all got up there the same way and that the characters from one story may appear in other stories?

NIGHTMARE IN BLACK (Draft 1) – The meaning behind the title is shocking.

I'm intrigued.
 

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Woohoo, CindyT, good on you! That is terrific progress.

Horror? If so, extra kudos from me :)
 
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Helix

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Righto.

Day 5: Still going, but here's the day so far.

  • Another of those two-tweet micromicrofictions completed and tweeted
  • Fiction short piece submitted, but I forgot to tick one of the boxes on the submission form. I am hurrying to finish the non-fic short piece, so I can send a correction note with it!
  • Shelving the pitch for the next couple of months, because it really needs to be sent in the lead up to the boreal spring
  • Once the non-fic piece goes off , Imma get onto a quick article for Medium
ETA: non-fic sent off, correction note done, Medium piece published, bed time.
 
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TStarnes

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Day 4
Did much better yesterday. Got a lot of pages written and edited, and hit most of my goals.

The Sword of Jupiter: Cut 8,810 words, wrote 1,814. Still have 18 chapters to finish.
The Trumpets of Mars: no work done on outline. I really need to get working on this.
Fanfare: 2,113 words written. Hit my goal. Horray.
Extraction: 786 words written. Also hit my goal.
 

The Second Moon

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Day 4 - 555 (what a cool number) words on Mars Belongs to the Magical

I bought my first ever poetry book. It's by Alicia Cook (If you've heard of her. I haven't but I look forward to reading it)

TStarnes - Wow! you hit a lot of goals.

Helix - Great work!

Nether - by "linked" I mean that it reads almost like a novel but is broken up into short stories. with their own ending. It only shows the POVs of four of the creatures, though. Two witches, a Kappa (A Japanese river creature) and a draugr (a Norwegian zombie ghost).

Cindyt - Yeah. I get having to be in the right mood to write poetry

Ptero- Thank you. I think it sounds interesting, too. I'm having a lot of fun with the world building.
 
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Taylor Harbin

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Every night this week is booked so I’m confined to thirty minutes before work. Managed about a page and a half, but I’m just throwing words onto paper. This story will be longer than usual (5000+ words) and I don’t want to turn it into a novella if I can help it.
Cramming exposition into a short story is hard. I’ve got three guys hired to protect a time traveler and get him out of a rioting city but they don’t know why everybody wants him dead and now he’s explaining it. A lot of this is going to have to be rewritten and moved around but I’ve never had a problem cutting before. I only worry it’ll be a bit too…contrived?
 

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My goals for the month of October.
1. Get married. My date is October 9th and while I am super excited to marry the love of my life, I am excited to have my free time open back up to
2. finally finish my novel. I am 92,000 words in and I can finally see my ending. :)
 

Pterofan

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Further responses to Nether:

No need to change anything. I'm not put out by the contractual obligation. I understand why that paragraph's in the contract, and I agree with it. Of course both the publisher and I would want related books to come out under the same imprint. It's a marketing tool. If you like the last book, you'll go for the next book--and maybe the other books I wrote for that publisher, including the two "prequels". This way both the publisher and I make money and can stay in business for another month.

However, there's a couple things involved here that might help some of you folks down the road. All the publisher is asking is first look at any book related to that particular book--so they can build a series and both of us can make sales. I can still, and have, write other books and either self-pub or market them elsewhere. Some publishers will demand first look at your next book regardless of subject matter. Read any contracts carefully, and make sure you don't get shackled to one publisher, especially if you wind up unhappy with them.

Even so, I almost ran afoul of the contractual obligation. The first book involved two guys; in the second, I added a woman. Then I started wondering what their kids would be like. I ended up writing a YA/NA book with no sex in it. It was totally wrong for the publisher, but it was still using characters and themes in common with the two books I'd already published with them. So I covered my butt and wrote to the publisher, explained the situation, and asked them if they'd want to read it anyway. They declined, and I was off the hook. That's what right of first refusal is. Once they turn it down, you can do whatever you want. I scrubbed any obvious signs of its origins from the narrative, slapped a variation of my byline on it, and found it a home at a publisher looking for NA. Lawyers were never involved. But when a contract is involved, always dot your i's and cross your t's.

KM - Congratulations!

Nether - Yay werewolves!
 

Taylor Harbin

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My goals for the month of October.
1. Get married. My date is October 9th and while I am super excited to marry the love of my life, I am excited to have my free time open back up to
2. finally finish my novel. I am 92,000 words in and I can finally see my ending. :)
Congrats!
 

Nether

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Day 5 was 1,616 words.

Incredibly lousy writing day. I was finally feeling the lack of sleep, so in the evening I kept taking naps... but the first few ones were short, like I still couldn't stay asleep. But then I just kept falling asleep.

Speaking of things going wrong, I got BSOD’d today, losing a small bit of writing – thankfully not a ton – which I tried to recreate from memory. It was right about that time that I confirmed I’d been calling a minor character the wrong name for a while. Whoops.

The chapter in general feels weird because it's told from the POV of a would-be victim who hasn’t figured out the other person is possessed (and so he references the name he knows the character by, vs the previous chapters I've just used the possessor's name). I guess it’s a good way of introducing the gimmick for when I use it as a twist again later.

I've stumbled on names a few times while writing this book because several of the ghosts are associated with two names (their name, and their body's name... and they switch bodies), although the really big name mix-up was the POV character's name who was only referenced by name once prior to this chapter. And I’m worried that if I can’t keep track of some of these guys, how the hell will the reader keep track of them? I guess maybe the context will make it easier for them, because they know who’s in any given scene whereas I’m just trying to remember a person’s name.

All that said, given the chapter's POV, I was finally able to insert a little suspense and a few scares into the novel. Because the story is mostly told from the perspective of the ghosts, it's a little lacking in that regard, even though there's already a body count.

And, on the subject of suspense, I also realized I was slipping in my YA tone at times. It's surprisingly hard to avoid, and I only realized it because I was starting to write a sentence with an ellipsis & exclamation point combo, which felt incredibly out of place.

And, continuing random segues based on the last thing said, I was writing out the blurb for book 9 (the BookEnds agency's YT videos often recommend writing the blurb before the book, so I thought I'd try it out because my planning lately hasn't been great), and realized the novel sounded more like a supernatural romance than a horror, which wasn't the direction I was thinking about. I might skew it more towards almost a horror-drama, where one of the gimmicks would be tied into more of a character thing.

And, continuing in the great tradition of starting my sentences with "and," on a final note in my too-long update, I'm still behind on an exchange with a critique partner.

The Sword of Jupiter: Cut 8,810 words, wrote 1,814. Still have 18 chapters to finish.

Geez. I'm impressed you managed to cut that much in a short period. Were you getting rid of whole chapters or scenes?

Every night this week is booked so I’m confined to thirty minutes before work.

The important thing is that even small efforts add up over time, so it's still progress.

Nether - by "linked" I mean that it reads almost like a novel but is broken up into short stories. with their own ending. It only shows the POVs of four of the creatures, though. Two witches, a Kappa (A Japanese river creature) and a draugr (a Norwegian zombie ghost).

Just out of curiosity, how'd you settle on those four? And are they the same kind of witches? Up until maybe Skyrim, I'm not sure I'd heard of a draugr, and it seems like an interesting choice.

All the publisher is asking is first look at any book related to that particular book--so they can build a series and both of us can make sales.

Out of curiosity, what happens if they pass on the next book using those characters. Do they still get first look at the books thereafter? Or does that go to whoever wound up publishing the book they declined?

Nether - Yay werewolves!

They've always been one of my favorite horror monsters.
 

Helix

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Day 6: moderately productive, but I stuffed around for a few hours in the middle of the day, so didn't quite get as much done as I'd planned.

  • two-tweet micromicrofiction. Tomorrow's the last day for those, so I'll have to find another way to start the creative day, like, I dunno, writing something else.
  • article for Medium
  • outline for a 750-word non-fic piece with a Monday deadline

Dinner and then maybe a few more words.