Alaskan Hope Update

cover design_Alaskan HopeAfter much deliberation and procrastination, I'm writing this post to let you know that work on Alaskan Hope is going to be postponed. I've struggled with the story from the first day I started working on it, and to be completely honest, I'm just not enjoying the story at all. I've tried to get myself excited about it in a variety of ways, including having the immensely talented Lori Gnahn create a cover for it (isn't it gorgeous?). I've told myself I can't work on anything else until I get Alaskan Hope done. And I've pretty much beaten myself up daily for not being interested in working on it.

It's not just a case of startitis (starting many projects and not finishing them), there's something fundamentally wrong with what I have completed so far on the manuscript and I can't figure out what it is. So, rather than push through and write 65,000 words of a story I don't love, I'm just going to set it aside for an undetermined amount of time.

When it does get completed, you'll be much happier with the story than if I did it now. I will be much happier with it if I wait until I figure out what I don't like about it.

I'm currently working on a rough draft that may or may not ever amount to anything. It's my project for this month's Book-in-a-Week challenge. (So far I've completed 40 pages of my 100 page goal.) When I'm done with this week, I'm going to sort through some of my other projects and see what's floated to the top of the pond. I have a few different stories that I'm contemplating revising. I suspect one of those will be the next to be available.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding.

November BIW: Fail

It's Saturday night, Day 6 of the November BIW challenge. I've written 29 pages. That means, in order to achieve my goal of 200 pages, I have to finish 171 pages by 7 am (my time) Monday morning. I have a whole list of reasons/excuses why I haven't accomplished more. It really comes down to the fact that I didn't apply myself. Monday, I got some done. Not a lot, but some. Tuesday, I wasted my writing time by staring at the television as the election results came in, like somehow me watching was going to affect the results.

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BIW & NaNoWriMo in one convenient week?

It's November which means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and BIW (Book in a Week). NaNoWriMo started on the first of November and BIW starts tomorrow. The premise of NaNoWriMo is to write the rough draft of a 50,000 word novel in one month. Thousands of people accept the challenge each year and urge each other to the finish line in forums and chatrooms. Faceoff of the Heart is my NaNoWriMo novel from 2006 (with lots of editing and changes).

If you've read my blog for a while, you already know about BIW. ;) Perhaps you remember from last month that I gave up on BIW as soon as I reached my goal, which was Friday afternoon, wasting an entire weekend that I could have been adding pages.

This month for BIW, I set my goal at 200 pages, which just happens to come out to approximately 50,000 words. Conveniently, 50,000 words is the magic winning number for NaNo.

Most likely, I've bitten off more than I can chew. But, it is supposed to be a challenge so there we go. Challenge away. Even if I don't manage the entire 200 pages in one week, I'll get a substantial amount of writing done and that'll make me happy.

I hope to have the rough draft of Mercy wrapped up by the end of the month. My goal for Mercy is 100,000 words, but whatever it takes to complete the story is what will happen.

What are your goals for BIW and/or NaNoWriMo?

Results of October Book In a Week

I know it's been a while , but I didn't get a chance to post my results of October Book In a Week yet. I had set my goal at 100 pages. The week started out successfully and improved each day. My most productive day ended with 25 pages (roughly 6250 words). I knew that I wouldn't be writing much on Saturday because I had a friend visiting from out of town, but I did expect to use 7 hours in the car on Sunday as a chance to get a lot of writing done.

However, I achieved the 100 page goal on Friday evening and didn't write at all for the rest of the weekend. I guess I should have set my goal higher so I'd kept working on it over the remainder of the weekend.

I just checked the results of October Book in a Week and I was the 6th most productive writer for the challenge. The most productive writer completed 280 pages during the week. Wow!

I'm unsure whether I'll be participating in November's Book In a Week. I have a heavy schedule to get Faceoff of the Heart revised on time, but maybe I'll be ahead of schedule with the revisions by that time and will need to take a week away from it. If I do participate in November's challenge, I'm going to increase my goal again.

What do you guys think would be an appropriate goal for Book In a Week? 150 pages? 200 pages? An entire novel (since November is National Novel Writing Month)?

What do you guys think of challenges such as NaNoWriMo and BIW? Is it a surefire way to burn out? Or is it a good way to boost productivity?

Update on Faceoff of the Heart

800x1280_Faceoff of th#1418I finished the first revision of Faceoff of the Heart during the first week of October. Writing some new scenes was part of my 100-page challenge for Book In a Week. There weren't a lot of surprises as I finished those scenes, but a few things turned out differently than I expected. Even with an outline, and notes galore, my characters still managed to change the story a little from what I originally thought it was.

I tried to force them to behave as I thought they should, but it just didn't ring true and I struggled to write the words in those scenes. Once I surrendered to Rhianna, Cam, and Luk, the words came easier.

People who don't write think writers create the stories they read, but honestly, I'm just the middle(wo)man who gets the story from the characters to the readers.

I took some time off over the weekend to redo my office and I'm currently working my way through the second revision of Faceoff of the Heart at my huge new desk.

As you can see there's now a cover for the book. Lori Gnahn captured the image in my mind perfectly and now I'm doing my best to make sure the story is good enough for such an awesome cover.

I'd love to hear what you think of the cover.

Goal: 100 pages in a week

It's time for BIW again. The time off flew by, and I considered skipping it this month, but I was so productive last month with the challenge that I decided to sign up. I committed to 100 pages in a week. That's a lot of writing, but how proud will I be if I achieve it? That's twice as many pages as I set my goal for last month. And thirty more pages than I achieved last month. And if I write the entire 100 pages for Pucked (I don't know why but that title seems to be sticking, at least in my mind. For now.), the draft will be completed, as long as the characters cooperate and don't change the story on me again.

I don't really have a plan, other than write like crazy. Again, I have an outline of what the characters are supposed to do. I'm kinda curious whether they'll follow the plan or send me off on some tangent.

I decided to do this Saturday night, so I spent the weekend telling myself, "You're nuts. You have two kids, you have an office to clean, you have a full-time job, you have plans for doing other things." Yet, I kept responding, "Oh pshaw. What's a hundred pages? No problem."

My secret weapon? A long car ride on Sunday. And by "long car ride" I mean around 6 hours in the car. No internet access. No kids. No games on my laptop. And a husband who doesn't like to be the passenger. Surely, I'll be able to finish everything I didn't finish during the rest of the week. And if I complete that goal, well...

I'll find something else to write. Or I'll catch up on my sleep.

That's 14.28 pages per day. What do you think? Is 100 pages in a week possible?

Now I'm contemplating NaNoWriMo. Really, that shouldn't be a problem, should it? If I can accomplish 100 pages in a week, I'd just have to work on my NaNoWriMo novel for two weeks (100 pages in a week times two). OR! I could write 2 NaNoWriMo novels 100 pages in a week times 4). Or one really long NaNoWriMo novel. Really, the possibilities for November are endless.

Entire 50,000 word rough draft in one week? Hmmm....

I'm a top ten producer for Book In a Week

I finished September's Book in a week Challenge about a week ago, but haven't had a chance to share my results because I've been so busy. Since I'm sure you're all dying to know how I did, here ya go. I managed to finish 70.5 pages in one week. I'm pretty impressed with myself. Granted, the seventy pages aren't all that great. It's very, very, rough draft material, but it's more material than I had at the end of August.

For the first five days, I focused on Alaskan Hope. I estimate that I completed 55-60 pages for that rough draft. I assume that makes anyone waiting for a sequel to Alaskan Healing happy.

The last two days, I focused on the yet-unnamed-hockey novel. While 15 pages isn't a lot, it's, again, fifteen more pages than I had for it in August.

How did I write 70.5 pages in 7 days? I made myself do it. There were a few days that I wrote absolutely nothing, but I made up for it on the other days. I set the goal for myself and told everyone that it was my goal. I'm stubborn. I didn't want to tell anyone I failed. So, in the end, I spent a LOT of time over the weekend, doing nothing but writing.

Once I got the kids to sleep, I stayed up waaaay too late, writing as much as I could so I'd achieve my goal. And I did. With 20.5 extra pages.

If you think 70.5 pages in a week is a lot, I have to tell you, I was the 10th top producer for the month. That means nine people wrote more than I did. Some of them were in the 200+ page range. I don't want to sound like I'm bitter, but I speculate those people don't have two small children running around, plus a dead website during the week.

I doubt I'll ever be the top producer for Book in a Week, but I'm definitely going to try to stay in the top ten each time I participate. It's a good way to push myself to achieve bigger and better things.