Ten Days a Novel: Day IX

I have done it and I am happy. That was the most difficult writing task I've ever given myself. It left me beat and sore, as if I was physically doing something, but it's finished and I am equal parts relieved and happy. Man, it feels good to have pounded this thing out. I think under the perfect circumstances (right story in mind, cast mostly predetermined, cool weather, limited distractions, music playlist arranged and set with multiple elements in mind), I could do a story this length in three days, but we'll see if I want to beat myself up like this again (and worse). Sunday: 9:45 AM - Woke up, ate breakfast (more Red Berries without any red berries), 10:15 AM - Writing 12:30 PM - Lunch

Ten Days a Novel: Day VIII

Today had begun with me flying. I got a ton of story down in about two and three quarter hours, but I must not have moved enough (this happens when I'm in the zone with anything), because when I stopped to workout, I did the first of the interval sets (jumping jacks) and something rattled funny in my spine. After that, I was achy and distracted from my neck to my shoulders. This forced me to have a long nap to attempt sleeping it off (after pills didn't fix me up). So I went from thinking I could finish this story today with me putting it off until tomorrow. I know how it's going to end and I'll get there in three to five thousand more words, I just don't have the energy to do it tonight. Sa

Ten Days a Novel: Day VII

Very good day. Words came easily and my brain had a bunch of surprises for me. Shame it came on a Friday (which is movie night in my neck of the universe). If I get on a tear, it's possible I finish this tomorrow. Friday: 10:15 AM - Woke up, breakfast (same again), gave cats extended pets 10:45 AM - Writing 2:00 PM - Lunch (leftovers sampler) 2:45 PM - Writing 4:00 PM - House chores 4:30 PM - Writing 5:00 PM - Hockey (boo), supper (lamb and rice), Walmart, drugstore, watched movie (Thelma & Louise) 11:00 PM - Writing 12:30 AM - Exercise bike (started Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron), shower 2:30 AM - Writing 3:15 AM - Blog Day VII Word Count: 5,028 Total Word Count: 50,610

Ten Days a Novel: Day VI

Today was tough. I know three or four steps ahead now and for me, that makes it tougher to write. I like when it's spilling and I'm completely surprised, which is how it gets working eventually when I know what's coming, but it's harder to get moving. Was wiped all day. Even after sleeping in. Didn't work out. Hardly met the minimum, thankfully that bad movie gave me a visual that spurred my brain. Hopefully I can finish early, no doubt now, I'm going to finish this in time (unless some tragedy strikes). Thursday: 11:30 AM - Woke up (the cats were fucking nuts all night), breakfast (same) 11:45 AM - Writing 2:45 PM - Lunch (corned beef and hummus sandwiches) 3:15 PM - Writing 4:15 PM - Too h

Ten Days a Novel: Day V

Strange day. Started out strong, then fizzled some. But I'm still ahead of schedule and I can pretty well see where things need to go from here. If numbers keep up, I'll finish on time. No way to tell now if it's going to be good enough to place, but I think it's a fun idea. I'll spill more beans once I'm through. Wednesday 10:30 AM - Woke up, breakfast (Red Berries again) 10:45 AM - Writing 1:15 PM - Lunch (crackers and hummus), more videos of bad stuff in the ocean 2:00 PM - Writing 3:15 PM - Walking (listened to end of Victor LaValle's The Changeling, very good) 5:00 PM - Reading (new Owen King novelette, Positive Comments, very good) 6:00 PM - Supper (meat pies and taters with gravy), w

Ten Days a Novel: Day IV

Today was the most difficult yet. I think I must've been really grinding my teeth in my sleep because I had one of those headaches that digs right into the bones. I took a bunch of Tylenol, but those headaches that become body aches drain me something awful. So, I was unfocused and struggling to see what was coming next for much of the day (and I even had an idea of where I'd get to). Turns out it's harder than I thought to get a good idea of ocean monster movies that aren't about a hunter going out and hunting, or scientists, or bikini babes kicking away from great whites. Did watch a good portion of Deepstar Six (turns out the late, great Miguel Ferrer is in it). I hope my complete lack of

Ten Days a Novel: Day III

It was another slow morning. Then a slow afternoon. The words really only came easily after my workout. Something about sweating like crazy that clears the head and allows the creative subconscious to build up a ready outpouring. I also noticed I've mentioned some of the food I'm eating, but not all the food. I eat a ton of granola bars and drink about a pot of coffee throughout the day. Based on where I am on the map (I have a start point and an end point I'm working with, physically I mean), I'm right close to halfway through the story. So, yippee. Monday: 9:30 AM - Woke up, breakfast (Red Berries again) 9:45 AM - Started reading and answering emails, stopped myself 10:15 AM - Writing 1:00

Ten Days a Novel: Day II

The day started well enough. The words weren't as easy as the first day. I'd pretty well spent the brunt of the coming and going thoughts I'd had about the story, but once I got into it, things started rolling. Using a road and map is helping me gauge how far I ought to be in the story. I've been trying to watch bits of movies to get ideas, but I don't know which to watch. I wasted a few minutes scrolling on YouTube and doing that will kill my plan. Mostly. I have an idea on some stuff that might help with visuals, maybe it's better if I can't think too far ahead, don't want to corner my cast or get derivative. And the day's diary. Sunday 9:45 AM - Woke up, ate breakfast (Special K Red Berri

Ten Days a Novel: Day I

Unnerving and then outside editing and critiques have been swallowing much of my creative juices. I can give myself all the time I'd ever need, but if I'm working on somebody else's stuff, I'm screwing myself out of a word count. Other people's stuff, it just saps you. With that in mind, I've had an idea floating for the last few weeks about a monster(s) novel that mashes a bunch of stuff and sets it to a TV show run by the CBC that basically documents criminals trying to make it to the paradise (somewhere in Alaska, not sure where just yet) beyond the irradiated, flooded, and floored western half of Canada (starting in Brandon, Manitoba). Anyway, I don't have most of the particulars yet bec

Some Moaning and a Review

There are a number of things you can typically expect from self-published books thanks to an underachieving, or perhaps just impatient, majority (from the sampling that has come my way). It’s not only that the errors and irritating attributes are there, it’s that they’re abundant and glaring. (Flaws like derivative characters, stories, scenery, and situations, ribbon thin characters, and illogical plot movement.) It makes me weary of taking the time to read self-pubbed books, I mean there are millions of good, vetted books I’ll never get to read, why bother with bad ones? Why indeed. I’d first bumped into the work of Israel Finn via a submission to Unnerving Magazine. A great story titled A

Writing Observation: Many Words in the Sea

I’ve been working through the most recent stack of pocket paperback horror purchases and right now, I’m in the midst of Ghost House by Clare McNally. A perfectly professional publisher, Bantam, and a perfectly professional looking book. However, I’m being beaten to death by redundancies in word choice. On a page I’d recently read, five words were used two or more times in single short paragraphs, a couple used four times in a paragraph. I see this in novels and short stories I critique (yeah, plugging it right here in case you’re interested) and consider for publication, but that’s to be expected. Folks seek critiques to understand where they’re going wrong and submissions usually haven't be

Writing Observation: Getting Sneaky

Recently, I got a hold of one the bucket paperbacks I’d been keeping an eye out for over the last few years: The Elementals by Malcolm McDowell. It’s a very good book, I was not at all disappointed, but that’s not the point of this post. It’s about the beginning and why it worked so damned well… and why most new writers won’t be able to get away with something like this. It opens with the weather (faux pas, and for most subs I see, a thing on a mental checklist to demand changed if the story makes it through to edits). The story then slides into long, monotonous detail about a church. It then details the suit a man has on and then what a woman has on and it continues describing as if checkin

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