JulNoWriMo on the Road!

I have to start off by saying that I met my JulNoWriMo revised goal to get my historical romance up to 50k words.

How I got there is a convoluted comedy of errors.

The hubs and I just got home yesterday from a week and a half long vacation around New England, and since I anticipated having a nine-hour drive on the first travel day, I figured I’d get a lot of writing done. I’d managed to get myself up to about 42k words by Tuesday evening, and figured that with all that “captive audience” time, I’d have my work done before we ever reached Bar Harbor, Maine, and I could spend the rest of vacation enjoying the fact that a) I was on vacation, and b) I had met my goal.

This was not meant to be, however. My husband had an A/C inverter that was about ten years old. (Side note for those of you who don’t know what an inverter is, it’s this little gizmo that you plug into the charging outlet in your car (or cigarette lighter if your vehicle is that old), and the D/C power from your car’s battery is inverted into A/C power for any electronic gadget you wish to plug in). We’d used it before, but admittedly it’d been a while. I started off trying to work off my netbook’s batter, but because of the power save features the screen was too dim to see thanks to the glare of sunlight. So I set up the inverter, got my A/C power and brighter screen going, and went to town.

Only to discover in short order that, for whatever reason, the inverter was toast. It shorted out the fuse for that outlet. We tried it on another, wondering if it was just that outlet and we knew the other one worked. Shorted that one out too. So we had to make an unscheduled stop at the Walmart in Montpelier, Vermont, to buy new fuses.

Which turned out to be the wrong size. So we had to go to Autozone, and thankfully they had the right fuses, and my husband had to become a contortionist in order to get the fuses changed. Because I drive a Honda, and Honda doesn’t make anything like this easy.  He also bought a new inverter, which did not short anything out, and I was able to get myself within 4k of my goal before it was my turn to drive.

We camped in Maine, so there wasn’t much opportunity to do any writing. Plus, you know, there was all the hiking and whale watching and eating lobster. (Excuse me. Lobstah. Gotta say it right to sound like a “Bah Hah-bah” native.) However, we had a five hour drive or so to Newport, Rhode Island on Monday, so I hammered out about 3300 words. Only 700 to the finish line! But again, no time for writing in Newport. Too busy sight seeing and checking out Gilded Age mansions and carousing the length of the Cliff Walk.

Our last official stop on the trip was New Haven, Connecticut, and I told the hubs I HAD to get those last 700 words done. So once we got back to the hotel after dinner, he putzed around on the first “real” internet connection we’d had in almost a week while I went to town. And I blew that word count out of the water.

So I’m left with about 30k to finish before the end of the summer, and then I’ll let the inner editor out of her box. In the meantime…

JulNoWriMo goal met!

success baby

Motivated, but no energy

I got this brilliant (okay, maybe I’m the only one who’ll think it’s brilliant) idea for a short-ish story about, oh a month ago. And I even set myself a deadline – because we all know how I am about deadlines.  I outlined about half of the story, though the other half is pretty well complete in my head, wrote the first scene…

And then sat on it till, oh, Sunday night.

Why is this bad?  Because the deadline I set for myself is October 13th.  Which is this Saturday.  Why?  Because there’s a bit of a contest/submission call-out I want to enter, and the deadline for submissions is October 15th.  So I’ve been furiously typing away for the past two days, determined to finish because my writing software says I’ll make it if I can hammer out about 4000 words each day.

No problem right?

Well, slight one.

See, I would totally have chalked this one up to the “oh crap I didn’t plan my time well at all” thing, as normally I spend 6+ hours a day teaching a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds how to, you know, read and stuff.

But then I had to have surgery on Monday – minor, everything’s good – and needed to take at least two days off work to properly set myself on the road to being mended.  And I thought, “Hey, I can get a lot of writing done!”

Well, yeah… About that…

Being semi-supine on the couch for two days (actually three, since I’m not quite feeling up to wrangling the second graders tomorrow) would contribute to a lot of word count bad-assery. At least, one would think so.  But though I’ve got this killer idea and lots of motivation to make it happen,  it turns out that even having minor surgery makes one tired, unable to focus, and

SQUIRREL!!!!

on the internet.

I shouldn’t complain too much.  Looks like I’ll be better enough to make it into work on Friday, and my word count stands at around 6500, which, according to my software’s calculations, is about a third of the 20k words I’m aiming for. So I guess we have to see what happens.

Word Count Panic

You may recall that I completed my rewrite a few weeks ago.  After letting my manuscript “rest” for a week or so, I sat down and read the whole thing out loud beginning to end, marking and commenting for future revision as I went.  I was pleased to discover how happy I was, overall, with the first draft.  I only had a few spots that needed real revision, and I did a “soft” edit of those spots once I finished reading through the whole thing.

Then I started doing a bit of research on literary agents, and guess what I discovered?

The going word count for first-time novelists is 80-100k words.

My manuscript clocks in at approximately 240k.

I’m totally panicking.

On one hand, I can understand the need for a shorter manuscript.  Publishers can sell more skinny books. I get that.  But… but…

MY STORY!

I could theoretically break it into two books with minimal revision, but the publication of a sequel is dependent on the success of the first book.  Nothing is guaranteed.

There is always the indie book route, wherein one self-publishes with a service like CreateSpace. (I am seriously considering their copy editing service.)  But I’m a traditionalist at this point, mostly because, unfortunately, there’s a lot of self-published drivel out there.

I, by no means, think I’m the next Margaret Mitchell.  But neither do I believe my book is drivel.  I’ve read some bad self-published stuff on my Kindle Fire recently (because it was free to download, mind you, and was in a genre I generally like).  I don’t want to get lumped in and lost among the literary dregs.

So I’m panicking a little because, while I know I still need to do some more editing, I don’t see how I can cut out one hundred forty thousand words without ending up with a story that’s choppy, incoherent, and so bare bones anyone with half a literary brain would shudder over it.