History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

May recap

By the numbers:
Stories out at the beginning of the month: 3
Acceptances received: 0
Rejections received: 0
Resubmissions: 0
New Submissions: 0
Stories out at the end of the month: 3

Unsurprisingly, no movement on the short story front. Everything that I have out is out at markets that I’m expecting will take a while to respond. This is actually intentional, because I didn’t want to worry about any of my short stories while I was writing my novel.

And speaking of the novel, SUCCESS! I finished the first draft of my novel this past Monday. It clocked in just under 60,000 words in this draft, which is a bit short, but I already know that I will be adding word count when I start on the first round of revisions. I have notes that even tell me WHERE some of that word count is going to be.

Because I am kind of a massive dork, I actually broke down the novel numbers. I tracked word count for each section of the outline that I wrote, as a way to help me monitor how well I had broken down the overall plot into chunks. I then was able to calculate word count for each chapter, and I kept track of word count for each day I wrote.

Novel Stats:
Days of writing: 22
Total words written: 58,546
Average words per day: 2,661
Average words per chapter: 2,545.5
Average words per section: 848.5

If you look at it by the averages, I wrote slightly more than a chapter each day. This isn’t exactly true, though, if you look at the individual day word counts. For example, when I realized that the end was in sight, and that I had a three day weekend, I cranked out more than 15,000 words in a four day stretch, 10,000 of them on two days alone.

For those of you familiar with NaNoWriMo, had this been my NaNo novel, I would have technically rocked it. But I actually started writing on April 22nd and finished on May 27th, so my 22 days of writing were spread over a month and some change. I consistently took Wednesdays and Fridays off from writing, and also gave myself every other Sunday off. There were a couple of other days when life, illness, or other complications knocked me out of my writing habit, but I managed to keep those few and far between. And since I originally had planned to finish by June 8th, I came in almost 2 weeks ahead of schedule. Not bad, all in all.

Oh, and that outline I wrote? Best thing I have ever done. Seriously. I have done a lot of “seat of my pants” writing, and it usually means that I flop around for a while and might get a story done eventually, if it doesn’t go off the rails before I get to the end. I’m now determined to outline just about everything I write. It might not always be a formal outline, but if I don’t know the beginning, middle, and end of my idea, from here on out, it gets to percolate until I have all of those pieces.

So what’s next for this novel? Well, first it gets to sit for a while, without me or anyone else looking at it. I’ll pick it back up at the very tail end of June, and spend July and the beginning of August carefully looking at each chapter, tweaking what I’ve written, adding more words, and cleaning the whole thing up. When that’s done, I hope to send it out to some beta readers, who I have not yet identified. Well, I know that the hubbie will be one of them. I haven’t really looked for any readers yet, though, as I want to be sure that I will get them the manuscript when I think I will.

And then I’m hoping to knock out a second round of revisions, with helpful feedback from my readers, in October, just in time to write another novel for NaNo! Then I get to think about publication, but I’m so far from that point that I haven’t really considered what happens at that stage. I’m thinking I want to try traditional publication, though, which means learning new things about agents and publishing houses and contracts, oh my!

In the spaces in between, I’ve got more short stories to write, and old short stories to work on. But I’m glad that I set all of the short stories aside and blocked out this month to write this novel. Sure, I could have done it as my NaNo for this year. But this was an idea that had been floundering as a short story, largely because there was so much going on. I really love the world and the characters, so I wanted them to get some space to stretch their wings, so to speak. And I was chomping at the bit to just do it. So I did. And now I get to write something else for NaNo… which I’ll have to figure out sooner or later, because I’ve got two ideas competing for that slot right now. But now I know that I can do one of them in November, and then the next one, maybe next May!

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