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I realize the time for a New Year’s resolution is a few weeks away, but it’s on my mind now so I figured I’d write while it’s on the forefront.

My goal for this year is to get my first draft researched, edited and completed enough that I can start sending out queries by the end of the year.

I’m this close to typing “the end” with the book. I wrote about 700 more words today, bringing me closer to the goal. I’m not sure exactly how much is left–guessing between 7-10 chapters–but I’m not entirely sure on that so I’ll just say that I’ll finish when I finish. ๐Ÿ˜›

Yesterday at my critique group organizational meeting, we made goals and changes for the year to help things move along better.ย  We used to submit our chapters or sections a week ahead of time, but the majority of the group was having a hard time getting things read and critiqued well in that time span since two people per week were normally critiqued (there are only seven of us). We decided to make submissions due two weeks ahead of our critique date, giving everyone plenty more time to do a thorough reading.

My first session is January 22nd, meaning I need to have something up by the end of the first week in January. So I really need to get this book done, so I can go back and focus on editing the chapter that’s up next–it generally takes me a week to do that ๐Ÿ˜›

We also decided that we should post a running synopsis of our book up to that point so that if we have to skip a week here and there, we aren’t lost. I found this great idea because a good chunk of my book is changing (at least from what they’ve already read) so instead of submitting new or redone chapters that take place a good deal before where they left off, they won’t be confused and I won’t get comments about continuity ๐Ÿ˜› This should be fairly easy to do as I have a running chapter synopsis anyway.

That’s pretty much all we’ve changed for the year, but it should make things easier for all of us.

Anyway, I am wondering (and worrying slightly) about the monumental task of research waiting for me at the end of my first draft. It’s something I try not to dwell on too much now, but it’s hard not to, as it is a mountain I’m going to have to climb at some point. I am hoping that it won’t be as hard as I thought, but with a completely different culture, language and time period, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Not to mention the task of editing…cannot forget that important aspect.

Anyway, the contest I mentioned in the previous post has chosen finalists. The paragraphs were good–not my taste and most of them were too long in my opinion–but well written. I don’t think any of them are books I’d actually pick up and read by the paragraph alone, but it all comes down to a matter of taste.

Of course I hoped I’d be one of the finalists, but out of 1300+ entries, it was slim. Still, the hope was there as well as the slight disappointment that followed. I see it as practice for the mounds of rejection letters I will probably receive in the coming years for my book ๐Ÿ˜›

One good thing about it though is that if mine was chosen and a partial ms was requested, I’d be scrambling around, editing like mad. I may have over 3/4 of the book completed, but a very small portion of that (perhaps like two chapters) are good enough to even be looked at by an agent. So it was for a reason that I didn’t win at this time–but I will eventually succeed in landing an agent and a contract–I am determined to do such, even if the publishing industry becomes more and more selective and difficult to break through. I will not be deterred! ๐Ÿ™‚

And on that note, I’m off to bed. This post was becoming a bit on the long and rambling side anyway.

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I’m putting a plug in for literary agentย Nathan Bransford’s Ultimate 1st Paragraph Challenge.ย All the details are on his site, but the gist of it is to submit the first paragraph of your WiP by Thursday, the 11th at 4 p.m. Pacific time. (I’m sure he’ll love even more entries to read, lol). He’ll post the finalists on Friday and then readers will vote on which one they think is the best.

Currently there are almost 1000 comments/entries. I doubt I’ll win or even come close, but it was interesting to at least enter. Can’t say I didn’t try, right?

Here’s what I entered:

The brisk fall breeze blew throughout the small garden, bringing with it the promise of the long, cold, winter.
The winter of my life, young Sophie thought. A tiny cry came from her baby, as if sensing the despair of the moment.
โ€œHush, my little one,โ€ she said. โ€œNo need to cry.โ€ She rocked her daughter, trying to soothe her while wiping the tears from her own eyes.

Not the greatest piece of prose ever written, but I’m rather fond of itย at least ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, it’s interesting to read some of the entries and see what people are working on. There’s definitely a lot of talent out there!

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I’m less than 4K away from being an official winner of NaNo.

I am hoping I can reach the 50K mark tomorrow,ย  but that means it’ll have to be a slow day at work, for I really won’t have time afterward to work on it. We’re going to the in-laws for dinner then off to the church to set up for Thanksgiving the following day. And then I have to come back and make brownies…but that may end up waiting until Thanksgiving morning depending on how late it is (I don’t really want to be making brownies at 10 o’clock at night…)

Apparently I wrote slightly more than 4K today, not realizing it. I hit the part where my MC was kidnapped and the scene got rather violent with people being stabbed through with swords, sliced in the side, and some fingers sliced off. I’ll probably need to expand the scene more since I’m really horrible at writing action scenes, but the basis of it is there.

The next part will be hard to write as my character is being held hostage. She won’t be kept in a hovel or anything–actually she’ll be kept hostage in rather luxurious surroundings–but it will be hard for me to write where she’s living in constant fear and possibly getting smacked around a bit.

Apparently my actual “historical” character, Mitsuru Toyama, is becoming more of a bad guy than I planned for. He’s slowly taking over my initial antagonist’s role…and may be the true bad guy in the story. My antagonist is still there, but I’m thinking he’s going to become more of a character to pity in the long run as he is pretty much selling his soul to be accepted by Mitsuru.

I should probably do my research and see if this Mitsuru Toyama guy is as bad as I’m making him…but considering he was the leader of an ultranationalist group that employed terrorist tactics and blackmail to gain power, I’m thinking I’m not far off base. Not to mention he was involved in nearly killing the prime minister in 1889… Oh and the fact that the guy was pretty much one of the key players in eventually turning the country towards World War II years down the line with his desire to take over the Asian continent.

So things are going well on the writing front and I’m thinking there’s probably another 15 or 20K before I type “The End.” Then comes the long process of editing…and researching. Oh, they profound joy.

Official Word Count: 46,509

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So, life got busy and I haven’t realized that it’s been so long since I last updated. It’s not much of an excuse really…I must admit that my inner “bum” sort of took a hold of me the last week or so. There were a few days I didn’t write at all and just sat around the house watching TV or a movie or old Gilmore Girls episodes instead of being productive.

Anyway, today Phil comes back from his business trip in Seattle, thus ending the ten days that we’ve been apart. Of course his flight doesn’t even come in until 10:30 tonight, but at least I know I don’t have to sleep alone any more ๐Ÿ˜›

On the writing front, I’m slowly but surely coming along with the NaNo novel. I’m still ahead of where we are supposed to be (despite the two days of not writing at all). Unfortunately it seems to be lacking in quality as the days go by. I didn’t think that it could get much worse–but it has ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, I’m getting to a major turning point in the novel, where the antagonist finds my MC and kidnaps her. I’m still uncertain if there’s going to be a death in the process (I’m unfortunately leaning towards yes…as much as I love the character that will probably die in defending her…). I suppose I’ll find out fairly soon as it will be in the next two chapters.

That’s pretty much it…I’m doubting the book will actually be finished by the end of the month, but it should be within a few chapters.

Official Word Count: 36,737

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I realize I have temporarily slacked off in my daily word counts.

Anyway, on Monday, I didn’t do any writing, as writing over 4K pretty much zapped any sort of thinking from me, so I took a break.

Yesterday I fully expected to only write my normal 2K…and ended up almost doubling it again ๐Ÿ˜› I didn’t realize I was caught up in the scene until my hands started to hurt and I checked the word count.

So I’m taking another break today; I may write a little more later tonight, but it probably won’t be much more than 1K.

Because of my two 4K days, I pulled ahead of my sister in word count, which has irked her ๐Ÿ˜› However she’s catching up fairly quickly…

Perhaps I should not take that break…

Official word count: 28,170

(BTW, that word count is only the “second half” or so of the novel; I think total my novel would be right around 75K or so, but that’s a rough guess)

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I think my eyes are on the verge of falling out from all the typing I’ve done since Thursday.

Since the last entry I’ve written 7,435 words. In two days.

For some writers, that may seem like a small number but to me, who only averages about 2000 or so daily, that is a monumental amount.

I wrote slightly over 4,000 today alone. I don’t know how, but it happened ๐Ÿ˜› And I was nearly all tapped out of creative juices.

I think tomorrow I may take a slight break; I’m going to at least write enough to get me to the 25 K mark, which is somewhere between 700-800 words.

But I think I’ve earned a tiny break ๐Ÿ˜› Of course I believe my hands and my brain are screaming at me from spending too much time typing and staring at small print on a computer screen. So tomorrow will be mostly for recharging and refueling. ๐Ÿ˜›

Official word count: 24,241

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Ok, so yesterday I just had to vent a bit, but now that Election Day has come and gone (praise the Lord!) I can now completely devote my mental energy to my NaNo novel.

Too bad the mental energy isn’t translating into gripping prose…

I seem to be rather down on my novel quite a bit earlier than I was last NaNo. It took me at least until the second week; it’s five days (almost six) into it and I’m already at that point.

I can’t seem to get the thoughts to flow correctly or add up coherently on the page. I’m fairly certain I repeated myself way too much already.ย  That and the story direction keeps changing, so it’s morphing into something that’s hard for even me the author to make sense of.

Whenever critique groups start up again, I am tempted to tell them that I’m scrapping the storyline they initially critiqued and starting over, since it’s already changed so much and they’re going to be utterly confused when they get back into it.

Bah. I hate this; I wish I didn’t feel this way so soon into NaNo. Hoping it will go away fairly quickly and that my prose doesn’t sound as stilted, forced and crappy like it does now. Sigh…

Official word count: 11,569

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