Well, I was about halfway through the edit on Spiderstar, the sequel to Shadow Captain, when NaNoWriMo started. When it ended, I only had about 15K words left to edit, and now I’m down to 10K-ish. After that, comes review by my volunteer beta readers/editors, cover art, final revisions, and publication. Publication is a moving target; looking like late January/early February of 2023 at this point.
In other news, I am most likely looking at another radical shift in genre for my next set of novels. Stay tuned.
Right now, I’m still revising the sequel to Shadow Captain. So, basically, this is going to be more of a NaNoEdMo until I get that completed. If I somehow miraculously get done in the first half of November, I might try for an actual first-drafting project, in the NaNo tradition. I have occasionally managed full 50K words in two-ish weeks, but it’s been a long time. So, here’s a cover version of my NaNoWriMo theme song, because somehow this situation doesn’t seem to call for Jerry Reed.
I just completed the new ending and some of the expansion scenes for Star Master Book 2. For more about the long, complicated evolution of this space opera novel, see here, here and here. Yes, I have been working on this book for a while, but I hope to have it out by the end of this year, especially since I have no plans to do NaNoWriMo.
For now, my plans are a short break to work up a presentation for day job, play mobile games, read Golden Age mysteries, watch Fringe and Don Matteo with family members, and brainstorm whatever comes after the Star Master duology.
So, NaNoWriMo2021…not a success in terms of wordcount. It looks like I will finish the month around or slightly under 18,000 words, the lowest results for any NaNo I have attempted. However, I did have a helpful insight yesterday in terms of what I was working on.
Doing something a bit different this year, trying to work on three projects at once:
–Star Master Book 2: I finished the rough draft of this sequel to Shadow Captain. I think it was a couple of weeks ago, but there are some missing scenes I’d like to add if I can.
–Star Master Book 3: I have the epilogue written and a general idea of what leads up to it, and another general idea of where the story starts. The middle is kind of fuzzy.
–ThornMaster: This is a prequel/side story about the parents of Shenti, a supporting character in the Star Master series, currently being serialized in Kindle Vella. I have three episodes published, and the climax written as well. There’s a few key moments plotted out.
I’m hoping having multiple choices for things to work on will help with the 12K, 15K, 30K, and 40K blahs. We will see.
My NaNoWriMo Word document this year is laid out a little differently from the usual. The last couple of years, I’ve been putting the day’s date in “Heading 1,” allowing me to autogenerate a linked table of contents that allows me to jump from the front of the document to whatever I was last working on.
This year, each of the projects above are in “Heading 1,” and the plot points I know about and want to work on are in “Heading 2,” under their respective projects, which makes them subheadings to those projects. The day’s date will be in “Heading 3,” under whatever plot point I am working on that day. (Let’s not think too hard about what happens if I work on multiple projects or plot points on the same day.)
And since no National Novel Writing Month is complete at Casa Jaglion Press without someone singing about having a long ways to go and a short time to get there:
This year, the writing and publishing went fairly well. With the help of some family members who graciously became my beta readers/proofreaders, I finished, polished, and published a new book in a new (for me) genre, and finished NaNoWriMo2020 in spite of some setbacks. I cut severely back on my marketing costs, which had gotten out of hand in past years, and only got back into active marketing at the very end of the year, coinciding with the new release. So far it’s going better than I had any reason to expect. The modest royalties from my book sales and pages read in Kindle Unlimited to date, would almost cover the costs of my test ads on Bookbub and my low budget ad spend on Bookbub and Amazon. We’ll see how long this moment of almost breaking even lasts.
My hope was to finish and publish my first space opera, start working on the sequel while I was polishing the first one, and maybe write the second half of the sequel for NaNoWriMo2020. I didn’t manage that, and given the extra time that the Covid shutdown bought me, first during administrative leave and then with telework, I feel like I could have done more. But it took me a long time to feel my way through the second half of the first space opera, and a moderately long time to clean up the initial complete draft of the book. I finished that cleanup/polishing process only a few days before NaNoWriMo, and it left my creative energies kind of drained. I’ve found at least three short scenes and two longer sections that need major reworking in the second space opera, before I proceed anything further with it.
Still I wrote 100,000 more or less useable words over the course of the year (second half of first space opera+first half of second space opera), polished and published my longest book to date, created its cover, and constructed a wallet-friendly promotional campaign for its launch.
Plans for next year? Try to have Star Master Book 2 published by the end of 2021; refresh the Ancestors of Jaiya series (proofreading and new covers) somewhere along the way. Write as much as I can of Star Master Book 3, and keep daydreaming and outlining that high fantasy idea that keeps popping up. We’ll see how all that works out.
So, I’ve completed one more NaNoWriMo successfully. I still have a long way to go on the second space opera; I’m only about halfway through, and I already know some of the scenes I’ve already written will need some reworking. I am not entering my totals on the official NaNoWriMo website for the first time in a long time; I’ve not been happy with the direction the official site/organization have taken over the last few years, and I don’t expect that will change.
I’ve made some interesting discoveries, such as the fact that description, exposition and basic banter between established characters are the easiest things for me to dictate, while more “choreographed” elements (action scenes, high-drama conversations, etc) are easier to type. For dictation, my preference is to do seven minutes at a stretch, then clean up punctuation and misheard words for seven minutes or less, and then repeat the dictation/cleanup cycle.
If you’re curious, here’s what my wordcount totals by day looks like:
Got a little bit behind earlier this month and now I have to do 1900 words per day to finish on time. I tend to have fairly predictable “stallout” timeframes:
-The first one tends to be in the first week, usually 3-5 days into November if I push myself too hard in the opening days. I could blame my failing to write during November 4 and 5 on the issues with the US elections, but honestly, if that hadn’t distracted me, something else would have. I was right on schedule for a crash after getting ~7300 words in the first three days.
-Somewhere in between 20000 and 26000 words. This year, I started dragging badly at the 20000 word mark, which I reached on November 12. I think I went through a period of feeling tired/unwell roundabout then. I tend to need more sleep now than when I first started doing NaNoWriMo, about a decade and a half ago.
-I sometimes have another stallout around 30000-35000 words, and one in the 40000-45000 range. I hope I don’t get that this year. I don’t think I can afford another delay like the two I’ve had so far.
Cleaned house. Paid bills. Set up excel spreadsheets. National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow, and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. This will be the sequel to the space opera novel I started for NaNoWriMo2019. I would really like to get my 50000 words done during the first half of the month, so I can focus on prepping for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the meantime, I found yet another variant on my unofficial NaNoWriMo theme song:
I finished polishing the space opera today. Final wordcount: 110685. Now it is in the hands of my volunteer first readers. Right now, I’m hoping for a Christmas/Boxing Day Feast of St. Stephen release, but that depends on what the first readers find, whether I can come up with a cover that I’m happy with, and what kind of mental shape I’m in come December, when I’ve finished with NaNoWriMo2020. In the meantime, victory dance!