Coast Mystery Workshop Started
Writers in the Back Room…
Tonight at 7 p.m., a bunch of writers from around the country gathered in the meeting room in the WMG offices for a mystery workshop taught by Kris. Looks like a great group and I got to spend about thirty minutes with them before Kris kicked me out and into my office where I worked on Writing into the Dark online workshop.
Speaking of coast workshops, a few openings in the Master Class starting on October 21st because of a few cancellations. And also there are three spots in the Anthology workshop in late Feb. If interested, write me. They are invite workshops, but only way you will know if you can get invited is if you ask me. (grin)
Otherwise another busy day.
Interestingly enough, still a few spots in both challenges because I decided to take eight instead of five in each challenge. A few people are thinking about it and I didn’t want to close anyone out.
Also tonight I looked at putting together yet another issue of Smith’s Monthly. Might turn in another this coming week. And as soon as I get files I will be sending out to subscribers and Patreon supporters new issues over the next week or so.
There is still room in the short story and the novel challenge as well. Details over the last few days. If you have questions, write me.
If interested in signing up, just write me. They are going to be great fun.
SHORT STORY Challenge:
— Write thirty short stories in 60 days. You can take the full time or you can write them in a month. Up to you.
— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. If you finish 30 stories in 60 days, you get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value. (In essence, I will read for free if you do the challenge.)
— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, I will offer you an off-ramp at various points and you can take it and get the two online workshops. So you can try this risk free.
— Write three novels between October 1st and January 15th. You can take the full time or you can write them quicker. Up to you.
— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. If you finish the three novels in the time, you get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value. (In essence, I will read for free if you do the challenge.)
— Novels can be any length over 30,000 words and at least half of the first one must be written during the time of the challenge.
— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, I will offer you an off-ramp and you can take it and get the two online workshops. I also will give you two online workshops if a life event comes up and you can’t finish.
October Online Workshops
October Workshops Available
Class #37… Oct 3rd … Writing into the Dark
Class #38… Oct 3rd … Endings
Class #39… Oct 3rd … Point of View
Class #40… Oct 3rd … Writing Mysteries
Class #41… Oct 3rd … Speed
Class #42… Oct 3rd … Teams in Fiction
Class #43… Oct 4th … Depth in Writing
Class #44… Oct 4th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #45… Oct 4th … Character Development
Class #46… Oct 4th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #47… Oct 4th … Advanced Depth
Class #48… Oct 4th … (TBA)
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John D. Payne
So, I’m looking for ways to make the numbers add up for me so I can do this challenge. Please forgive me for thinking out loud here in your blog comments section.
Problem 1. I don’t have a lot of writing time. Probably 10-15 hours per week at the most. (For the last four or five years it’s been more like 2 or 3 hours, so I am counting my blessings.)
Problem 2. I’ve been writing pretty slow lately. Maybe 500 words an hour. (I had been doing more like 1,000, but I’ve been trying to write cleaner first drafts instead of leaving stuff to fix later. Slows me down a bit. I think it will pick back up again in time, but it might take a while to sharpen my skills.)
If these two assumptions hold (and I hope they don’t!) then I’m looking at something like 6 or 7,000 words per week. Multiply that by 17 weeks, and I would produce about 110,000 words between now and January 15. That’s actually really good in comparison to what I’ve been able to do lately, but it doesn’t seem like enough for me to do this challenge if I keep to my typical novel length (70-100k).
I could of course, write shorter books, but that would be a new experience for me. Nothing against it, no objection to it, just haven’t ever done it. Not sure how to. Do you have any tips for writing shorter novels?
I’m also thinking about trying a children’s book. Would that be okay for the challenge, so long as it’s over 30k? I’ve been telling stories to my boys for years and have been mapping out how to turn this into a chapter book or middle grade series.
Any and all thoughts appreciated.
The pace is fine, John, and it will pick up as you get used to cycling and writing cleaner. Just always remember that even slower first clean drafts mean you save all that time with second and third drafts and all the pain and work of those drafts.
7,000 words a week is a pretty good pace. And you have a few weeks here in October as well. But you are correct that if the books go to 70,000 words, that will be a problem. But there are safety nets on this challenge that if you are going well and a book just goes longer, it is still a win in my book. So we work that out as we go along.
And sure, Children’s or young-adult books are fine. I read it all.
As for writing shorter novels, it comes from growing up reading the old sf and mystery. They were all 35,000 to 50,000 words and not much more, so my mind just sort of likes that length and I have trouble writing longer because to me it just feels like padding.
So the only trick I have on writing shorter that is easy is just write into the dark and not think about it and if you have a desire at the beginning to write shorter, your creative voice will wrap it up shorter. Sort of Zen I know, but this is an art after all. (grin)
The key with the challenge is to look at the next three months and ask these two questions. Do I want to take some online workshops next winter and spring? And will having to check in with Dean regular help me write more for the next three months than I would if I wasn’t checking in? If the answer is no to either of those, skip the challenge. Any other questions, feel free to ask.