Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Writing in Public

Day Five: Novel Challenge

Day Five: Novel Challenge

As I have been saying, this challenge this time is nothing at all like the first time I did this.

And as I expected, I missed my word count today. Just not enough time in the day and energy in the old body to make it. But still two more days to go on this, so we’ll see how it ends up. Worst thing that could happen is that I need an 8th day to finish.

Anyway, last night I got only just over five hours sleep because I needed to be up and to the WMG Publishing offices and store by 12:30 p.m.

From around 1 p.m. until I pulled the first pizza out of the oven, a group of professional fiction writers alphabetized all the paperbacks in the new store. And Sheldon MacArthur, the great bookstore owner of Mystery Bookstore was also there. Great fun and to everyone who showed up, THANK YOU!!

One of the conversations that popped up regularly was “What ever happened to?” Man, that is the last thing you want to have said about you.  Second question was, “Is he/she still alive?” Ouch…

The books we were putting in order were mostly from the 1990s. Even though Billy and I had been through those books numbers of times, we still found about $400 worth of collectable paperbacks.

But now everything is in order. Again, THANK YOU one and all. Wonderful fun.

6 hours of work.

So Kris and I made it home from that around seven and I took a long nap. Around 9:30 p.m. I was in here working on the assignments for the online workshops.

I ended up getting that done, with a break to finish my 10,000 steps, just before 1 a.m.

3 hours workshop work.

So got to writing around 1:30 a.m. after a break to rest my eyes.

By 2:30 a.m. I had 1,200 words.

Short break. By 3:30 a.m. I had added another 1,400 words. (Good hour there.)

Short break. By 4:30 a.m. I had another 1,200 words.

Short break and wrote until my old body said, “Enough.” That got me another 600 words by 5 a.m.

So 4,400 words in 3.5 hours. Considering I worked 9 hours at other things today, I’ll take it.

And I knew it was coming, so not upset and not surprised.

I am now 2,000 words down to the pace I wanted to be at to write a 42,000 word book in seven days.


Day 1… 3,000 goal… Actual words… 3,100.  Total so far… 3,100 words
Day 2… 4,000 goal… Actual words… 4,400.  Total so far… 7,500 words
Day 3… 5,000 goal… Actual words… 5,100.  Total so far… 12,600 words
Day 4… 6,000 goal… Actual words… 6,200.  Total so far… 18,800 words
Day 5… 7,000 goal… Actual words… 4,200.  Total so far… 23,000 words
Day 6… 8,000… Total word count to be over… 33,000
Day 7… 9,000… Total word count to be over… 42,000 (or end of book)


September Online Workshops

Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Questions about any of the workshops, feel free to write me.

Class #21… Sept 6th … Author Voice
Class #22… Sept 6th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Sept 6th … Speed
Class #24… Sept 6th … Writing Mysteries
Class #25… Sept 6th … Character Development
Class #26… Sept 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Sept 7th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Sept 7th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Sept 7th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Sept 7th …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)

Totals For Year 4, Month 1, Day 22

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,068

Over 10,000 steps streak… Day 53

— Daily Fiction: 4,200 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 45,700 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total:1,900 words 

— Blog Posts: 300 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,300 words

— E-mail: 31 e-mails. Approx. 2,800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 335 e-mails. Approx. 24,200 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers


— Year of Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories finished to date: 8 stories.

— Yearly Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 1 novels.


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  • allynh

    Alphabetizing books. Diving so deep, triggering so many massive memories. Damn, Dean, you’re living the life.

    The 1990s was a major sea change. So many future greats simply vanished because of the shift in distribution. Nagata, Nylund, Goonan, were the New Gods, and poof. I would go to Page One, a local independent, every weekend and buy six to a dozen books. The books would leap off the shelves, with rarely a dud. Four times a year there were so many books in a weekend that I would fill a small hand basket.

    Then around ’98, when you guys came to the Santa Fe Nebulas, everything stopped. There was nothing worth getting on the shelves. I would go each weekend and walk away with nothing. I started going to Barnes&Noble just to check, and four times a year I would be lucky to find three books worth getting, and they turned out to be British imports.

    While I worked at the Department, I would go to lunch with a friend, then we would stop by Borders and he would ask me what SF books to buy. I told him not to bother, that nothing on the shelves were worth reading. It wasn’t until around 2005 that books started coming back, but never in the numbers I would buy before the crash.

      • allynh


        When Dean mentioned alphabetizing the books, and people asking, “What ever happened to?” that brought back the memories of the ’90s when books were flooding in faster than I could keep up. The best books just leapt off the shelves into my hands.

        When things collapsed so many people simply vanished, and the number of books coming out each week dropped drastically. Page One went from all new books on the shelves to a mix of new and used, because the distribution system wasn’t pouring books in to the independents like before. What’s scary, is Barnes&Noble was not getting a flood of books anymore either. The stuff that came in after the collapse was all bitter rind, not the sweet watermelon that I grew to expect.

        It wasn’t until 2005 that a trickle of new books started coming out. I now buy fewer new books each year than I would buy in a month before the collapse, and I’m looking so hard to find so few new. Over the past ten years I’ve found most of the old books that I missed buying during that flood of books. I’m basically caught up now, but its not enough, I want more, more, more. Can’t live on just a trickle. HA!

        • dwsmith

          Not looking in the right places in the modern world, allynh. Bookstores, physical bookstores are not a good place to look except for used and rare. The new books by wonderful new authors, in paperback and ebook, are for sale on online bookstores. That’s what Kris was trying to tell you. There are a hundred times more books, better books now, than in the 1990s. Just finding them is different.

          • allynh

            All the bookstores here in Santa Fe are gone. I haven’t been in a physical bookstore for years. I live on Amazon. I drive their search engines, make them sing. That’s how I found all those thousands of books I’d missed.

            And that’s my point. Even with total access to the world there is only a trickle of books compared to the ’90s when the distribution system fed stores a flood of books everywhere.

            It’s like I stopped getting Locus a few years ago, because I didn’t recognize any of the people they interviewed, or cared about their books. Where I still go back over my old issues of Locus from the ’90s to read the articles and interviews, finding books and authors I’d missed. I’ve found people I missed, stunned to find that they wrote dozens of books without me being aware of them, and then buy all of their books.

            Something has changed, and even with the Indy world removing the barriers, the books are not there the way they were. That’s why I’m always puzzled when people online complain about there being too many Indy books being published. Where are these books. I sample a hundred books by new people and am lucky to find one. I’m not picky, just tell me a good story and I will follow you anywhere.

            Trust me, if I can’t find them with my mad skills, they are not there. That’s what scares me. Is it possible that the people who can tell good story are still so trapped in the idea of Legacy publishing that they won’t even try to go Indy.

          • dwsmith

            Allynh, well, the facts don’t even come close to matching your beliefs in this area. There are now almost thirty times more books being published than in the 90s. Not just double, but over thirty times the number and that is climbing.

            If you are talking your tastes, that’s another matter. But in sheer numbers of books, the traditional publishers of the 90s couldn’t even dream of this many books being published. Sorry.