Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel Three: Day Two

A Tough Second Day…

(As a reminder, the overall monthly challenge is to write four novels and gain distance every week on my step count, starting the first week at an average of 11,000 steps per day.)

A really tough second day of writing, which I didn’t think it would be, honestly. Great day otherwise. I’ll explain below.

The Day Went Like This…

I made it to the WMG offices just at 3:30 p.m. after doing an hour of e-mail and banking.

Did thirty minutes there working with Matt and Josh to cut off spines off of four massive bound newspapers from the 1920s. Matt understands band saws and was giving us lessons. Thanks, Matt.

Then he and I went out for a walk to get steps. I made it over 10,000 but didn’t get that last mile and a half to get to 13,000. Time crunched, not energy.

Worked then at WMG until 6 p.m. on workshop and cover stuff.

Headed home so that I could talk with Ryan from the blog We had a fun conversation, at least from my side for an hour. I’ll post when the blog goes live because he asked me a lot about myths.

Then I went and took a nap, cooked dinner, and came in here to work on workshop assignments and also read some challenge stories.

Made it to my writing computer an hour late at 1 a.m. Seems to be the time I make it on assignment nights.

I cycled back to the start, went through what I had written last night (I can do that when I only wrote 3,100 words) and started into the next chapter and ground to a complete and total halt.

Nothing. Zip-Zero-Zilch-a-rama.

Now that almost never happens to me this early in a book. So I went out to take a short nap, wondered around for a bit, came back, tried to figure out what was stopping me.

For a time I thought it was because I was very tired. I am. Need some mental time on something else and will get that tomorrow. But this felt odd and different.

So I decided to do a few things I needed to get done like send out codes for the new estate lecture that is up, then come back to the book. By the time I went back to the book, it was just before 3 a.m.

I took one more look at it and realized exactly what had happened.

I had started flat in the wrong place. And my creative voice said, “Nope. No more until you get that right.”

So I tossed out the 3,100 words I wrote last night (yes, I tossed them into the trash… I know, horrors to new writers) and fired at it again.

Went fast, smooth, and fun and in three short session between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

I got 3,400 words and am now raring to go at the next stuff. What a difference having the opening and characters in the right spot at the start.

These days this seldom happens so early on in a book. Usually its later I take wrong turns. Glad I didn’t spend days trying to figure this out. That would have been annoying. (grin)

So I am going to count the total words written, so the novel will be 3,100 words shorter than the total I end up with, if I have no loops to cut as well. (grin)

3,400 words in 3 sessions. 


Novel #1…The Writing of TOMBSTONE CANYON: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 1… Words written… 6,600.  Total so far… 6,600 words.
Challenge Day 2… Words written… 6,700.  Total so far… 13,300 words.
Challenge Day 3… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 19,400 words.
Challenge Day 4… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 25,600 words.
Challenge Day 5… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far…, 31,800 words.
Challenge Day 6… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far…, 37,900 words.
Challenge Day 7… Words written… 3,200.  Final Total…, 41,100 words. (Novel count is 38,000)


Challenge Novel #2


Novel #2…The Writing of DEATH TAKES A DIAMOND: A Mary Jo Assassin Novel

 Challenge Day 8… Words written… 6,400.  Total so far… 6,400 words.
 Challenge Day 9… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 12,500 words.
 Challenge Day 10… Words written… 3,200.  Total so far… 15,700 words.
 Challenge Day 11… Words written… 2,900.  Total written so far… 18,600 words.
 Challenge Day 12… Words written… 3,100.  Total written so far… 21,700 words.
 Challenge Day 13… Words written… 6,100.  Total written so far… 27,800 words.
 Challenge Day 14… Words written… 3,300.  Total written so far… 31,100 words.
 Challenge Day 15… Words written… 6,200.  Total written so far… 37,300 words.
 Challenge Day 16… Words written… 6,500.  Total written so far… 43,800 words. (Novel is no where near that long and might get shorter still after Kris reads it.)


Challenge Novel #3


Novel #3…The Writing of DRY CREEK CROSSING: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 17… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 3,100 words.
 Challenge Day 18… Words written… 3,400.  Total so far… 6,500 words.


The Day Breakdown

4 hours writing… 3,400 words
2 hours exercise plus normal movement… 10,600 steps
7.5 hours of work for workshops and e-mails and meetings and such.

The rest is television and cooking and and so on. Plus 8 hours of sleep. Two 10 minute naps.


Days over 6,000 words… 11 of 18
Days over 11,000 steps… 10 of 18
Days over 12,000 steps… 3 of 11
Days over 13,000 steps… 0 of 2
26.5 hours of regular job work this week. Today is week day four.


Tracking Word Counts… July 18th, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,399

— Daily Fiction: 3,400 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 91,400 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 8,700 words
— E-mail: 42 e-mails.  Approx. 3,100 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 561 e-mails. Approx. 35,100 words



NOW OPEN. Very limited. Just two spots open.

Taught by Allyson Longueira. You get a template out of it as well as learning.

See the post below this one for details. First come, first in.



All have openings at the moment. Information at

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #13… Aug 8th … Depth #3: Research
Class #14… Aug 8th … Endings
Class #15… Aug 8th … Point of View
Class #16… Aug 8th … Writing Mysteries
Class #17… Aug 8th … Speed
Class #18… Aug 8th … Teams in Fiction
Class #19… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #20… Aug 9th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #21… Aug 9th … Character Development
Class #22… Aug 9th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #23… Aug 9th … Advanced Depth
Class #24… Aug 9th … Writing Fantasy


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  • Mark Kuhn

    Dean, funny you should mention tossing 3,000 words away. I sat last night and started some fun with a story about a Gnome. For some unknown reason, it quickly stopped being fun. So before critical voice stepped in and said, “Time to outline this special little snowflake” I put it aside.
    I have this set of cards I use to get ideas banging around in my mind. It’s called “Storymatic”. They are a set of prompts generated by picking and combining four cards. Keeping in mind the golden rule: character in a setting with a problem, I went off on a story, much grittier than the Gnome story.
    The Gnome story is a very emotional story, almost like the movie E.T. The story idea generated from the cards is a story about a serial killer.
    I guess it was the mood I was in. Maybe this is a breakthrough to adjust and make lemonade from the lemons of a lousy day at work.