Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Workshop Questions and Day Four: Writing a Novel in Half a Month

Some Workshop Sale Questions Answered First…

Before jumping into the first post for Day Four, Chapter Four…

Questions About Classes for the sale… Yes, you can still jump into the Shared Worlds class. Lots of videos to catch up on, and just last night I put out a call for another Cave Creek story. I am sure there will be more calls for stories in the Cave Creek shared world, but if you do jump in, watch all the videos first. Again, there are a lot of them.

Licensing Class and Decades Ahead Classes will be going for another full year. The Pandemic ground them to a halt because Licensing ground to a halt for a time and tough to see a decade ahead when we couldn’t see six months ahead for a time. So both will be going for a full year and possible to jump in now to not only get the older videos, but all the new stuff coming.

Year of the Cat class. I have done four of the books, posted three, the fourth to be posted this week. Book #8 is out, with a new one every month for the next four months. I will be finishing the year of the cat posts for all twelve books by around July, so clearly possible to jump into that. You get a copy of all twelve books to read as part of the class as well.

Yes, all three Challenges are open to the sale. And yes, all Lifetime Subscriptions are open to the sale.

Yes, if you get the bundle for all six of the Collection Classes, you can do the Portals the first two months of next year. It will be offered then. Just not up yet.

So those are a few of the sale questions I got this morning. AGAIN is the code word to get everything at half price.

Any other questions, feel free to ask me. The last blog post has a ton more details.

Chapter Four: Day Four of Writing a Novel in Half a Month

Again today started out as just another regular day.

Last night, after I signed off here, I watched a little television before going to bed at 4 am.

Day Four, Entry One.

11:10 am.  Rolled out of bed and got to my computer with a protein bar around 12:15 pm. Did email and answered workshop sale questions for about a hour or so.

2:00 pm. Had lunch with Kris and we talked workshop stuff for an hour while we ate.

3:00 pm. Back in my office to my internet computer and did a little more email for thirty minutes and wrote this. Now going to do a writing session so I don’t end up doing what I did yesterday.

Day Four, Entry two.

4:00 pm.  Decided on the writing session to start back at the beginning of the novel and do a long cycle through. Took me about 45 minutes, taking a few more notes for myself on my trusty yellow legal pad to help my memory and adding about 400 original words total, almost all a little more depth and such. After that decided to go get some exercise.

5:30 pm. After walking a little and then spending an hour down in our office moving about forty boxes of filing, I headed back up here to take a nap.

6:00 pm. Cooked dinner for us and we watched news and such and I got back into this office around 8:00 pm to work on workshop stuff.

9:00 pm.  Now, after taking a ten minute break for my eyes, I am headed for a session on the writing computer. No clue at all where this book is going, but having fun with it, that’s for sure.

Day Four, Entry three.

11:30 pm.  That didn’t work out as planned. Kris got back from our downstairs office just after nine and asked if I wanted to get some more steps. Yup, I did, so out we went, getting back around 10:00 pm to then watch The Equalizer. You folks studying how to build a perfect team, watch this show. By three episodes the team is perfect and very clear and easy to study.  So now I got some workshop work to do.

1:00 am. Finally moved over to the writing computer after a short break to rest my eyes from the email and other stuff. In just under an hour I added in 1,000 words. Then took another break.

2:00 am. Back writing and added in another 400 plus words in thirty minutes before my brain just said, “Nope, no more tonight.” Left it on a great place to pick up tomorrow. I feel a little behind but I know from my patterns with a few hundred novels that I write more words on the last half of the book faster than I do on the first half of the book. So not worried.


Day One… 3,004 words

Day Two… 2,950 words

Day Three… 2,500 words

Day Four… 1,810 Words

TOTAL… 10,264 words




  • DS Butler

    Dean, I think I remember you saying you have separate documents for each chapter. How does that work when you do a long cycle back? Do you open all the chapter documents?

    • dwsmith

      I used to do that about fifteen years ago. Now I just use one file, back it up under different names regularly. But modern computers can handle one book file easily.

  • Philip

    WTG, Dean! This math has me thinking… on this pace, a writer could put out a novellette/novella once a week. Imagine a brand new writer being able to put out 52 producs to sell (104 if you include both print and digital) in a year, 52 great stories, and 52 chances to find new readers. If you pan that out over 5-10 years, the math makes my head hurt.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Dean, figured I would post this question here and maybe answer the same question for other writers.

    The Writing Short Stories Workshop, is it mostly about craft or mostly about selling? Or is it balanced?

    Thanks for the sale. I’m trying to decide on Advanced Depth, Writing into the Dark or Teams.

  • Kris Rusch

    I still do separate files for each chapter, but I write out of order, so it helps my process. I don’t have to search for that dang chapter that I moved.

    • Linda Niehoff

      Kris, I’m so curious about your process as I also tend to write out of order. I’d love to hear how you put everything together without falling into Critical Voice or rewriting. Have you ever blogged in depth about how you find the order/story? How you know you’ve finished? etc.

      Also thanks so much for the sale! Depth was a game changer – I can’t wait for Adv. Depth next.

      • Kris Rusch

        I do it all in creative voice, often as I’m writing something and realize I need to move this piece or that one. I **never** do it in critical voice, which means I don’t do a “rewrite.”

    • James Palmer

      I can only write nonfiction out of order. I’ve only done that for the first and last chapter of a novella I wrote for a small press publisher, writing the final chapter first as more of an epilogue, followed by the first chapter. But Scrivener makes it very easy to do this. I create my chapters as separate files within Scrivener, and tend to write short, punchy chapters of no more than one or two scenes, which makes it easy to find stuff should I need to go back and change something major.

  • Dave Raines

    One thing I’ve learned already – I want to start keeping a log of how I spend my day, similar to yours above. I used to do that in my former profession, and found it helpful–not all year, but for a couple of weeks at a time. I like your logs – there’s no judgment, no “I shoulda done this instead of that,” just a calm acknowledgement of time use and production.