Holiday Ups and Downs – December in Review

I got one step closer in November

I got one step closer in November

Is there anything you look forward to yet also dread quite like the holidays?

Get to see family?  Awesome.  But stressful.  Gift giving and receiving?  Exciting.  But a huge pain in the ass.  Time off of work/school?  No, wait.  That one’s all good.

Looking back on the holidays, I wonder why we do this to ourselves.  In the end, I had good time, but there were some serious bumps on the road.

Anyway, let’s talk about writing.


I should start by explaining something unique about the fourth year of medical school.  As brutal as most of medical school is, the fourth year has some perks.  Students get a certain amount of time off in the year to travel to interviews.

In other words, I had December absolutely, completely, totally, one hundred percent off of school.

I’m not free.  I’ve been traveling a lot.  I had to prep for interviews, go to cocktail receptions, and the interviews themselves are 6-8 hour affairs.

But it’s been a far more relaxing time than school months, and I’ve been able to devote much more time to writing and blogging.

I finished my fantasy book.  I polished off the end in the first two weeks.  It took took about 14k words.



Everything changed.


Story Changes are Afoot

With the first draft finished, my story clocked in at a silly 155k words.  If you read my article about word counts, you know I’m not very optimistic about the odds of getting something that size published.

I’m not sure exactly how much could come out of that 155k.  Some?  Sure.  60 thousand words?  No.  Definitely not.

I had a problem on my hands.

Sometimes all it takes is bouncing ideas off of someone with an outside perspective, and I happened to be talking about the problem with my mom one day.

“Why don’t you split it into two books?” she asked.  “Is there a logical point in the story that would work?”

It was like a curtain lifted.  I had a sudden moment of clarity.  I could see it perfectly.

I was embarrassed I hadn’t seen it myself.  There was a very logical climax point about halfway through the story.

I guess sometimes you just get too close.  

The more I thought about it, the more I realized the book would work better that way.  I’ll be able to relax the pacing in certain areas and involve more world building elements.  I also get to add two characters I had originally planned but cut due to length issues.

It is going to be a better book.  And probably more publishable.

The downside?

I now have to do a ton of writing, probably around 40k words.  I have to re-write all the portions of my draft that work with the old plot line.  What was originally going to be a monstrous editing process is going to be a…

OMFG PITFA editing process.


I’m a Bit Bummed

Don’t get me wrong: I am excited about my new plan for the story.  It’s going to be better.

But… one month ago, I thought I was 15k words away from a complete first draft.  I thought I was on the cusp of starting the editing process.

I’m a bit bummed now.  I have a very, very long way to go.

You do what you gotta do.  Let’s take a look at this month’s metrics.


Word Counts

Type                  Prior Total               This Month           New Total

Fiction              357,705                    42,281                   399,986

Nonfiction        10,418                      0                            10,418

Blog Posts       31                              8*                          39


I maintained a phenomenal rate of fiction writing.  I attribute this to time off of school as well as excitement about one of my new characters.  I started the month with a personal goal of writing at least 1,000 words every day, and I succeeded.  In fact, I ended up producing 1,363 words per day.

I expect this pace to fall off during the coming month. First, January is far more rigorous from an interview and travel standpoint.  Second, I want to focus more on blogging.  Third, I think the time has come to start editing my NaNo.

I again produced zero nonfiction, medical writing.  I don’t have much to say about that.  The passion for it isn’t there right now.  It tends to come and go in spurts.

From a blogging standpoint, this was a big month, despite what the numbers say.  I only published 8 articles, and they were all on Oh The Squalor.  The asterisk is there, because I did a ton of drafting.  Despite what the numbers say, I’m going to call this one a victory.


Goals Met

  1. Re-think my daily writing rule:  Success.  I have an article forthcoming about the rule changes I’m going to make for this year, so stay tuned.
  2. Finish fantasy book: Success(ish).  I wrote the ending to the book as planned.  Then I proceeded to change everything and create a boatload of new work for myself.  Gah.


Goal for January

  1. Complete Character #1’s Story: I am adding two characters to my fantasy book, and I want to complete the writing for the first’s story arch in January.  I expect this to take another 15-20k words.


How About You?

How did your writing go this month?  Get at me in the comments section.




Img Raul Lieberwirth

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