The Two Month Report Card

Exactly two months ago today I opened Word for the first time to sit down and write. But before I get into how I think I’ve done so far I’ll first talk a little about the most recent chapter.

Chapter 12 didn’t turn out exactly how I had planned. I’d spent a couple of days thinking about it, but once I finished the first half I realized that the story dictated that I take a slightly different route with it. Here’s what happened.

Andrew met with Carlos and Alejandra at his office to discuss what was happening with the case, including the break-in at his house. After that meeting I had intended for Andrew to meet with Hunter on his own, but that didn’t happen. I went somewhere else with the story, but that’s all you’ll get from me!

Now to how I’ve done after two months of writing. Hmm. Well, if I had to put a letter grade on it it would easily be an A. You might be wondering why I might give myself an A. Well I would because I spent the exact same amount of time writing a story last year. If I just compare the two that’s where I come up with an A. My word count last year was less than half of what it is today and I remember going weeks at a time without even thinking about writing. Keep in mind that I was still in school and the writing was a little less polished.

I’ve also managed to create characters I’m genuinely growing to love. Some of you may think I’m crazy to say that, but it’s true! Andrew and Sydney have been in every chapter so far, I think, and the way they are together and their relationship and how they’re able to handle this impossible case is incredible! The best part is that they’re both mine!

If I spend another couple of months writing and I’m unable to publish, it won’t matter because I love the story that I’m creating.

The Tale of Two Chapters

A more fitting title for the post regarding chapter 11 would perhaps be The Tale of Two Chapters Within One. That’s because chapter 11 could easily be divided into two halves that tell very different stories. More on that in a bit.

I’m starting to think that I should scratch the whole novel thing and become a short story writer who thinks up catchy titles for each story. What do you all think? Maybe not.

So, with my last post I mentioned that there had been a burglary of Andrew’s home, at least an attempt was made. I also mentioned that Sydney was there alone. Well – drum roll please – the suspense is no longer building. Sydney is much too important to the storyline and to the way in which Andrew handles everything to be hurt at the beginning of the first book of what I hope will ultimately become a long series. That’s all I’ll say about that because I think the sequence of events is worth reading and I don’t want to spoil it too much.

Chapter eleven, much as chapter two, examined the relationship between Andrew and Sydney, only this time it was after a traumatic event. She makes him who he is and he, well, he takes her to nice places around Houston. Haha.

The chapter concludes with Andrew vowing revenge, but he doesn’t tell anyone the thoughts coursing through his mind.

Is he getting reckless because of how close to home the case has come? Will he go on a killing spree and think about the consequences later? Will he become a criminal to stop the real criminals? Keep asking yourself these questions and maybe you’ll guess right! Maybe.

Oh! And this was the fourth chapter to be written in the last eight days. How fascinating!

Also, I’ve updated my What I’m Reading page to include every book I read this year. Check it out.

Write Day Friday

I’ve gotten a little pep in my step this past week. I finished chapter eight last Friday night, I finished chapter nine on Tuesday, and I finished chapter ten this morning. What a fantastic feeling this is. I’ve never worked on multiple chapters in a singe day but today could be that day!

Anyway, I want to talk a little about the chapter.

There’s a break-in attempt at Andrew’s home. There’s a catch…Andrew wasn’t there. Sydney was. Alone. Oh the possibilities! Was she hurt? Did the burglar take her? Did Andrew race home and save the day? Hmmm.

I’ll just say that Sydney is a tough little woman. With a gun. Even more possibilities! Did she use it? Was it taken from her? Does she even know how to use it? I know, Sydney knows, and Andrew knows, but not you all!

The burglary attempt makes the case even more personal for Andrew. Nobody messes with Sydney and gets away with it.

So, with ten being a nice round number I’d like to share some stats with you all about my work. Let’s dive in.

Word Count: 22,885

Chapters: 10

Average Chapter Length: 2,288

Total Editing Time: 27 hours 54 minutes

Total Pages (in Word): 70

Average Length Spent on Each Chapter: 2 hours 45 minutes

It’s Friday! Which means a new….wait a minute

That’s what I must have told myself when I sat down to work on chapter nine on Monday, that it was Friday. It wasn’t – at least not in this particular reality – but I still managed to start and finish the latest chapter.

I noticed that come July 31 I’ll have spent two months writing. I’m thinking that I’ll have 9, 10, 11, or 12 chapters complete by that date. So what does that mean? Well, it means that it’s time for me to pick up the pace a bit. I’m writing about a chapter a week, which is fine, but I want to double my output, for several reasons.

First, literary agents don’t always jump at the opportunity to represent first-time, unknown authors, no matter the quality of the work. The process of finding the right agent can become elongated if initial queries are sent out without an agent agreeing to represent the work.

Second, there are two major book writing contests that I’ll want to enter my final work into. They are the cream of the crop when it comes to these kinds of things and are judged solely by agents, editors, reviewers, and other literary staff. The first of which accepts manuscripts until December 31 and the second gives about a ten day window at the start of the year. The ten day window is due to the volume they receive.

And third, because I know that my writing will not be adversely affected by my writing more. I mean, I’m currently only writing one or two days a week. There’s no reason that I can’t bump that up to at least three days.

Let’s discuss the most recent chapter. Andrew performs his first stakeout. One would think that it would be uneventful and boring, BUT is that necessarily true? I won’t say!

This chapter – for the first time – had me wanting to continue the story once it was complete. Writing this chapter had me feeling like I was reading a great book. I wanted to write and write and write to see myself what would happen next. The chapter ends on a mild cliffhanger with many potential directions.

I should have just written until I could write no more, but instead, I opened my country playlist on iTunes and listened to a little Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban. Eh, I’m weird.

Another Friday night, another chapter written

It’s becoming a habit of mine to write almost exclusively on Friday nights. I’m still trying to figure out why this has happened and I’ll pass along any information I come across. My thinking cap just seems to like Friday nights. Maybe it’s the lack of decent television programming? I don’t know.

I often wonder how my writing process and style would compare to more accomplished authors. I tend to write a single chapter and then follow up with the next one a few days later. I know for a fact that James Patterson, the current almighty of crime fiction, writes seven days a week. I’ve also seen at least one video of Michael Connelly typing away on his computer as if the chapter is already written in his head and he’s simply transferring it down to paper. I wonder if either of them is able to write a single chapter in like thirty minutes or something.

I’ve reached something of a milestone with this most recent chapter. I surpassed 50 pages in Microsoft Word! It isn’t an actual accomplishment to me, but the longest paper I wrote as a college student was only nine pages. This is an exciting new kind of writing for me. I’ve estimated that I’ve written right around 75 pages in a traditional book format, for those of you wondering.

Now, to the glorious chapter eight. This was the first chapter to – as they say – write itself. I had considered nearly every detail before beginning work on the chapter. It probably helps that I waited an entire week to start, but what can I say, if everyday was Friday then the book would be done by the middle of August!

In this chapter Andrew finally puts a face to the man he is to go up against for the rest of the story. Their encounter proves both useful and frightening. He puts a face to the man known as Hunter but Hunter will be able to put a face to the man known as Andrew who will be poking his head where it shouldn’t be. It’s almost a win-lose for him.

We’ll just have to see what happens!

A great book by Michael Connelly is now on my What I’m Reading page. It’s something of a literary version of the movie Taken. It’s a must read!

And we have an antagonist (with only a first name)

I spend my Friday nights writing. Well, mostly.

This particular chapter was fairly easy to write. I knew from the second I finished chapter six where I wanted chapter seven to go. This was also the first chapter that I wrote in multiple sittings that were not on consecutive days. I actually began writing on Tuesday and managed to finish just a little earlier tonight.

I knew that I wanted to introduce another character, and I did. This one is a bit more important than some of the other characters already introduced because he will act as the main antagonist in the story. Just think of him as the Voldemort of my story without the whole wizardry angle or magic or smashed face. I don’t want to reveal much about him, but…he owns several businesses and is quite wealthy. On the surface he appears like any other citizen, but the Houston police have reason to believe he isn’t as innocent as he looks. His first name is Hunter.

Also, I had assistance in naming this mystery man from both my mom and little brother. I always put a lot of thought into the names of the characters I create and this one was no different, unless I steal the names of people I know! (with their permission, of course)

The primary purpose of this chapter is to have Andrew learn who he’s to go toe-to-toe against the rest of the story. I’m aiming for a Harry v. Voldemort showdown at the end. Kinda. Not. Maybe. You’ll have to wait and see!

Also, there are two new books on my What I’m Reading page. The James Patterson title ranks in the top 15 on my list of best books.

A chapter dedicated to relaxation

Chapter six could easily have been written on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, but I was kind of lazy this week. Lots and lots and lots of sleep and not much else. The chapter made its way onto Microsoft Word this evening.

As the title of this post suggests, the chapter was dedicated to relaxation. Sydney and Andrew enjoyed their day at two museums and then a fancy dinner to top it all off. He was entertaining them both for two reasons. First, because Sydney’s time off from work is almost over and two, because he realizes after his meeting with his detective friend that he probably won’t have much time to do anything but work the case for about the next week.

The chapter ends with an argument between Andrew and Sydney, though I won’t tell you about what.

And also, for those who are aware of the story that I began last year – I have now surpassed the amount that I wrote for that last year, but who’s keeping track, right?

Take a look at the updated What I’m Reading page to check out my most recent read.

On the verge of something wonderful

Chapter five is officially complete! I wrestled around with a couple of directions to take the story, but ultimately decided to go ahead and introduce a new character.

His name is Nathan, I won’t reveal the last name out of respect for the person who has lent me his name, and he is a homicide detective with the Houston Police Department (in the book).

A little background: he met the main character in college at the University of Houston Downtown while they were both working on their undergraduate degrees. Andrew, private detective who tells the story, continued his graduate work there and Nathan went to Sam Houston State. Nathan is also English.

Their encounter begins as friends who haven’t seen each other in some time and becomes a Band of Brothers type of relationship after Andrew gives Nathan all of his information regarding his first case and they realize that it’ll be the two of them facing odds that are nearly impossible.

The title of this post comes from the fact that I’m becoming more familiar with my writing process. I typically write a chapter and then consider where I want the story to go from there for a day or two before writing the next chapter. It’s taken me about a month to write the first five chapters. I’m positive that the next ten or more will be written at a faster rate because I’ve now honed in on my own writing style.

So…stick with me and we’ll make this thing happen!