I can’t believe I am doing this…

As I said in my opening of the blog, writing a book was something I had always wanted to do.  And I am doing it.  I have been printing chapters as I complete them, a tip I had picked up early on from Micheal Stackpole’s podcast, to help ensure you have a backup and to prevent co-mingling writing and editing.   Holding the fat binder also has the benefit of making you feel like you are accomplishing something.  Hard to deny when you see the stack of paper growing.

I took Stackpole’s seminar at Gen Con Indy last year.  I had decided to finally take my writing seriously.  Since then I have taken two writing classes, won NaNoWriMo and have over 106k words on the West Wind complete.  My hope is to wrap it up and head down to Gen Con this year with a sense of accomplishment.   No great expectations of course other than doing some networking.  But it does have a sense of bringing things full circle.

Just finished an Eli chapter, two more of his POV to go and only one more Rachel chapter until I am done.  Can I do it this long weekend?

Roland is in the Can!

After last week’s major milestone (well it was at least for me…) of crossing the 100k word count, this weekend’s milestone is equally exciting (well it is at least for me…).

Roland, one of my main POV characters, storyline is complete!

That leaves me with one more chapter of Rachel and three chapters, maybe only two and a half, of Eli until I am done.

I was hoping to have a re-write done by the end of July in time for Gen-Con Indy.  I started my writing there last year by attending several writing track seminars.  This year I was planning on taking cards and synopsis to do a little networking.

Not finished yet but…

Nope.  Haven’t finished the first draft but have reached what I believe to be a meaningful milestone.

I crossed the 100,000 word mark!

When I finish the current scene I will be completely finished with Roland’s story line.  That leaves me only one more Rachel chapter and a couple more for Eli.  I think I have to be in the right (or wrong) mood to write Eli.  He just has so many problems…

Not much longer now.

Writing on Weekends

It looks like I have fallen into a habit of writing almost exclusively on the weekends.  Heading down to my favorite bookshop and bistro has also become part of my habit (see ‘appearances’ in the side bar).  I have heard that writing is a solitary activity, and I think there is truth in that.  I find myself in the world of my own creation.  That doesn’t mean that I need to isolate myself.  Whether it is sitting at the bookstore or at home, I can write while in the middle of others and the hubbub of activity.

Proof being – over 7,500 words this weekend.  A little more than 5 chapters to finish my first draft.  Too bad I cannot find one of those status bar widgets.

What a Writeriffic Weekend

I think I set a new non-NaNoWriMo record for productivity.  Over 6,000 words this weekend.  Bringing my total work count for The West Wind to over 82,000 words. I have 6 more chapters and a handful of scenes to complete.

It was Roland’s turn to run into trouble.  Ever have one of those days or weeks where nothing seems to go your way – that is how Roland was feeling by the end of the chapter.  I cannot say I feel bad for him, he brought it on himself.  Mostly.

Alpha Steam!

My first true alpha reader (my early teen daughter’s best friend) read up to chapter 16 and is a bit mad at me that I left her with a Rachel and Clarence cliff hanger.  Good news is that I know what happens next, bad news I haven’t written it yet.  She really enjoyed what I have completed though it is only a first rough draft.  Perhaps I should soften some of the edges and make it a YA novel….  Regardless, now I am getting pressured to finish the manuscript by my new audience.  Oh the pressure!

These are the sketches of Rachel and Clarence that she did while reading the manuscript.  They are made of awesome and I just had to share:

Rachel West

Rachel West

Clarence West

Clarence West

Back in the Saddle Again!

I had nearly a 5,000 word weekend.  Which, since NaNoWriMo last November has been the only significant contribution of new content to The West Wind.

I know this will probably only fuel the fires of debate around the hazards of binge writing, but too bad.  I don’t think I would have even made it this far without the binge.  And at the very least I have the pressure of a half-finished draft of a novel to compel me to move forward.  Well sort of.

I have heard of writers who love to write but find every excuse to avoid actually doing it.  I think it was on one of the writing podcasts…  I most certainly believe that I am one of those types of writers.  The latest most well exploited excuse was my complete inability to get anywhere near one of the computers on which I typically write.  Solved that with a new ASUS netbook.  Which, I must say, is quite handy.  Perhaps it was just an excuse to rationalize a new toy.  Hmmmm.

The West Wind

Here’s the blurb for The West Wind:

Rachel West and half brother Clarence emigrate from Post-Victorian London to the American West and are swept up in intrigues fueled by greed, resentment, and the need for revenge in this steam/hydrogen-punk tale dominated by plots and power struggles between rich and powerful industrialists.  It is a world of massive floating mansions, horses, stagecoaches, airships, private railroad cars, dusty western towns, flying machines, and marvelous traveling mechanical freak shows.

NaNoWriMo Update – “The West Wind”

Being the first time through NaNoWriMo I am learning several things.

First: 1667 words a day is a lot.

Second: I am glad I did as much pre-writing as I did – it is helping me out tremendously.  I just don’t feel like I am staring at a page wondering what to do next.  I take a look at my story lines and I know roughly what I need to accomplish in the next several scenes.

Third: I am finding that outlining a bunch of scenes at a broader level makes the writing go a lot faster.  I lose a little ground as I replace my outline with real text, but it has been a super help.

Finally, Did I mention 1667 words is a lot!  I got behind early due to some other obligations and just haven’t seemed to get caught back up.  I am finding it easier to write and write regularly.  I look forward to it and so far have not gotten discouraged.

19,505.  About 3,800 off where I should be at this point.


Rachel, Clarence, and the Pretty Clock Lady

Final post from my pre-writing before NaNoWiMo.  Rachel and Clarence have a nice evening out…


“What is this place Rachel?”  asked Clarence looking about at the tents and people.

“It is ‘Dr. Magnifico’s Mechanical Wonders and Traveling Sideshow.’” Rachel read from an ornate hand lettered banner that hung over the entrance to the show.

“Mmmm” replied Clarence around a brightly colored nugget of rock candy on a stick.

Rachel watched men and women milling about or standing on tiptoes craning for a look into the open sided tents that held the mechanical wonders.  She squinted through the haze of coal smoke and steam lit to a warm glow by hundreds of kerosene lamps towards a broad opening at the other end of the show where she could hear music playing.

Clarence tugged at her hand and pointed into one of the tents where she caught a glimpse of a wiry haired old man in a long apron and goggles hung at his neck staring lovingly as a pair of mechanical mantids cavorted about on the table before him.

“Step right up! Step right up!” Rachel heard the call of a show barker on a small stage opposite a brightly painted calliope that huffed steam and raucous music into the night air.  “Come see the mechanical miracle, the jewel of the Jade Empire that has traveled thousands of miles to astound you with the wonders of the modern technological age.”

Clarence eagerly pulled Rachel into the crowd that had gathered at the foot of the small stage where a young Chinese woman in a red silk robe paraded sensuously.

“May I have two volunteers from the crowd please?” the barker asked.  In response, two young men leapt forward and clambered up on the stage.

Plants thought Rachel.

Rachel watched as the barker held a brief conference with the men and then conducted them to positions on the stage where they raised a cloth with a colorful landscape highlighted by a rolling turreted wall.  The Chinese woman slipped behind the screen, turned away from the crowd and slid the robe from her shoulders.  A blue and green dragon tattoo could be seen in flight on mechanical wings across her back dipping beneath her long black hair that flowed from her head.  She turned to face the audience and gave a demure nod to the men holding the screen.  At this signal, the men dropped the makeshift curtain.

Rachel heard Clarence gulp as he clapped his hands over his eyes.  All around her gasps filled the air, as she stood mesmerized by the Chinese woman standing naked from the waist up.  An elaborate brass cage with fanciful etchings and ornate filigree stood where her breasts and stomach should have been.  Inside, Rachel could see hundreds of spinning gears, coiled springs, and a slow, almost hypnotic motion, of what appeared to be jewel encrusted bellows.  The woman’s flesh was pink and puckered where the mechanics met the rest of her natural body.

“It is ok Clarence,” Rachel said tugging at his arms.  “She is part automaton.  Look, you can see her breathing.  And there,” Rachel pointed, “you can even see her heart beating.”

“Something is wrong Rachel,” said Clarence.  On stage, a look of shock registered on the face of the Chinese woman that, only a moment ago, held a look of supreme confidence.  Within seconds, the woman had fallen to one knee and put a hand to the stage to steady herself.

“It is all part of the act” Rachel assured Clarence.  But it was the frantic actions of the barker, all attempt at showmanship gone, that shocked Rachel into action.

“Rachel, you need to help the pretty clock lady!” Rachel heard Clarence shout as she pushed her way toward the stage amid the cries of alarm raised by the crowd.