Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 1

Thanks so much to everyone that commented on yesterday's post. They certainly got me to thinking about two things: Cooking and Writing.

Cooking-wise, I am now trying to figure out how I will whip up my masterpieces while getting someone else to do the clearing up. Yes. I am a) that lazy b) that evil.

Writing-wise, the comments got me to thinking. Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I technically have no idea how many words I need to finish the book. I'm currently approaching 40k words, while the word counts in Fantasy novels lie somewhere between 150k and 200k. So... I'm roughly a quarter of the way through. But how many words I need to finish the story?

I chose 4000 words per day arbitrarily since the goal sounds both challenging and nearly doable. If I successfully get that many words done, I'll hit 100k by the 31st. While that still lets me fall short on the word-count, it should be enough for me to finish the story. I'll make up the rest when I rewrite and write in the details.

But... As Nevets pointed out, daily goals puts a lot of pressure on the writer. He pointed out that it only worked for him for a month - technically all that I need - before it crushed him. I really don't need to be crushed. After all. I have another book to write. But heaven knows that I have been writing Doorways for two years now. It's time I finish it. Next year brings many changes to my lifestyle - which will only make finishing the story more challenging. So if I'm going to get the draft done, it will be in this month.

But then... I thought. Instead of making it feel like a job, I'm going to dress it up as something else. I'm calling it the Great December Writer's Challenge. My goal: finishing the beast by New Years Eve. Word-count: whatever it takes, but roughly 4000 words a day.

But then I thought... Surely I'm not alone here. Surely there are people who made New Years resolutions this year to finish that book - only they didn't. Or people who want to finish their edits in time to submit their work to agents in January. Anything.

If you have anything writing related that you want to finish by 23h59 on 31 December, please join me in the challenge. Set a goal, let me know and let's get it done together.  

That said... I think it's time for me to go kick some word count butt.


  1. I make myself frantic when I have goals. They don't work for me. Best of luck to you. You may not do 4000 a day but I bet you'll also have days when you write a lot more.

  2. I haven't been writing nearly as long as you have on this book, but I feel that I've had plenty of time/opportunity to finish my rough draft. I've just wasted my time trying to make what I have written absolutely perfect--and that's not what a first draft is for.

    SO I'm basically setting up that same goal :) I'll have to write at least 1k a day. My co-writer is going to put it in as well. Together we'll get out 50k in 25 days and HOPEFULLY finish the first draft :)

    You're definitely not alone!

  3. Thanks Jolene! I need all the luck I can get. :-) Thanks for dropping by.

    Jessica I feel for you. That's why I spent so much time writing. This is the third rough draft version of the same story. I kept self-editing away my work, so I recycle binned the second one, bought a blank book and started writing the third version in pen. That way, I'm forced to write the rough draft.

    But I'm glad to hear you're in the same boat as me. Best of luck! Let me know how you're getting along.


  4. Misha- A first time author, even for fantasy, really should come under 100k and that is pushing it. If you're writing YA, try and curb it around 70-80k.

  5. Hi Misha, first time visitor. Since I have a drafted MS I don't have any word count goals. Now I'm doing the research and character development. Best wishes to you and your first book. And thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

  6. Maybe you could combine writing with cooking, and write a cookbook?

    As for writing goals, no, I find other ways with which to torture myself :)
    The enigmatic, masked blogger

  7. That's a good point, Samantha. I am working on the industry standard - which is probably based on what they want experienced writers to write... Maybe I'll come in under 100k for Doorways, but it will be a huge challenge... :-)

    Thanks Mariah, I'm getting the feeling I'll need it. ;-)

    Hey Stephen! Thanks for dropping by and for the follow. What are you going to write next?

    Lol Blogger maybe I should see if I can succeed on not burning water. Then I'll think about a cook book. :-P As for tortuous writing goals... Let me just say that I'm going to feel the burn tonight...

  8. That's a lot of words Misha. I've never set writing goals, but I did set editing goals recently as you know.

    Check with the publishers you are interested in about novel length. It is changing. Here in the US it used to be 130,000 to 180,000 for high or epic fantasy. Now it is 80,000. I worked hard to reach the goal and have a 130,000 ms. That is just one of many reasons why I am self publishing.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  9. I really, really want to finish my novel by the end of December, too. It looks unlikely from here. Maybe impossible. But I'm still going to try, since I just figured out how to end it, and my plot is ramping up.

  10. My novels are usually around 80,000 words. Right now I'm about 115 pages into my new novel. I've got to get going as well. Much luck!

  11. Nancy I'm still impressed with you for reaching your writing goals. I must say that I'm finding the word-count cut more than annoying and have been contemplating it all day yesterday. So it might have changed how I write the book(s).

    Golden it's always easier to write towards the end, I find. Best of luck with the WiP!

    Kathi, best of luck with your writing.


  12. I want to finish Chapter Six of Fie Eoin, which is a big fat mess right now. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but I need to re-write and edit and polish to a shine, and that takes me a long time.

    Good luck on finishing your book! We'll have to keep whipping each other to the finish line! You can do it! Go go go!

  13. Awesome! Let me know how it goes. In the meantime, let me get back to the story. Best of luck to you.



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