Ever Forward

September was a busy month for writing, which is the good kind of busy.

I participated in a creative challenge hosted online by a friend of a friend, with the goal of coming away with a first draft manuscript for the first Wolf’s Eye short stories. I didn’t want to set a word count goal, as I’ve tried NaNoWriMo in the past, and it has never worked for me (though that could also be the fact that it’s in November; whoever decided that very obviously never worked a retail job when the holiday season is in full swing right then). So no word count goal, as I wasn’t sure how many I’d be able to manage nor how many the story would end up being. I did expect it being maybe 7000-10,000 words, which I consider a decently-sized good story (though Wikipedia disagrees and would dub that falling within the novelette range).

Remember a couple of posts ago when I said I had written 10,000 in six or seven days? Well, that was for this challenge story, the Wolf’s Eye story, and I since breached 17k before work got too busy and my schedule too hectic to sit down and feasibly write a nice chunk of words every day. I know the basic beats/parts for it, though am unsure if it will end up having three parts or four. (When I say “parts” in this instance, I mean more internal “exposition-rising action-climax-falling action” type of parts rather than a formal “Part I, Part II, Part III,” etc.)

Not only have I blown by “short story”, going by the word count guidelines for fiction, 17,500 words is the max for a novelette, and I’ve passed that now, too! I have the sense it might end up being a long novella or even a short novel by those standards. Certainly much more than I expected!

But, unexpected though it may be, it is certainly welcome. I am enjoying the story and developing the world more as I go (no big surprise there), and am looking forward to working more on it. I don’t want to jinx anything, but… if I find time to really push myself, I just might be able to have a rough manuscript around the end of the year, as was my goal for this whole year.

I learned a bit more about myself as a writer during that challenge last month, and have been practicing bettering my writing habits as I was forced to to make my “bonus” word goal each day. I surprised myself on how often I wrote and how often I exceeded my daily goal. It was nice to look back over the month and see my progress. I will definitely be participating in future challenges held, especially if they give me similar results.

I’m left wanting to talk more about the actual story, but at the same time, I don’t. I’m excited about it, and excited about learning/developing more about it and the main characters and the plots I’m sketching out, but I am going to write more of the story itself before officially talking about it. I think I need to reach a certain “mile marker” in the story before I will feel comfortable talking about it more. As if discussing it in more depth before that might somehow prevent me from reaching it. In some ways, I suppose I’m a little superstitious as a writer, but it is superstition perhaps born from fearing how few finished things I have right now, and how much I am working to change that and complete those things. I know a lot of taking a while to finish projects has been as much work scheduling nightmares as it was waiting for my writing skill to catch up with the level of ideas I have—in order to do them the greatest justice. Even so, I will knock on wood and hold my tongue for now, until more of the raw narrative is under my belt.

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