Reading the First Draft

After giving myself a couple weeks off for the holidays and as a break from writing in general, I’m finally sitting down to read my first draft. The idea is to read it as a reader (as well as I can) to see how the pacing feels, check for plot holes, how it holds my interest, so on.

So far, things aren’t going as well as I’d hoped.

Not to say the story is bad. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. What stands out to me the most is the pacing. Through ten chapters of reading, the book has a feeling of most things being ‘glossed over.’ Details are thin. There’s a layer of impatience to everything, as if I’m hurrying to get to the next scene.

Honestly, I’m not surprised.

Writing a book is obviously much different than reading one. A scene that can take an hour or more to write and tweak and feel satisfied with can take six minutes to read. That kind of time distortion is hard to account for when deciding whether I’ve written too much or too little. On this story, I feared writing too much and boring the reading, so I tried to streamline the story as much as I could.

Mission super-duper accomplished.

Along with that, I can tell where the shortcomings of my preparation are. A lot of the characters I have were created as I went, and I didn’t spend a lot of time developing them before plopping them into the story. Because of that, they sort of evolve as time goes on. Normally, you want that kind of thing, but it doesn’t work so well for my story as it all takes place within the span of a few days. Characters don’t generally do a lot of changing in that short of time.

There are some silver linings though. I still like the story. A lot. In fact, I’m pretty happy with how it’s unfolding. My goals of creating questions and intrigue work (in my opinion). There are reasons to continue turning the page. I’m also comfortable with how it all sounds, my ‘voice.’ Though the prose still needs improvement, I only want to tighten rather than change it completely. That’s new from a couple years ago.

However, all of this means my second revision will likely take more time than I anticipate. So be it. I’m self-publishing this thing, and I want it to be the best version I can create before posting it online. I’ll do myself a huge disservice if I don’t put the proper time into it. I’d love to be done with everything before July, but with a second pass to do, more feedback from beta-readers, covers and formatting and copy editing to do… I don’t know how realistic July is. It’s a goal, one I’ve broken down into little milestones. Only time will tell if July is realistic.

Either way, I’ll keep working toward that ultimate end, and then it’s on to the next one.


Word Log

When I started working on my novel back in January, one thing I did to help keep myself going was keep a word log. It allowed me to track my progress (my goal being 3k words a week) and helped me realize how quickly words add up. I’m glad I did it. If you’re struggling with progress or motivation, I suggest keeping a log for yourself. It’s a nice tool for seeing how productive you have or haven’t been, and it shows you two very important things: how quickly words add up and how quickly time goes by.

I’ve left my notes intact just to give a glimpse at my own process. I initially combined Jan/Feb for reasons I can’t recall, but I stopped doing that as soon as I realized how important seeing daily progress was for me. You’ll also notice some monthly/weekly totals along with other random notes. Let it be known that I tried to I log all words written, even if they weren’t all used or some were edited out later. Work is work. If you do a log, give yourself credit for the work you do. It can feel pretty deflating to sit for two hours, write 1,400 words, but only see a net gain of 300 because of heavy editing or changes. Give yourself credit.

The format is as follows: Date (start count) : (end count) session total


Jan/Feb total: 14400 – Chp 1-3

Mar 12 (0) : (840)

Mar 13 (840) : (2350) 1500

Mar 14 (2350) : (3350) 1000

Mar 20 (3350) : (3850) 500

Mar 21 (3870) : (4760) 900

Mar 26 Chp 5 rewrite (5460) 700

Mar 27 Chp 6 0 : (1560) 1560

Mar 27 (1560) : (2790) 1230

End of March total: 23,263 (good fucking job man. Keep it up)

Apr 3 (2790) : (3375) 600

Apr 4 (3375) : (4500) 1225 (chp6 done)

Apr 5 chp7 (0) : (1525) 1525

Apr 10 (1525) : (2980) 1460 (chp 7 done – update count after final review)

Apr 11 (0) : (900) 900

Apr 12 (900) : (1230) 330

Apr 17 (1230) : (3280) 2050

Apr 19 (3280) : (4220) 940

End of April total: 32,293 (Pretty good considering two weeks of no writing @NJ. Keep pushing)

May 7 (4107) : (4430) 300 – lots of rewriting chp 8 though

May 8/9 (4430) : (5825 end chp 8) 1400 + 300

May 10 (300) : (1380) 1080

May 16 (1380) : (2380) 1000

May 17 (2380) : (2570 end chp 9) 200

May 17 (0) : (1900) 2100 for the night

May 21 (1900) : (3250) 1350

May 22 (3250) : (4590) 1340

May 23 (4590) : (5260 end 10) (880) 1500 night total

May 24 (880) : (1980 end 11) 1100 (5.3k weekend!!!! Good fucking game! You are proud of you!)

May 30 (0) : (270 end 12)

May 31 (0) : (1100) 1100

End of May total: 45,185… fuckin’ A. Amazing job. 3k short of schedule. Maybe we can make that up in June…

Jun 6 (1094) : (3550) 2500…. Booyah

Jun 7 (3550) : (4020 +rewrite) 500 – 3k total for the week (two days)

Jun 12 (0) : (750) 750

Jun 13 (750) : (2250) 1500

Jun 14 (2250) : (2300 end of 14) 50 (0) – (800) 850 total (3.1k week)

Jun 20 (revision work 13:4005) : (4216) 200

Jun 20 (revision work 14:2300) : (2756) 450 : 650 total words for 20th

Jun 21 (revision work 14:2750) : (3220) 450

Jun 21 back to chp 15 (800) : (1840) 1000 (2.1k for the week, not great but father’s day and lots of revision work. Good effort. Have a beer or four)

Jun 27 (0) : (1360) 1360

Jun 28 (1360) : (2630) 1300

Jun 28 (0) : (200) 200  2.8k week

End of June total: 56,184… You’re doing it. You’re literally writing a book. 4k words shy of your timeline goal, but so the fuck what. You’re. Doing. IT.

Jul 1 (215 chp 17) : (975) 750

July 2 (975) : (1420) 450

July 5 (1420) : (1837) 400 end 17 (1.6k week, not good, but keep going. I blame 4th of July)

July 10 (2828 chp16) : (2733… yay revision word count loss!) end 16

July 10 (1837 chp 17) : (2500) 660 …not bad, lots of work done with 16 at least.

July 11 (2500) : (3440) 1k-ish. ..maybe the end of 17

July 12 (3440) : (3560 end chp 17) 120

July 12 (0) : (790) 2.5k week…. Not bad. Still under the goal, but things are getting tighter. More planning required. So it goes.

Aug 6 (3576 – 17 rewrite) : (3649)

Aug 7 (3649 – 17 rewrite still) : (4170 – 17 rewrite done) 600 added to the chapter

Aug 7 (788) : (1460) 700ish, 1300ish for the night

Aug 8 (1460) : (2090) 600

Aug 8 (0) : (950) 2850 words for the week

Aug 21 (950) : (1870) 900

Aug 21 (1870) : (2630) 750

Aug 22 (2630) : (2600) end 19

Aug 22 (0) : (980) 2600 ish for the week. Not bad for two nights of writing (important to get 3)

Aug 27 rewrites… : Chp 17 – 50ish words, chp 18 (2060 – 2600 – 2230) about 550ish written, chp 19 (2610 – 3100 – 2740) about 120… so total rewrite count is, call it 750

Aug 28 (0) : chp 20 (1550)

Aug 29 (1550) : (2800) 3550 for the week

Sep 5 (2800) : (3630 end 20) 1000 written after rewrite

Sep 5 (0) : (200)

Sep 6 (200) : (550 end 21?) 475 written after changes

Sep 6 (0 chp 22) : (1380) 3050 for the week

Sep 18 : 200 for attempting another version of 21

Sep 19 (chp 21 vr3 – 0) : 150 + (500)

Sep 19 (1380) : (1580) 200

Sep 20 (1580) : (2600) 1000 2k week

Sep 24 chp 22 rewrite (0) : (1850) 1850

Sep 25 (1850) : (3600) 1750

Sep 26 (3600) : (4600) 1000

Sep 27 (4600) : (5510 written, 5050 total) 450

Sep 27 (chp 23 0) : (275) 1300 written for the day

Sep 27 (chp 24 0) : (575) 1800ish daily total? Almost 6k for the week… fuck yeah (‘murica)

Oct 2 (chp 25 – 0) : (1750) 1750

Oct 3 (1750) : (2070) 300

Oct 3 (chp 24 575) : (1175) 600

Oct 4 (chp 25 2070) : (3105) 925 …3700 week, thumbs up

Oct 17 (3105) : (3470) 370

Oct 17 (chp 26 0) : 170  450 night total… and kinda stuck again 😦

Oct 18 26 merged into 25 (3670) : (4840) 1150… 1600 week

Oct 23 (4840, back into 25) : (5500) 650

Oct 24 (5500) : (6022) 525    1175 written (5290 actual end)

Oct 24 (chp 26 0) : (990) 2160

Oct 25 (990) : (1900) 900  3.1k week

Oct 30 (1900) : (2850) 950

Oct 31 (2850) : (2950) 100

Nov 14 Chp 25 rework (5317) : 5860 (550)

Nov 14 Chp 26 rework (2930) : 3300 (350)

Nov 15 Ending section (0) : (1280)

Nov 21 Wynn’s morning (0) : (550) 550

Nov 21 Ending Section (1280) : (2070) 700

Nov 23 chp 25 rework (5863) : (6030) 150  (final 4440)

Nov 23 chp 26 rework (3300) : (4125) 825

Nov 24 chp 26 rework (4125) : (5275) 1150   about 3.3k week… back on track

Nov 27 chp 26 (5270) : (6230) 950

Nov 27 chp 26 all additions and cuts made (3930) : (4060) 150

Nov 28 (4060) : (4330) 300 : (5745 section added) : (6070) 325: 625 total

Nov 28 chp 27 (0) : (600) 2300 week

Dec 4 chp 26 change draft (0) : (1410)

Dec 5 26 change (1410) : (1450)

Dec 5 freewrite (anna dreams) (0) : (330)

Dec 5 Wynn’s nightmare (0) : (1000)

Dec 11 chp 27 rewrite (0) : (1340) before dream addition

Dec 11 chp 27 (2345) : (2800) 450 + 1350 – call it 1800

Chp 27 final count (2617)

Dec 12 chp 28 (0) : (290) 2.1k night… good job, almost there

Dec 13 chp 28 (290) : (1520) 1250

Dec 13 chp 29 (0) : (740) 4.1k week

Dec 18 chp 29 (740) : (1760) 1000

Dec 19 chp 29 (1760) : (3290) 1550

Dec 19 chp 30 (567) : (560)

Dec 20 chp 30 (560) : (1270) 700

Dec 20 chp 29 (3290) : (3420) 150  3.4k

The End

I’ve done it. I’ve completed the first draft of my very first novel.

I’d love to express jovial excitement, but I’m pretty tired. It’s just after 6AM. I’ve been working for the last five hours. I’m happy but tired. This is a journey that began back in January, and though the first draft is done, more work remains. Another pass. More details added. More feedback. I’m still months away from self-publication, but holy shit… this is pretty amazing.

Total word count for the first draft: 95,222 across 30 chapters.


I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting it since the holidays are in full swing over the next few weeks, but I’ll post my writing log when I can. I purposely kept track of my word count per session, each day, each week, to both track my progress and give myself motivation to keep moving forward. Looking back, I’m so glad I did it. Hopefully it will inspire others to put in chunks of time here and there, as it all adds up in the end.

In Regards to Flash Fiction (and other things)

Over the last week or so I’ve made several attempts to write up a flash fiction, and while some ideas have come along, nothing has made it through my normal process entirely. I have a couple drafts done, but when I read them, I dislike them. They seem flat. Typical. A bit mundane.

I normally wouldn’t care about this, or bother mentioning it, but my postings have withered away to almost nothing, and that’s something I’m attempting to remedy (with no success). I’d like people to have a reason to swing by now and then, but I’ve not given them that reason, and no one else can. It obviously falls to me.

I’ll keep trying. Effort eventually leads to results.

As far as writing in general, I continue making progress on my book. I’m closing in on the final chapters now. Exciting stuff. Last week was a bit rough for progress, but this week has made up for it. It’s been interesting to see the story become more difficult from a writing point of view as I come closer to the end. As more things lock in and become permanent, I have less freedom. Fewer options. It’s been interesting struggling with that.

I’ve also been going through a bit of personal revelation. I’m starting to understand why I’m bothering with any of this at all. I’m beginning to see what I would like to become and the reasons behind it all. The more I think on it, the more I realize I want to write words that eventually reach people and help them, comfort them. I want to touch people’s lives (as pompous as that may sound), give them reason to believe in themselves, and inspire them to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.

How ironic that I’ve come to realize this at the tail end of my first book, a horror story. Oh well.

Also a little ironic that I’ve already decided on writing a second book to go with this first one in order to explore some of the characters further. Although, as of now, the path I’m on makes sense to me. I can see where it goes from here, where I am and where I want to be. Let these two horror novels be what they will. Let them teach me more about my processes, what I shouldn’t do and what I can do better. Maybe by the time I start moving into the literature I feel I’m supposed to write, would really like to write, my ability will be enough to find others.

And if not, I’m no worse for the wear.

Still Alive

A quick check in. Oh how the time slips by…

Still writing, still chipping away at the ol’ book. I’ve attempted a couple Flash Fictions as well, but they didn’t quite turn out. They’re ‘shelved’ for now, which is where material goes to eventually be forgotten forever.

I’ve been having a harder to writing lately. I work nights, and I try to keep my sleep schedule as intact as possible during my nights off, but life gets in the way and makes that tricky. That gives writing the double-whammy of both interfering with my time and my sleep. Writing material I’m satisfied with is difficult enough, doing so while tired is another level entirely.

I’m keeping to my goal (mostly) of 3k words a week. Just keep pushing.

That goes for you as well, whoever you are and whatever you pursue. Just keep pushing.


I’m home again after spending eight days in Paris. It was a wonderful trip, one that I could write about for hours upon hours. If you’ve ever been on the fence about visiting, please consider my opinion of Paris to be a violent shove toward the side of going. It’s an amazing city with an unbelievable amount of things to see, and delicious food to boot. I typically hate cities as I feel too compressed, but Paris maintains a low skyline by law, so it’s a bit like being in a mini-Cooper with the top off and the windows down. It’s tight, but you can still breathe and feel the wind in your hair (or across your scalp in my case).

I don’t have photos of this particularly, but one of my favorite aspects of Paris was how many people seem to get out and enjoy the city, and that the city allows them to do so. My wife and I went to the River Seine multiple times to sit and watch the boats go by, each time doing so with wine or snacks (or both). We were among many. There are sections of the riverbank where visitors setup PA systems for live bands and dance the night away. Others bring full course meals and sit with their friends for hours. It was fantastic to see and a wonderful change of pace from what you typically experience in the parks and beaches around the US (no glass bottles, no alcohol, no loitering, no entrance after sundown, no talking, no fun, etc).

Go to Paris, please.

Now for a few photos.


Our trip was a guided tour through Trafalgar (our second time using the company with zero regrets, and this trip particularly had an excellent tour director), and one of the many places we visited was Monet’s Gardens. It was serene in its beauty and very easy to understand Monet’s inspiration.


The path leading to his home.


We spent a full day walking among various sites of the Normandy invasion, but Omaha beach (above) stuck with me the most. There are two reasons. One, it’s nothing but a shooting alley, and the Germans took full advantage of that. Standing on that beach, one that is now populated with families and playing children (something our fallen soldiers can surely appreciate), it was impossible to not feel the weight of death that was so easily wrought there. The second reason is that all along this beach, several homes openly display the American flag beside their own French colors. 70 years later, and the people still remember and respect what happened there. It was moving to see such honor.


The Palace of Versailles is amazing in its own right, but what impressed my wife and I even more were the grounds the palace sits upon, over 215,000 acres. This one photo is barely a glimpse of what they hold, but it does give you the general idea of the size.

I’ll stop here, as I don’t want to turn this into a travel blog, but I did want to share. I loved my trip, and I have every intention of going back, and hopefully soon. Expect some Flash Fiction that will obviously draw inspiration from this visit.


June has come and gone, and my total word count now sits at just over 56k. I’m pretty happy about it. Per the timeline I created back in January, something to give myself both goals and deadlines, I should be at a total of 60k. I’ve never been so happy to come up short in reaching a goal. This steady, continuous progress has been so tremendous. Considering my primary goal with this book is to finish, I’m more than satisfied to see myself still on the path after five months of writing.

In other news, I’d like to produce more Flash Fiction as the end of the year approaches and my book nears completion. I’ve mentioned that desire before, but now there’s a bit more purpose behind it. To keep it simple, I hate advertising. I’d rather write stories than pump bullshit onto social media, so maybe I’ll get lucky by finding traction with some flash fiction and writing prompts off Reddit (though my expectations are not high).

If you enjoy something you see here, kindly pass the word (if you think of it). I’d much rather travel via word of mouth. And if you don’t, I’ll take that as a cue to write a little better 🙂

I’ve Committed My First Murder

In all honesty, it went better than I expected even though I didn’t know what to expect. I built him up. I followed his footsteps and learned about his life, his love, his loss. I found his strengths. I exposed his weaknesses.

Then, while his friends slept mere feet away, I took his life. I turned his own ego against him and snatched all that was left of his life, the pieces he’d managed to reassemble, in one immediate stroke. His friends saw the last of remnants of life leave his body. They clung to him and begged him to stay and wept, and I took his life away all the same.

I could have stopped it all, but I didn’t.

No, this isn’t Flash Fiction.

But it is the first character I’ve killed in my book 😉

I hope others come to enjoy it as much as I did. At the very least, they had better learn to enjoy it. Though first to fall, he won’t be the last. Something more powerful than fate has deemed it necessary—my outline!


I did a total word count on my book to see where I am at the end of May, and I’m just a touch over 45k. Things are going well. Honestly, things are going very well. Story aside, I’m very happy with myself for sticking to this schedule of 3k words a week. Some weeks have been challenging, others not so much, but it has gotten easier as time goes on. Writing is normal. It’s something my brain needs to do, wants to do, not a drag or a chore. At this rate, it feels like the book will complete at around 90k, maybe shorter.


Progress Report

I can tell it’s been awhile since I’ve posted because the WordPress page layout has changed. Anyway…

The book continues. I currently have just over 30k words written. That accounts for seven chapters. So far, so good. Those that are reading and providing feedback seem to be legitimately enjoying the story. That’s a nice feeling and helps to keep my momentum. If I were to guess, I’d say the book is at the 1/3rd point. Right in that neighborhood.

I’m still on track to finish by the end of the year, and now I disappear again 🙂

The standard line applies: bla bla bla, something about flash fiction if it strikes me.