NaNoWriMo 2017 ~ Wrap-Up

My goal in November was to put aside Wicked Witch, Retired for a while get a grip on my One Ahead project. One Ahead is a series of short novella mysteries—what I’ve decided is probably the best form for the David Abbott stories I want to tell. My goal is to have three stories finished before I publish them. During November, I wanted to see just how much work I had left on this and actually, you know, do work.

Here’s what I did in November:

  • I reread the first story. It’s in pretty good shape. It still needs line editing.
  • Rewrote the second story. There are still a few things that need to be cleaned up and maybe a stronger bit of “B” plot to be added, but I think the bones are good.
  • Gathered bits I had written at other points in time and have added them to an incomplete plot framework for the third story. If that sounds particularly Frankensteiny, you’re not wrong. I didn’t get as far as I should have.

Word-count wise, not a strong month. I was taking 1/25 of word count for rereading, 1/5 of word count for rewriting, 1/1 of word count for writing new words and only managed a 9344 words. …That’s a long way from 50K. There was a lot of rewriting, something which I am very slow at doing, even if it’s actual word-for-word transcription. There are definitely weeks when I could have gotten more done.

I had planned to go back to WWR, but I have some momentum and renewed excitement about One Ahead. My reading schedule for the next month or more is pretty magic heavy as well.


Post Hodgepodge – November 2017

When I don’t have much to say, but still want to post…

NaNoWriMo 2017 ~ Week 3 Update

Went through my previous NaNoWriMo attempts and pieced together about 2/3 of a story. I’m working my way through rewriting, but it hasn’t been without a few snags. (Mainly due to my dithering.)

Review ~ Salvation on Sand Mountain

Cover via Goodreads

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington

For New York Times reporter Dennis Covington, what began as a journalistic assignment—covering the trial of an Alabama pastor convicted of attempting to murder his wife with poisonous snakes—would evolve into a headlong plunge into a bizarre, mysterious, and ultimately irresistible world of unshakable faith: the world of holiness snake handling. Set in the heart of Appalachia, Salvation on Sand Mountain is Covington’s unsurpassed and chillingly captivating exploration of the nature, power, and extremity of faith—an exploration that gradually turns inward, until Covington finds himself taking up the snakes. (via Goodreads)

This book was a random find from my neighborhood’s free little library. “Faith-based snake handling,” I thought. “There’s a topic I never knew I wanted to know about.” Unfortunately, though, Salvation on Snake Mountain has an identity crisis, one that Covington admits to in the 15th anniversary edition’s Afterword. What started out as a news item morphed into something personal for the author, but Covington tries to straddle the line between journalism and memoir, not committing to one or the other. I think that’s to the book’s detriment. Still, an interesting book about something I only knew about as a stereotype.

Publishing info, my copy: trade paperback, Da Capo Press, 1994 (2009)
Acquired: Neighborhood Free Little Library, 2/21/17
Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Deal Me In, Week 47

(What’s Deal Me In?)

“The Music of the Yellow Brass” by  Charles Beaumont

Card picked: 2 – Deuces are WILD!

Since I’m setting up my list for next year’s Deal Me In, I had no “loose” stories. Instead, through a convoluted wandering around the internet, I landed on an audio collection of Charles Beaumont’s stories and listened to the first one. I was vaguely familiar with Beaumont’s name. Turns out, he’s a golden age speculative fiction author, somewhat renowned for his work on The Twilight Zone TV show. And I ended up listening to a story with absolutely no speculative fiction aspects what-so-ever.

Jaunito is a skinny young man, a torero in training, who is miraculously given the chance at a fight with lots of money on the line for him and his mentor Enrique. It is all too good to be true. Sometimes, it’s not just the bull’s blood that the crowd wants to see.

I enjoyed Beaumont’s writing, providing a slice of bull-fighting life.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Week 2 Update

What Am I Doing? – Magical Rebellion 2017

Finished rewriting “The Horrid Haunting.” Man, that word count makes it feel like I haven’t done any work… (I’m taking 1/5 words for rewriting.)

5386 / 50000

But, I do feel like the story is pretty solid. It needs a couple of things cleaned up and it’s a little short. “The Horrid Haunting” could use a more solid B plot.

I am a little behind. I wanted to finish the rewrite by last weekend. Didn’t happen. Now, I have two weeks to write the third story. I’ve been going through my notes.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Week 1 Update

What Am I Doing? – Magical Rebellion 2017

Wednesday, 11/1 – Reread “The Sorrowful Seamstress.” I think it’s pretty good. “Word count”: 631

631 / 50000

Thursday, 11/2 – Intended to reread “The Horrid Haunting” before rewriting, but found that I had at sometime in the past (August 2016, if file dates are to be believed) started a serious pick-apart/rewrite. One file had a bunch of notes and crossouts and one file was only 7100 words long. So, I just dove into a rewrite.  Managed to rewrite one chapter.

1243 / 50000

Friday, 11/3 – Been suffering from a flare-up/fatigue since Wednesday afternoon. Blarg. Rewriting on “The Horrid Haunting” continues.

1905 / 50000

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2017 – Week 1 Update”

NaNoWriMo – Magical Rebellion 2017

I will be rebelling again this year and working on a trio of novellas which are in various states of completion. I’ll be giving myself:

  • 1/25 of word count for rereading
  • 1/5 of word count for rewriting
  • 1/1 of word count for writing new words (of course)

This is the back-burner project that I have been working on forever (or rather, five years). My first stab at it was for NaNoWriMo in 2012.

The One Ahead series focuses on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, he was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era. All with a mystery bent.

The first story, “The Sorrowful Seamstress,” is pretty much finished. I’m going to give it a reread and maybe some touch-ups. The second story, “The Horrid Haunting,” is finished…I believe…but needs at least a read-through and a rewrite pass. The third story is a nebulous not-quite idea. I’m going to need to plot and write that sucker.

Will I get a 50K “word count” out of this? I don’t know, but I have 2-3 other short stories I might work on if it comes to that. Or maybe I’ll come up with a fourth One Ahead story. Is this in the spirit of NaNoWriMo? Maybe not, but I just want an excuse to work like crazy to finish this project.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Prep Post #1

Publicly declaring goals is often not a good thing for me (no, really), but I do like making lists of things that I need/want to get done. This is that.

Things to get done before Nov. 1st:

  • Finish a draft of Wicked Witch, Retired. I’m talking a super rough draft. A NaNoWriMo level of quality of draft.
  • Finish reading/editing/formatting pass on Eric’s SUPErViLLaINS.
  • Read through my Abbott notes. Maybe have an idea for the third story.

And if you want to find me at the NaNo site, I’m katen.

July 2017 Writing Wrap-Up


I had a secret July writing goal: Camp NaNoWriMo, 15,000 words.

Back in June, I thought adding 15K to Wicked Witch, Retired was a wild stretch goal. I decided that if I managed 10K, I’d be pretty happy. With the con and nationals (and Sundays off), I had 20 work days in July. I knew I’d be formatting/rereading some of Eric’s books too. Adding 10,000 words, that was going to be work. And then WesterCon happened and I left behind what had been dragging on me.

I added 15,428 words to WWR and rewrote 11,286 words.


Primarily, more of the above.

I’m also going to try my hand #FlashFicHive. It’s a bi-monthly Twitter-based flash fiction workshop. I used to write more flash fiction and I’d like to again. My only worry is that FlashFicHive is going to be a bit too social. The eternal conundrum of an introvert: the want to participate…but only a little.