Novel update

Here’s a quote from a post I just made to my novel blog.

Chapter 18, below, represents the end of the plot. However, I am still 3,400 words short of the 50,000-word goal required by National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s the plan.

I will be going back and trying to flesh out some existing scenes and/or adding a little bit of new material. It would be too complex to try to update the blog as I do this, so this new material will not be posted. If you just really, really have to see a finished version of this first draft (and remember, that’s all it is), e-mail me (go to my blog for an e-mail link) and let me know. I am not promising I’ll send you one, especially if I’ve never heard from you before.

I will leave the novel up here, in this form, for a week or so after the NaNoWriMo deadline has passed. I will then take it down. At some point during the month, I’ll begin the process of looking at the novel and trying to decide what to do with it next.

Thanks to all of you for your kind comments and encouraging words during the month. Please stop by my regular blog if you’re interested.

I’m back

The trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge was wonderful. We had a great time, but I’m pooped.

I returned to find that one of my last posts intended for this blog was posted to the novel by mistake, and was there all through my absence. Oh, well.

I’ve jumped back into the novel tonight. I will try to do more tomorrow afternoon, and then I have Monday and Tuesday evenings to finish.

Waning days

After Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I will be travelling with my parents, my sister and her family, and my youngest brother and his family to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for a brief getaway. This is the first time we’ve ever done something exactly like this before, and I am really looking forward to it. My 13-year-old niece is really, really looking forward to it. On Monday, she IMed me that she was one-quarter packed. Tuesday, she IMed me that she was half-packed. We’ll be going to Dollywood theme park on Friday, which has special holiday decorations and activities.

Anyway, I’ll be out of reach of the blogosphere until Saturday night. Please try to contain your wailing and gnashing of teeth over this traumatic announcement.

The novel is progressing — and I’m pretty sure I can make 50,000 words by Tuesday, even with my holiday break — but the past few days have felt a little more like speed-writing and a little less like the rush of creativity I felt last week and over the weekend. In the past few days, there have been more passages that I know will have to be rewritten even while I’m writing them. Of course, that’s what was promised from the outset; I never promised you “The Sun Also Rises,” so any flashes of brilliance were a special bonus treat.

But on balance, I still like much of what I’ve done so far. I like the characters, and the situations, and bits and pieces of the dialogue. I really look forward to going back and trying to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. I think I can make it good; I’m not sure, however, if it will ever be marketable. It doesn’t fit any particular genre, and yet it doesn’t have the dramatic heft to be general literature. It’s just a nice little story. I hope you’ve enjoyed the unusual experience of reading a work in progress.

No, seriously, John, we’re really sick of hearing about the novel

I am now at 33,337 words. The reason this is significant is that, by midnight tonight, I needed to be at or beyond 33,333 words in order to make 50,000 by the end of the month. I have now caught up, and for the first time this month I am at or ahead of schedule. I may write a little more tonight, and hope to make good progress tomorrow as well, which will hopefully put me ahead of pace. The reason I want to be ahead of pace is because I will lose a day or two over the weekend when we take a family trip to Pigeon Forge.

Woo hoo!


I have just finished writing a very emotional part of the novel. It is either very good or very bad, and I’m not sure which. I’m also not sure whether to go ahead and use it now or save it until later in the book. At least it’s written, and I can go ahead and add it to my word count even if I save it for later (and I obviously won’t post it to the novel blog until I get to it in the novel).

We’re sick of hearing about the novel, John

With no meetings or other obligations tonight, I had some good time to work on the novel. As it happened, I had a scene tonight where several of the main characters make speeches at a city council meeting, and that turned out to be productive in terms of word-count. But I’ve gone quite a way past that scene.

Anyway, I did more than 3,000 words today. I’m not certain but I think that’s the most I’ve done in a single day’s work, with the possible exception of last Saturday, when I was home all day.

Also, earlier in the day, I thought of a couple of plot twists that will allow me to take the novel past the plot arc I had originally envisioned, since that original story is not going to fill 50,000 words.

Please, as you read the thing, keep in mind that I’m shooting for quantity in this draft, not quality. Some parts of it are purple prose, and some are just silly. But I continue to be surprised by some of the twists and turns it’s taking, and I look forward to wrestling it into shape once National Novel Writing Month has ended.

Kevin’s NaNoing too

As I blogged below, I interviewed Brad Abare and Kevin Hendricks of the “Church Marketing Sucks” web site earlier this week for The Door.

I’ve had to correspond with them since about artwork for the article, and Kevin e-mailed me today; he had apparently gone to my web site and noticed that I am writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. Turns out Kevin is writing one, too! Here it is.

Church Marketing Sucks

I interviewed Brad Abare and Kevin Hendricks of “Church Marketing Sucks” earlier today for The Door. (The Door is backlogged with interviews right now, so It will be mid-year 2005 before this probably sees print.)

I was extremely impressed by both of them. They are passionate about challenging the church to do a better job of communicating its message to others, and yet they are grounded enough to recognize that marketing’s job is to serve, not overwhelm. That kind of marketing does not expect the church to conform; it takes what is already true about the church and finds an effective way of directing that message towards those most in need of it.

I highly recommend their web site for anyone active in a local church. (And I highly recommend being active in a local church.)

The good news: the novel is up to more than 21,000 words. The bad news: it’s November 15, halfway through the month, so I should be at 25,000. But I’m continuing to make progress, and I may not even be through for this evening.

I’m still here

Thanks to all of you (and there have been several) who have passed along kind comments about the novel. I apologize for not having more content in this forum while I am working on it.

I am having a blast with NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if “Postage Required” will end up being marketable or not, but the characters are taking on lives of their own, there are little bits of business that I really like, and I’m starting to at least feel like I can write a novel if I want to. I may or may not get to 50,000 words this month, but I’ve definitely accomplished something, and maybe if this one doesn’t work out I can get a running start on another one.