Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Writing Progress Around the Web

1017292_bar_graph_2 Since I started writing weekly posts reporting my ongoing writing progress I've found I've been more engaged with the writing process. I'm not necessarily setting any records as far as pages edited/written, but I'm making solid, steady progress. It's provided a good mechanism to keep me motivated.

That being said, I thought it would be fun to look around to see what other writers (professional or still in-progress like me) are saying about their own writing progress.

Adrian of Chronicling the Novel says "I wanted to complete the first draft of the JASPER novel by 9/30, and I did! The word count came in at 95k, which is quite a bit over the original goal of 60k, and even the revised goal of 80k. This is now technically a completed first draft…". (Nice job, Adrian.)

Scott Pearson comments "Took Friday off to attack the writing projects. Friday and Saturday I finished writing a mystery story for an open-call anthology due Oct. 1. Sunday I put the final touches on a sci-fi story for an invitation-only anthology, due Sep. 30, as well as polishing the mystery story."

Ken of The Eye Sore Times: "This weekend was one of the most productive weekends I've had in a long time. On Friday, I knocked out over 3,000 words on a new story called "Kissing Death." It's my first foray into sci-fi…"

Alma Alexander: "I've broken 90%. Whooo! I think what I have left is either one LONG chapter or two relatively shorter ones - depending if and when there is a break in what has to happen next. That, and the epilogue."

Terri of Musings from the Blonde Side: "I actually did pretty good this week…I worked on View a bit, and will continue to do so over the next two weeks, just to make sure I’m putting the best possible revision out there. On my fireman novella, I actually had to scratch at least 1500 words because the direction I was taking just wasn’t working."

Wistling of At Wist End: "First draft done: Night of the Manticore at 8,200 words, and comments back from 2 first readers."

And, last, Robin Hobb, "For the last couple of days, I've been going back through the earlier chapters, tweaking and fixing and updating my vocabulary file.  It's always a good thing for me to do at this stage of the book.  It recharges my energy for the final long run to the end.  It helps me see places where the story sags, or where the action moves too fast.  It helps me catch character contradictions and helps me see if I've got a balanced series of point of views, or if any one character dominates or is neglected. It's a general comb-through to catch any tangles before they can turn into a big snarl later on in the book."

Writing Update #9

Time for another update on my writing progress. As a quick reminder, I'm working through a first edit of a rough draft of my fantasy adventure novel, The Five Elements.

Here's where I'm at: I reduced the total pages from last week's 381 to 376, and the currently edited page went up from 343 to 348. That gives me a total increase of 10 pages over last week and results in 28 pages left to go to finish.

<aside>I'm curious, how many pages do most people get through in a week? I'm not talking about full-time writers—surely they do more. But for those of us holding down regular jobs and who "write when we have time", what's a 'good' number of pages/week, either edited or new? Some people say 1,000 words/day is a good target for new material. That works out to 4 pages/day, or a max of 21 pages/week (which might vary, of course, if you take weekends off). Editing is a different story (no pun intended), IMO. Sometimes it goes fast. Other times, not so much. So, what are your opinions?</aside>

I do have to bear one thing in mind: I somewhat significantly changed, in my mind, how this story is going to end. That means as I continue to move forward fairly large pieces are getting rewritten as opposed to just making sure my grammar is correct or sentence structure is fine-tuned and polished.

In graphical format, here's my current progress:


Here we have it in percentage form:


I'm at 92.5% complete with 28 pages remaining.

Gotta get back to it now. Another update next week.

Tor Free E-book: War of the Oaks by Emma Bull

n5613 NOTE: While Tor is making two e-books available simultaneously as free downloads (this one and Dogland, by Will Shetterly), I am splitting them up for purposes of my Tor Free E-books Giveaway series.

Tor has reinstated their free e-book giveaway program wherein they will make available for download one free e-book per month. I don't think this continuation of the program has an end date currently, so enjoy. The only catch is that you will have to join their site as a member in order to get the downloads, and each e-book will only be available for a limited amount of time.

This month's free giveaway is War of the Oaks, by Emma Bull.

Emma Bull writes fantasy and science fiction. You can read her blog here. Her bibliography (or this one) is fairly extensive, with seven novels to her name and an extensive list of short stories and anthologies. Something else of interest: she is the executive producer of Shadow Unit, an online series that follows the format of a television-style show but appears to be delivered exclusively via the written word.

She is married to Will Shetterly. Together they have scored an odd historic first: they’re the first married couple to each have a novel on the same final World Fantasy Awards ballot for one of the field’s top awards. Both Emma’s Territory and Will’s The Gospel of the Knife are finalists for Best Novel.

See the complete list of Tor's Free E-book Giveaways.

Writing Update #8

A funny thing happened yesterday. I had begun editing chapter 22, which just so happens to be the second to last chapter in my book. Because of some scene shuffling, re-ordering, and previous edits, I had to change the way in which the chapter starts. I was really hoping for a big writing day. What I got was borderline writer's block for much of my writing time, to the point where I was sitting at my desk, staring at the computer screen, and nothing was happening.

Now, I don't believe in writer's block. In my case, it wasn't even so much that I wasn't coming up with anything. It was that I wasn't coming up with what I wanted. In other words, starting the chapter wasn't the problem. The problem was that I couldn't figure out how to start it the way it needed to be started. It screamed for a very particular type of start, and I just wasn't coming up with it.

So, in order to combat this, I closed my laptop and did some other things around the house: played with the dogs, treated some ant hills that had popped up after last week's rain, had some lunch. Finally, I returned to my editing, but instead of hitting the computer again I took a pen and a notepad and went outside. The weather has been beautiful out here in Texas lately, so why not? I tried different openings, free-handing it until I finally came up with what I thought was "it". I went back inside, typed it in, and started to move on, only to realize it wasn't "it". But, somewhere in that process of getting away from the computer, it finally hit me. I had it! Amazingly, the beginning of the chapter flowed from my fingers across the keyboard and onto the screen like water gushing from a spigot. It was both a defining and satisfying experience all at once.

So, given that, where does that leave me in terms of progress? Unfortunately, even with yesterday's success, my progress was not great. Here it is:

I increased my current page editing from 332 to 343 while dropping the total page count from 385 to 381. Here's the graph:


Total percentage completion broke 90% (barely):


Total word count is now 111,995, down a lot from last week (114,564). That's probably the best news of all because it gets me more inline with what might be considered a saleable range. This is tempered a bit by the fact that I know I need to go back and add some more detail to one character in particular, possibly even giving him an additional scene or two of his own.

More progress next week, and I think a post discussing writer's block in more detail might be forthcoming.

In Honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day


Shimmerzine is giving away for free their special one-time issue devoted to pirate stories edited by John Joseph Adams.

The editors of Shimmerzine have this to say:

In 2007, Dred Pirate John Joseph Adams, of the MS Fantasy and Science Fiction, commandeered the MS Shimmer for one special issue: the Pirate issue, released November 2007.

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday dear to our hearts, we’re making the electronic edition freely available. One day only: Plunder away!

The issue features fiction from James L. Cambias, Marissa K. Lingen, Jeremiah Tolbert, Mikal Trimm, and and half a dozen others. And don’t miss our piratical interview with the creator of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Illustrated throughout by James Owen.

Note the "one day only" part. Better get it today.