As October ends and November, the National Novel-Writing Month, begins, here's the update on my writing contest with my friend Lauren. I've written 3,180 words.
The single largest amount of text is for a later book in the Wastelands world. My friend Jeff Baker, at writing group, suggested more intrigue in Grendel's harem. Although Grendel's harem is too small for the kind of shenanigans that went on in the Ottoman harems (or the less-severe sort in that of the Sultan of Oman, which you can read about in Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, one of the books I'm reading now for graduate school), when the patriarch is away, there's still room for plotting and treachery. And so I wrote the beginnings of an alliance between two concubines forming. The memoirs I read will provide some of the basis--graduate school has been a great research opportunity as well as a potential career boon.
The next largest major block of text is for a political project based on some of my earlier blog posts. I'd checked out Foreign Policy Begins at Home and wrote 1,000 words based on the ideas author Richard N. Haass has in the book. His suggestion that China could someday do to the United States what the U.S. did to Britain during the Suez Crisis is reason alone to fear an overly-large national debt.
I also wrote a few hundred words for another project. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about it because of the uniqueness of the concept, but hopefully it's something I can write fairly quickly. To give away a little bit, it's a faux history rather than a narrative, so it's dominated by world-building (which I'm good at), not characters (where I'm weaker).
However, most of the month's writing time was dedicated to revising Battle for the Wastelands. I spent October cutting it to 100,000 words (without cutting plot, characters, etc--just a matter of things like using "both" instead of "both of them" writ large) to make it easier to sell. Now I've gotten it to 99,000 words and I'm going to try to cut it to 98,000 during the month of November, which my friend Alex Hughes said is a "sweet spot" because some publishers think it can be cut further and others think there's room for expansion.