Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Writing Contest: The Results

Yesterday was the last day of May and thus the last day of the first month of the writing contest involving my friends Nick, Lauren, Sean, and I. The goal is to write the most fictional words, with the loser buying the winner lunch.

My word count, which I tracked per project per day on an Excel spreadsheet, was 19,154 words spread out across multiple projects. So here goes:

The Thing In The Woods-The word count went from 6,349 to 19,361. The first two chapters are completed, albeit rather short, and some great big hunks of other chapters are written. My plan now is to finish the entire first draft before I start graduate school in late August. It's young adult, so it'll probably be shorter anyway. I'm guessing it's around a third done, 40 percent on the outside. One of the biggest additions is that I've now got a romantic subplot involving the male lead, a rather snobby Buckhead transplant to a small town south of Atlanta that's rapidly turning into a bedroom community, and a local girl who's into theater. Given how my friend James R. Tuck said the big difference between young adult and adult fiction featuring teen protagonists is whether or not they're facing "grown man problems," high-school dating shenanigans will make it "younger."

(Yes, Battle for The Wastelands has a teen romance tidbit too, but it's not nearly as important. What to do about the flirtatious cowgirl Alyssa Carson takes up much less screentime so to speak than the Flesh-Eater threat to the protagonist's hometown, the starvation threat to the Merrill refugee camps, etc.)

The Cybele Incident-I went from 15,817 words to 20,215 words. This is net word count, since I ran the completed chapters through my Kennesaw writing group and they had ideas on what to cut as well as what to add. I wrote a new beginning to make the male lead Lt. Commander Thomas Briggs more sympathetic and more competent and added a new wrinkle to female lead Captain Adhirai Lakhani's battle plan to make her more sneaky-subtle as opposed to simply brutal and "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." She's genetically-engineered to be the next stage in human evolution, so having her act like an unsubtle moron kind of makes the people behind it look inept and stupid. I'm shooting for a shorter word count than Battle for The Wastelands, so I'm probably around a third finished.

The Wastelands Universe-I started writing the manuscript for the third novel in the series just so I could write down a 1,000-odd word sequence in the harem-intrigue subplot that came to me in a burst of inspiration. The second and third novels in the series give the female characters a lot more screentime, in particular the women of the villain Grendel's harem. I also started writing a sequel novella centered around Grendel's daughter Astrid, which would take place chronologically after the fourth, fifth, or possibly the sixth books. Finally, yesterday at the gym I had another burst of inspiration and wrote a 700-odd word scene that elaborates on Alyssa's character a fair bit.

I haven't gotten specific word counts from the others yet, although I'm certain I've beaten at least one of them. This coming month will be a lot tougher, since one will have more free time and the other will be more organized in tracking their word counts. Best not slack off. There are whole stretches of May where I didn't get any fiction writing done at all (15 out of 31 days, nearly half of the month). It'd be easy to blame my paying writing gigs, which have to take priority over my personal writing, but I could have still gotten some stuff done. At the very least, I could have broken 20,000 or even 25,000 words.

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