The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Eleven

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 44,033/75,000

We are now eleven days into the 25-Day Novel Challenge. By this time next week, I should hit the 75,000 word count, after which I will edit the novel, have it copy-edited, and then publish it on Amazon. Yay!

Speaking of word counts, I have made hitting my daily 4,000 word quota my number one priority every day. Not just every day of this challenge, but every day of my life. If the only thing I get done on any given day of the week is meeting my daily quota, that day is a success in my book.

Why is it so important that I hit my daily quota? Because writing more books is the secret to success in indie-publishing. Or, rather, writing more books that people want to read is the secret to success in indie-publishing. You need to write lots of books that people want to read in order to make any real money at this business.

Among writers, there is a saying that your next book is always your best form of promotion. Other forms of promotion, like price pulses and Facebook ads, can be very effective as well, but for most writers, putting out your next book is always more effective than almost any other form of promotion.

Why that is true is a topic I think I’ll cover tomorrow on Day Twelve. See ya!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Ten

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 40,032/75,000

We are now on Day Ten of the challenge. I am now 40,000 words into the novel, which is awesome. I can already feel the climax of the book starting to form, but it’s nothing more than a minor, distant feeling at the moment, which is fine because I don’t like planning things out in too much detail, as I’ve already said.

For today, I didn’t get done as early as I usually do because I thought I had a dentist’s appointment today (turns out it’s actually supposed to be on June 16th, not May 16th) and then I had to get the lenses on my glasses replaced, since my old ones were starting to get scratched up from years of use.

All in all, I was out of the house for three and a half hours. That left me with less time to write than I usually have; nonetheless, I sat myself down and started writing until I met my word count goal for the day (of course, it helps that I already wrote 2,000 words before I left for my dentist appointment that is actually a month from today).

Under other circumstances, this would have been enough to derail me for the rest of the day, especially since I came home kind of tired. But I’ve learned not to let any excuse except for the most serious ones keep me from meeting my daily quota, a useful skill to have when you’re doing a novel challenge like this.

Meeting my word count quota is the most important part of my entire writing and publishing business, but I think I will discuss this more in-depth tomorrow on Day Eleven. See you then!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Nine

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT 36,029/75,000

As of today, I have reached the halfway point (48% complete according to the MyBookProgress plugin). I am both halfway through the challenge and halfway through the book itself.

So far, this challenge has been a lot of fun. Despite a few bumps in the road here and there, it really hasn’t been quite as difficult I thought. I think that the real challenge is going to be editing the whole book in seven days, which I have never done before with any book. I think I’ll be able to do it, but we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s all for today. See you tomorrow for Day Ten!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Eight

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 32,024/75,000

We are now on Day Eight of the 25-Day Novel Challenge. Gotta admit, today has been the hardest day for me so far. I think I’ve hit a rough patch in the book, one that worries me a little, but I know if I just keep going things will get better.

Simply put, I know that my feelings have no real correlation to the quality of my writing. I’ve felt good about books that aren’t good and have felt bad about books that have done well. It relates to what I wrote in an earlier post about how mindset can affect our productivity.

And anyway, if it DOES turn out to be crap, I can always revise it at a later point. Most of the time, though, when I reread a section I was sure was terrible, I find out that it really wasn’t so bad after all or maybe that it just needs a few minor fixes here and there to make it shine.

Anyway, that’s all for now. According to MyBookProgress, I am almost halfway through the novel now, which is great. Onto Day Nine!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Seven

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 28,020/75,000

Welcome to Day Seven of The 25-Day Novel Challenge! I managed to hit my quota for the day before lunch, which is always great, because it allows me to use the rest of the day for anything else I need or want to do.

But I think the novel is not going to be exactly 75,000 words long. It might be shorter–say, 55k or 60k words–because it is starting to feel like the ending is close. How close, I can’t say, and of course I might be wrong and it might be longer, but that’s what my gut is telling me at the moment and my gut usually isn’t wrong.

Because I’ve written so many novels, I have a very good idea of how long a book will be and how long it will take to finish it, even though I never outline and usually don’t know what the ending will be until I actually write it. It’s an instinctive process, one that helps me figure out whether the ending is just around the corner or if it is still a ways down the road.

Granted, sometimes this feeling is wrong and a novel ends up being longer or shorter than I think it will be, but by and large it is usually correct. So I’ve learned to listen to it most of the time, which is why I think this novel might not end up being 75,000 words long. That doesn’t bother me too much, since length does not seem to be a super important part of the superhero genre, but I am going to see if I can at least make it 60k.

Anyway, that’s all for now. On to Day Eight!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Six

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 24,011/75,000

We are now on Day Six of the 25-Day Novel Challenge! I had a tougher time meeting my word count quota today, mostly due to some mindset issues I was having, but I managed to do it anyway.

One of the biggest reasons I am able to be so prolific and write so consistently is due to my mindset. I don’t get too attached to any one book or story and I make it my biggest priority to hit my 4,000 word goal every day. If one book fails, it doesn’t matter because I can always write another.

But even I get bogged down by negativity and depression every now and then. In my experience, I’ve found that my negative feelings and depressing thoughts often come from a lack of exercise, sleep, or food, so walking around, taking a nap, or getting some food to eat is often a good way to reenergize my body and mind.

I have also made hitting my word count for the day into a powerful habit, so when I miss it, I always feel very uncomfortable, which motivates me to not miss it the next day. Being afraid of missing my personal goals has always helped me to get off my ass and actually do what needs to be done, though like everything else in writing, you need to figure out what motivates you, personally.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow for Day Seven. See you then!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Five

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT 20,007/75,000

We are now onto Day Five of the 25-Day Novel Challenge! I am now 20,000 words into the novel, which, according to my progress bar widget on the right side of the screen (or bottom of the screen, if you are on a mobile device), means I am about 25% finished with the novel. Yay!

Back on Day Three, I mentioned how much I enjoyed writing in first person. And it’s true, I do. I think it might be my favorite point of view to write from, mostly because I love the challenge of creating a distinct voice for whoever the protagonist happens to be.

The problem, of course, with first person is that you are limited to what your POV character knows and so you have to find a way to deliver important plot or character information to the reader in a way that makes sense and doesn’t turn your character into some kind of all-knowing god (unless your character is an all-knowing god, in which case disregard the above).

Also, it’s harder to develop characters who are not the main POV character. In third person, it’s easy to jump into another character’s head for a scene or two and then return to the protagonist’s head later, but in first person, you usually can’t do that unless you have multiple first person narrators (which can work and I have done before, though it is trickier than writing just one first person narrator).

Nonetheless, first person still comes easily and naturally to me, probably because I have a lot of experience writing from that perspective. It may not be suitable for every book, but I try to use it when I can, mostly because it’s so much fun.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow is Day Six. Can’t wait!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Four

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 16,006/75,000

We are now four days into the 25-Day Novel Challenge. Today was a bit harder for me than the last few days, largely because I let myself get distracted by the Internet and by my own self-doubt and insecurities.

That’s a pretty common problem among writers, whether newbies who have only one novel out or experienced writers with dozens of books under their belt. We listen and believe the voices in our head that want to keep us from succeeding, that want us to give up writing and do something a little bit easier. I think that some of this doubt comes from laziness, if only because it’s easier not to write than to write, but doubt and insecurity come from all sorts of places and it can be very difficult to ignore it, particularly if you are prone to thinking negatively, as many writers seem to be.

This used to be a much larger problem for me a long time ago, when I was a new writer. Nowadays it doesn’t usually affect me because I’ve come to learn that a lot of the time, these doubts aren’t actually based in reality. Most of the time, they come from fear or laziness or something you heard from someone you know or trust at some point in your life.

As a writer, I’ve learned that my work is always better and worse than I think it is. It’s kind of a paradox, but it’s true. This helps me fight my doubts, because I know that my own opinion of my books is not always objective or correct.

I still strive to do my best with every book, to improve my craft, but I try not to judge myself too harshly. I let readers decide and the only way to let readers decide if my books are any good is to publish them for readers to find, regardless of my own personal doubts and insecurities.

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Three

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 12,005/75,000

We’re now on Day Three of the 25-Day Novel Challenge. Writing today went great, as you can tell by the fact that I hit my word count quota for the day so early.

Writing this story has reminded me why I love writing in first person so much; it’s just so dang fun! I feel like I can be a lot more creative in first person than in third person, though I can write in both fairly well.

Some of you might be wondering how I can write so quickly without an outline. I know a lot of writers, if they don’t have at least a vague outline to guide them, can get stuck very easily and might even give up on a story altogether if they don’t figure out what happens next.

I am able to write without an outline because I am used to it. When I first started writing years ago, I tried to outline because I thought that it was what writers are “supposed” to do, but I quickly scrapped the process when I saw how my first novel-length story was turning out completely differently from what I outlined, so outlining seemed like a waste of time and effort to me, time and effort that could be better spent writing.

As a result, I’ve moved to writing into the dark. Under my main name, I’ve written 23 novels over the last couple of years without any outlines, which isn’t counting the novel-length fanfics I wrote prior to starting indie-publishing back in 2014. I’ve had a TON of practice writing into the dark, so it is now very easy and natural for me.

Here are a few quick points that help me:

  1. I write fast. This allows me to outspeed my doubts and fears. If you listen to your doubts and fears, you will have a harder time writing at all, whether you use an outline or not.
  2. I keep something happening in every scene and try to end every scene or chapter on a cliffhanger. I don’t just let the action wander off into irrelevant nothingness, but I don’t just toss in random crap that has nothing to do with the story, either. By doing this, I keep my own interest in the story alive, as well as reader interest, so it’s a win-win.
  3. Prior to starting work on a story, I do some basic preplanning, such as figuring out the main conflict, who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, what the setting is, etc. It’s not good to go into too much detail here, because if you do, it could kill your interest in the story early, but I do need to know a little bit about the story, otherwise it is much harder to write
  4. I write every day and do not bounce between projects even when I get stuck. Writing every day helps me to stay in the world of the story, which makes it easier to keep things like worldbuilding details and characterization consistent, while focusing on one project at a time does pretty much the same thing.

Like with all pieces of writing advice, this might not work for you and you shouldn’t treat it like some sort of unquestionable gospel (especially coming from a writer like me, one who isn’t nearly as successful as others). But I encourage you to try out any of the above that resonates with you, especially if you write into the dark like me.

Anyway, the challenge is going great so far. Tomorrow is Day Four, so we’ll see how the next day goes.

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Two

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 8,003/75,000

Day Two of the challenge went well, even though I spent a few hours defrosting the freezer for my mother as my Mother’s Day present to her. Defrosting the freezer wasn’t especially fun, but it needed to be done and my mother appreciated it, so I don’t consider it a waste of time.

Anyway, as I said in yesterday’s post, here are the two blurbs I’ve written for the book. I am posting them both here because I like them both but am not sure which one is best, so I would like to know which one y’all like best.

So here they are:

Blurb #1:

“On his first day at his new school, seventeen-year-old Kevin Jason discovers that he has superpowers when punches the local bully through the cafeteria wall. His father, a legendary superhero in his own right, confirms this discovery and decides to train Kevin in how to use and control his powers.

But things become complicated when it turns out that the local bully is the son of the worst supervillain in recent memory, who has just recently broken out of jail and has set his sights on Kevin for harming his son. His plans, however, extend far beyond getting revenge on Kevin, going all the way to the destruction of the world itself for the crimes committed against him years ago.

To protect himself, his family, and the world from this menace, Kevin Jason must learn how to use and control his superpowers. Yet with the villain’s relentless desire for revenge drawing him closer and closer to Kevin’s hometown every day, Kevin might not have enough time to become the superhero he needs to be.”

Blurb #2:

“Seventeen-year-old Kevin Johnson starts his first day at his new school by unintentionally punching the local bully through the cafeteria wall. When Kevin’s father, a legendary superhero, learns of this, he insists on training Kevin to master his new powers, though Kevin finds his father’s training methods to be a lot less exciting than they seem.

But Kevin’s training takes on new urgency when the local bully’s father–Master Chaos, one of the world’s most dangerous supervillains–breaks out of prison and declares Kevin his new archenemy for harming his son.

Now Kevin must complete his training as a superhero as Master Chaos makes his way closer and closer to Kevin’s town. If Kevin does not complete his training, then all of the power in the world won’t be able to keep him and his family safe from the madman who wants him dead.”

Tell me which one you like best in the comments below, as well as any other feedback or thoughts you may have on them.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Tomorrow is Day Three!