Page Count 5: End of 1st Quarter

September 9: 67 pages

This ends my first quarter goal: 66 pages from the day I started to 9/9. I did it! The info under “Schedule” will change tomorrow to reflect the 9/9-12/31 weekly goals.

I was so far ahead last Saturday that I thought I’d get up to around 70 by today, but the start of school was much busier than I was ready for. I need to remind myself that meeting the goal is the victory, not getting ahead of it.

My Aunt Maria talks about doing things with “clarity, focus, ease, and grace.” That’s what I want. While I might be able to physically write 10 pages a week during the semester, I could not do so with ease and grace, and I would start to lose enthusiasm and make excuses. So for the vast majority of the school year, the weekly totals are just 5 pages a week, sometimes less. Some weeks I’ll do plenty more, but even so, the Page Counts will grow slowly. I hope you’ll still cheer them on. Because we’ll reach 275 by next July, I know. Just in smaller steps now.

Onward and upward! 🙂

Page Count 4

September 1: 57 pages


Now I know not everything I’ve written is going to stay in the novel. I know I have continuity problems I’m going to have to go back and fix because I was working out the damn plot while writing. Am still working it out. But I am pushing myself to JUST PRODUCE PAGES. And it’s working. And some of it’s good. I wanted to use these weeks before school to write, and I did. I feel like I rule so much right now. I’m going to eat ice cream.

*happy dance*

Page Count 3

August 27: 35 pages (yay!)

I missed a day this week, but I’m in pretty good shape now. I need to write about 20 pages in the next 2 weeks, but I have zero demands on my time and I’m having a lot of fun with it. Wrote 7 pages today and was quite pleased.

This is turning out a little less “literary” and a little more “mainstream,” but I think that can only be good. It’s too damn tiring to put elaborate metaphors in every other paragraph of a novel. Well, not if you’re a Pulitzer Prize winner, but if you’re me.

Page Count 2

August 19: 17 pages

I didn’t write a word during my week in Vegas or my 2 days in L.A., and was wondering if I was going to get anywhere near my vacation goal of 6 pages. Then, on the drive up to Sacramento, my mother finally told me the long, bizarre, you-can’t-make-this up tale of my family’s antics at my grandfather’s funeral last year, and I knew it was gold. I took a page of notes, thought how I could tweak it into the novel, and sat down today on a mission. Can’t wait to pick up again when I get home.

pushing through

A writer is a person who writes. Yes. Yes? It’s been a hard week. Dan took the bar and our place was too dirty for me to concentrate in and now it’s better but SO SO hot. And yesterday I had a splitting headache all day, and before I realized it I hadn’t written for a week. So Dan kicked me out of the house again and I came to school, still with a slight headache, and opened my poor neglected file. When I saw it, I felt like I was seeing someone I had missed.

Before I knew it I’d written four new pages and was heading toward the end of the first chapter. I’m going to call it quits before the headache gets worse, but man, I’m happy. ONE page in the next 10 days and I’m on schedule.

I’m also realizing that I like a character I’m about to do something sad to much more than I thought I would. Should be interesting…


It makes me really happy to look at this:


Look at all those chapters! It’s like a real book-type thing! (Secret: Chapter 6 currently consists of the word “Six” and the sentence “I was at the police station forty minutes later.” It feels so good to open up that next file when I’ve finished a chapter, I can’t help myself.)



I don’t like my third chapter. It’s too long. By several pages. It’s top heavy. The first four pages are kind of a mess. And it was supposed to be zany and funny, but I don’t know if it is or it’s just lame and trying too hard. I don’t know, maybe it’s funny. Dan says I can’t go fix it, I have to come back to it later because I have no perspective. He’s right, but still.

Just getting it out of my system. On to chapter 4.

Backstory Backups

One real chapter and two mushballs slowly taking shape. I’ll git ’em. One page at a time.
I’m having a problem introducing characters. On one hand, I can’t introduce backstory on 10-15 characters in the first chapter, because then no action will happen. On the other, I’m finding myself writing badly when a new character enters, like:

Our cousin Bob came through the doorway. Oh crap, you don’t know who Bob is, you don’t care about him. Uh. Uh. Bob was an elephant hunter. Bob was 42 and a Lysol addict. Bob was tall. Once he bumped his head on a door. Yada Yada WAY TOO MUCH BACKSTORY ABOUT BOB.

Bob finished coming through the doorway. God that took forever.

Bob sat down next to me, tall-ly. “Got any Lysol?” SEE SEE I HAD TO TELL YOU THAT, NOW YOU GET IT.

So, yeah, that’s not very good reading. I think the answer is to drop a clue as to their existence before their entrance, then dial back the exposition and fill it in as actual action happens. And substitute backstory with action, too.

I don’t actually know what I’m doing, folks, I’ve never written a story longer than 6,000 words, and now I’m going for over ten times that. You’re watching me fake my way through it. Whee.

Page Count 1

August 8: 11 pages

This last week has been extremely difficult, and I got nothing done until today. Frustrating. But here it is, my first benchmark. And the end of the 1st chapter. I’ll take it. Next up: to 16 pages by August 20th (I’m on vacation the whole time.)

I woke up

Mi abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about her struggle and I find the strength in myself
These words, melt in my mouth
They hot, like the jail cell in the South…

This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new, I jumped up
Feeling my highs, and my lows
In my soul, and my goals…

“Get By,” Talib Kweli

It’s going to be a good week. Wrote 2 more pages in very relaxed fashion yesterday. Am totally obsessed with the above song. Now have more than 2 weeks to write 5 more pages. CAKE! May just knock it off in the next few days. I’d love to get so massively ahead of my schedule that I have to redo the whole thing. Happy Monday.