Thursday, February 5, 2015

Does Length Really Matter?

It’s February already. Can you believe it? Where is the year going? Before you know it, we’ll be sending out Christmas cards again.

Please, say it isn’t so!!

Well, now that I have that out of my system, February is the month of deep snow (out west), Valentines and love (for all), and the preparation month for Speedbo (in the land of Seekerville). NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month challenge) is so last year, LOL. Let’s look ahead and prepare for the writing adventure that is Speedbo!

What is Speedbo? Much like NaNo, it’s a month of speed writing to get as many words down on paper (or onto screen and hard drive) as possible towards a completed book. Just blurt it out and fix it later. We can’t fix something we haven’t written yet, right? So in anticipation of Speedbo March, I’m asking you to think ahead – not to plot or create character development or anything deep like that – but simple determine the projected length of manuscript you plan to fit your story into.



Yes, Speedbo is all about the words and quantity, but a little planning comes in handy to guide you along the way. Remember, we’re about to invest an entire month of concentrated writing towards a piece we can than revise and buff up and someday hand over to editors. So, do you know what your target market is? The idea of “let’s just see what shakes out” can be a problem down the road when you’re shaping up the rough draft. Why?

Because length matters.

The length of a manuscript, be it measured in words (10K – 150K) or by style (category, novella, single title) determines many different facets of story development. If you head into a dedicated month of writing and you’re not certain what line or manner of book you’re targeting, you’re starting out the gate with an unnecessary handicap.



Let’s start with pace. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but some of the Seekers recently contributed to a pair of novella collections, Hope For The Holidays – contemporary and historical (couldn’t resist the blatant plug). This was the first time I had attempted to write a novella. 65K contemporaries? 100K historicals? I’m fine with the confines dictated by these lengths. But a 15K – 25K novella? I’ve got to admit, it turned out much more difficult than I thought. I don’t know how many times my CP, very gently, reminded me that novella must be all about the romance. If you’re going to complete a rough draft in a month, don’t waste time on unnecessary details, or in the other direction, make sure you weave in all of the subplot points from the beginning to ensure continuity.

Depending on the length of the targeted word count, your style will change, too. Take time to dabble in all the description and mood setting you’d like if you’re writing 100K book. The interior designer in me loves painting a picture around my characters which I have license to do in my historicals. Talk about fun! But, if you’re whipping out an idea for a category romance, don’t meander too much. 60K goes by in a rush!



Writing short or long also determines how and when you introduce important facts, clues, people and of course, the black moment. Going back to pacing for minute, don’t be fooled by the amount of words you have when you’re writing a single title. Every word, every action, every plot point has to count, and they all have to tie together in the final version. At the end of your writing time each day take a quick look over what you’ve written, not with an eye toward revision, but with anticipation of upcoming plot points and issues. In a way, this will help you determine ahead of time what to write the next day. I realize we’re writing fast and sloppy in March, but if you keep your story elements in the back of your mind and make note of them while you write (the writing program Scrivener gives you options and places to make note of details while you write so you don’t forget them), when April comes and you’re ready for revising, you won’t be looking back and saying, “now why did I say that?”


Same holds true for novella length and short category. Read over your words at the end of the day. Let your mind mull over the new twists and turns for the next time you sit down to write. My brain needs a little bit of a warm up before starting my writing time. I’ve never been able to journal to get the creative juices running. But if I write down a couple of notes at the end of my writing session, my brain starts to churn over the possibilities and the words come easier and faster the next time I sit down to write. Of course, I probably toss and delete many more words and ideas than the average person, but the system works for me.


And isn’t that what it all boils down to? What works for you. We want you to achieve your goals and beyond during our month of Speedbo. Comradery, cheering, prizes, and of course, FOOD all play into the upcoming festive month of writing. A little planning ahead of time never hurts. 

So, has anyone thought over a project for Speedbo? Share! Let's work together!

And for a little incentive to get those creative juices flowing, leave a comment and your name will be tossed in the cowboy hat for a $10 Amazon card!


Check out this weather -- Tuesday we had temps hit 62 degrees, yesterday we had a snowstorm, today we're expecting a high of 65 degrees. Crazy, eh? So, celebrate the diversity that is the Front Range of Colorado, I have a spread of fruit and yogurt parfaits for those who would like to think spring, and a walnut, cranberry, orange peel oatmeal for those living in the dregs of winter.

And of course, bottomless coffee, tea and hot cocoa!!

-audra

130 comments:

Helen Gray said...

I haven't decided on a Speedbo goal because I'm within two chapters of writing The End on the my current wip. I have to get that done before I can set the next goal.

Coffee's ready!!

Melissa Jagears said...

Hmmm, how about EditBo? Try to edit my old MS all in a month? I just wrote a novella last month, so I'm done with all the new words until I edit this one.

Mary Preston said...

I can imagine that the length of the story would determine many things.

Cindy W. said...

Great post Audra. I'll come back later today and re-read it.

I won't be doing Speedbo this year. Too many things going on that can't be shuffled around. But I will be a cheerleader to all who participate. Rah Rah!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melissa, I'm with you! I'm doing a clean write February, focused on one book for the month.... and then March is "edit" month!

And April might be a mix post-Easter, but we'll see... Now if my edits don't take the full month of March, I'll jump in with some new words, but right now my goal and calendar are pushing me to follow you! And that's never a bad thing, Melissa!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I've found that writing novellas calms me.... I mean that seriously. When I'm waiting for editor approval or stuck on a plot line (HUSH, VINCE!!!!!) if I have a novella I can jump into, it refreshes me... and it doesn't matter if it's historical or contemporary, I can see their story unfold in my head and I can breathe again.

How weird are authors?????

Kelly Bridgewater said...

I'm hoping to write my fourth 90,000 word novel during March. It is the second book in a series. I wrote the first one during NaNoWriMo, so the second one has been following me around for a while.
Put my name in the hat for the Amazon gift card. Thanks!

Jackie said...

Good morning!

I plan to devote February to editing one story while I continue to think about, and plan, my next story. March should be perfect for me to participate in Speedbo.

I'll need to start strong though because we're going to spend a week in South Carolina watching Asbury University's pre-season tennis matches. This will be our last year of being a tennis parent.

I figure I can slip down to the hotel lobby and write early in the mornings while hubby sleeps.

Official goal will be 50,000 words.

Melissa and Ruthy, I'll be cheering you on as you edit.

Thanks for the challenging post and encouraging us to focus on concrete goals!

Tina Radcliffe said...

COLORADO! Land of the cracked windshields. Due to....crazy temperature swings.

I miss Colorado!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I like Editbo!

Or how but Sloebo? For us slow writers.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well writing short stories calm me.

The shorter the better.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And look how nifty Audra is with all those images. Way to go.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, AUDRA! Great points--all of these story lengths mentioned have greatly differing publisher and reader expectations. So from the get-go it really helps when you know what those are and which one you are targeting so you can focus, focus, focus.

Rose said...

Speedbo! I'm trying to get a synopsis together so I can write a proposal package during Speedbo...so far, it's not going so well!

Naomi Rawlings said...

Christmas cards, Audra? Already? Ack! I've never sent them out. In truth, I really don't even know what to do with the ones that people send me. I feel bad throwing them out, but what else am I supposed to do? (Except for Melissa's Christmas card. That I know just what to do with. :-D)

So I'd like to do Speedbo this year. I have a novel I need to write before the baby comes (which is looking less and less like a goal I'll meet every day), but I might have to pull a Ruthy and do half Editbo and half Speedbo. I do have a novel ready to go that already has 10k. The trouble is I really need to edit book 2 before I can move onto book 3.

And it seems like every other year Speedbo has been the same way. I think I was revising a couple different stories last March and April as well and then started my new novel in May.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed this year. Maybe, maybe, maybe if I'm an editing superstar I can do Speedbo in March.

Naomi Rawlings said...

April is get the house ready for a new baby month. Don't suppose Seekerville has one of those? :-)

Glynna Kaye said...

WOW! Some of you have MEGA HUGE word counts planned for Speedbo! (In my dreams. SIGH)

But for the others of you, don't let those numbers daunt you. Speedbo is all about setting a goal that is realistic for YOU given writing around day jobs, child and elder care, etc. -- then stretch yourself just a wee bit more than you think you can. :)

Audra Harders said...

Helen, bless you and your bottomless coffee pot. I depend on you, kiddo!

February is young yet. Get those two chapter done!

Glynna Kaye said...

Congrats on being so close the THE END, HELEN! Such sweet feeling when you can see the finish line, isn't it?

Glynna Kaye said...

EditBo sounds doable, MELISSA. Go for it! Sounds like a perfect goal -- to have a final polished piece by the end of March!

Glynna Kaye said...

CINDY W -- All cheerleaders are welcome. We're gonna need every one of you we can get!

Audra Harders said...

So an old ms edited to perfection? I'm all for that. I look at the hard drive on my computer and think maybe one of those books would be a good March project.

Whether it's a new book or revising an old one, new words are involved. That's what we're after, right?

Glynna Kaye said...

WOW, KELLY! Do you mind me asking how many hours a day you write to achieve that kind of word count? I'm always trying to figure out how I can write faster, too.

Glynna Kaye said...

JACKIE -- Sounds like you have a good plan in place for March! And you sure don't want to miss those tennis matches--LIFE is important!

Audra Harders said...

Oh my goodness, I got so excited seeing Helen had coffee on, I forgot to say good morning!! Sorry Helen and Melissa! How rude of me.

Did you notice I gave the weather report for Longmont, CO in the blog? Yep, we had 60s and sunny then 20s and snow, then today, 60s and sunny again.

I never have a chance to put away a seasonal wardrobe!!

We're all looking forward to a great day, right?? Let's go!

Audra Harders said...

Mary, you have no idea how often I've gone off on a writing tangent targeting a novel length book only to find out I only had enough plot for a short story. LOL! Sure, I can laugh about it NOW...

Audra Harders said...

Rah-rah, Cindy! We need cheerleaders, too!!

Audra Harders said...

Ruthy, I love how your brain works, and I'm envious! If I hop around manuscripts, I start including the wrong details in the wrong books and then everything turns out...WRONG!

Maybe it's my mindset. I should try to think of writing a novella as calming, kind of a vacation from the longer book.

Sold. I'll try it : )

Audra Harders said...

Wow, Kelly! I love your goals!! A 90K write in November and you're up for another 90K sequel in March.

Oh honey. You are my hero!!!

Audra Harders said...

Jackie, I'll be cheering for you and your words! Pre season tennis. That means spring is almost here. C'mon budding flowers and warm mountain trail hikes!!

Jackie Smith said...

I'm a reader who looks forward to all those great books you writers are writing.....YAY.....and the A. card would come in handy for my wish list!!! Thanks!!

Audra Harders said...

Tina, Colorado misses you, too! But being in the land of backyard citrus fruit is not a bad thing either : )

Oooo, I'd love a month of Editbo!! April 2016?? We gotta work on that.

Don't you just love making graphics work for you? Hee, I had a little time to play on PicMonkey. Everyone, go back and read Pam Hillman's post on using PicMonkey for Newsletters

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2014/12/just-monkeying-around-newsletters-so.html

So much fun!!!!

Audra Harders said...

Exactly, Glynna! Focus, focus, focus. AND prepare ahead of time so the path easier when March 1 rolls around.

Audra Harders said...

Rose, not to despair! We're here for you and Cindy W will cheer us on!

What more can we ask???

Audra Harders said...

Naomi, so many projects, so little time. I know where you're coming from. Unlike Ruthy, I have to pick one and finish it.

Oh how I'd love to be able to make my mind jump about multiple books and plot lines. You'd THINK that would be easy for this ADD brain, but noooooo.

DebH said...

Hi Audra
I soooooooooo miss Colorado. Best state of the Union, imho. (transplanted native talking) Great post. Yep, how long the ms is certainly changes the pace. Name in cowboy hat for Amazon card please.

Hmmmm... I do better with short stuff. I was contemplating writing 800 word short, shorts each day of SPEEDBO. Maybe by the end one or two of them would be Women's World worthy? It's either that, or EditBo for my R&R (struggling with it). I need advice. Unfortunately I'm not even sure what questions to ask. How crazy is that???

At least I have Seekerville to read each day. Uber helpful at all times.

Audra Harders said...

Prepare for new baby month...

Hmmm, anyone have any ideas to help Naomi??

Audra Harders said...

Glynna, you are so right! Speedbo is all about stretching ourselves a bit more, getting those few more words in, maybe just spilling words on a page so we can go back and clean up the next month.

Afterall, you can't revise what hasn't been written, even if it's kah-kah.

Audra Harders said...

Did I really just say kah-kah? Oy.

Audra Harders said...

Jackie, we need cheerleaders!! Your name is in the cowboy hat!!!

Audra Harders said...

DebH, targeting a WW short story is a super worthy goal! We're all here for you, so let's let the words roll out!!!

Audra Harders said...

I hate to say it, but I have to get ready for day job. I'll be back though, so keep those ideas coming!!

Marianne Barkman said...

I love those contests months....I'm always wanting more books, and if they come from Seekerville its so much better! Thanks!

Cindy Regnier said...

Great post Audra. You did a fabulous job with "Her Christmas Cowboy." Makes me wish I could switch back and forth from long to novella, but I'm too much accustomed to in-depth character development. I have attempted novella length but don't do it very well. I am getting excited for Speedbo. Thanks for the prep course.

Becky Dempsey said...

I am nearing the end of my wip, but I skipped over a section in the middle because it wasn't coming to me at the time. I'd like to go back and fill in the middle of my story for Speedbo. Maybe I can actually get this thing finished!

Myra Johnson said...

Great pointers, Audra! I'm not sure if I'll be able to do Speedbo this year. It looks like I could be spending a good part of March working on rewrites and edits to meet a couple of looming publishing deadlines.

However, once those are done, I need to quickly get moving on the next book in this new series I'm working on, so I'll definitely need those Speedbo posts to keep me fired up!

Julie Lessman said...

AUDS!!! Brilliant post, my friend, and soooo timely for me because I will be starting a new project in March.

What it will be? I have no idea, thus the timeliness of your post, so THANK YOU!!

Oh, I have a few ideas percolating, but both of them are full-blown novels, and you and I both know when Julie Lessman uses the term "full-blown novels," it's not good, at least lengthwise. :)

So although I plan to be part of Speedbo ... I think perhaps I should call mine Speedchap ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Janet Dean said...

Audra, thanks for the excellent tips for success with SpeedBo! Good to know your target publisher's word count guidelines.

Your suggestion to jot a note for the next day's writing session is brilliant. I sometimes have to read what I wrote the previous day to get back into the swing Of my story but this is faster.

Thanks for breakfast!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Melissa, EditBo works for me. When March rolls around we gotta do what we gotta do.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Helen, congrats on approaching The End!

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

NAOMI SAID: "April is get the house ready for a new baby month. Don't suppose Seekerville has one of those? :-)"

LOL ... if we do, I won't be doing it ... ;)

SUPER CONGRATS ON THE UPCOMING BUNDLE OF JOY, my friend. And you best get your writing in BEFORE said miracle because it's gonna be a little dicey after ... ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Janet Dean said...

Audra, the weathermen in your area must have a ball with all those changes! Must be hard to know what to wear. Bathing suit, snowsuit? LOL

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, SLOEBO ... LOVE IT, TINA!!

And short stories calm me, too ... but a little too much, I think, because I'm so calm and motivated, I write a book ... ;)

AUDRA SAID: "Did you notice I gave the weather report for Longmont, CO in the blog? Yep, we had 60s and sunny then 20s and snow, then today, 60s and sunny again. I never have a chance to put away a seasonal wardrobe!!"

LOL ... and I thought St. Louis was bad, darlin'!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Linda Goodnight said...

Excellent post, Audra. Writing a novella sometime sounds easier to people than a long book, but squeezing a full story into a short word count is not for the faint of heart. You've given some very good advice here. Knowing the beginning, middle turning point, the black moment and the end of any story will help us stay on target.

Sally Shupe said...

Great post! Enter me in the drawing, please. My wish list could use some help lol.
I am looking forward to sending out Christmas cards again. We've had no snow so far; I am so jealous of the ones who've had a lot. I'm thinking about sending out Valentine's Day cards. I don't remember doing that before lol.
I am hoping to finish the story I am working on now and finish another one during Speedbo. We'll see how that plays out! If I get snow days I can write all day.
What preparation tips do you have for getting a story ready to start writing for Speedbo? I'm thinking about 50,000 words, probably geared toward Love Inspired.
Thanks for all the help, encouragement, and support that Seekerville offers!

Elaine Manders said...

Great post, Audra.

I love your new picture, Janet, or is it a new picture. Maybe I haven't been paying attention.

I thought I was going so slow, barely 1K a day, but here it is February, and I'm within 2 chapters of completing my third novella. I wrote the first during Nano, so that means 90K in three months. Actually, it's been like writing a long historical. Each novella stands alone, but the characters are more interwoven than most novella series.

Anyway, I'll be editing during Speedbo this year.

Caryl Kane said...

HAPPY FRIDAY EVE SEEKERVILLE!

Terri said...

Hmm, I haven't decided if I'm going to participate in SpeedBo. Like so many others I'm editing. Part of what is giving me fits is I didn't make my story long enough. So Audra, your post is very eye opening for me.

I'd love to start something new, but I'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile the Amazon card sounds lovely!

cathyann40 said...

I enjoy reading these posts every day. I'd love an Amazon GC. I need books to read in this snowy cold weather.

Audra Harders said...

Marianne, we always need cheerleaders! You're one of the best around : )

Sandy Smith said...

Audra, great post. I am hoping to attempt Speedbo at least and finally start on the novel that has been percolating a long time. We will see how that goes.

Please enter me into the drawing for the Amazon card.

Janet Dean said...

Elaine, it is a new picture. The old one was, well, old. Glad you like it. I'm trying for truth in advertising. LOL

Janet

Walt Mussell said...

I have heard it's Cara's birthday. Happy birthday, Cara!!!

I'm targeting a novella for SpeedBo, somewhere in the 20k -
25k range. I plan to be finished before SpeedBo is over, so I may eventually get into editing.

Jeanne T said...

Audra, hasn't Colorado weather been Cuh-razy?! I'm looking at beautiful hoarfrost out the window right now and the sun shining on it makes it so pretty. :) But, I digress.

Loved your post for preparing for Speedbo, and knowing what word count you're aiming for. I want to participate this year, but I'm not sure I'll be able to. I'm trying to revise and polish my current book. :) We'll see what progress I make this month. :)

I'd love to be put in the drawing. :)

Audra Harders said...

Cindy R, thank you for your kind words for Her Christmas Cowboy. People only think writing short is easy. I found it so difficult, I played with the idea of never doing it again.

BUT, once I had all my thoughts down, and some gentle pointers from my CP that I wasn't writing 75K words, it all began to click.

We're here to help you!!!

Jamie Adams said...

I should be able to do speedbo this year. My next indie comes out at the end of this month so I need something to do in March :) I've got a couple ideas in mind.

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Thank you for this nice post. I love setting goals and having others to work at it together (more fun to exercise at the gym for the same reason). I'm either going to work on my second novel or more likely on a long list of articles and short stories that have been percolating. I'd love to join in Speedbo. Thanks again for getting us to plan ahead!

Audra Harders said...

Becky, good girl! So many writers stall out because a scene or two don't gel for them. Skip over the scenes that are problem children and come back to catch them later.

Smart move!!

Sherida Stewart said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Audra. I'll be doing Combo-SpeedBo. I need 15k words to achieve 40k for my 2013 SpeedBo novel, plus I want to edit that novel, hopefully writing THE END. 500 words per day would work, and that IS a stretch for me. :(

DebH, your goal of 800 word short stories each day sounds fun.

Audra, I'll definitely pause after the day of writing to jot down some next day writing thoughts. Thanks for your post!

Ah, COLORADO! Love it except when driving over snowy Wolf Creek Pass! Bring on the wild flowers!

Connie Queen said...

Last year's Speedbo was the first time I ever succeeded at a decent writing goal. (Tried NANO but didn't complete.)

The story I wrote for Speedbo was for the Killer Voices contest, but it didn't make it to the final round. I hadn't read it since then until this week. It's not as bad as I remembered. This month going back to edit and revise it.

THEN I hoping to get my Speedbo project out. The opening is basically there and I have the synopsis so I just need to get it on paper.

Thanks for the helpful hints and you've got me thinking...

Connie Queen said...

In the middle of January my husband and I took a quick trip to Denver for our anniversary. It was actually warmer there than it was here in Texas. But it snowed while we were there and it hasn't done snowed here all winter which is a little unusual.

Vince said...

Hi Audra:

Having a long word count is no excuse for being boring or less interesting per page. All writing has the same duty to provide a continuously rewarding reading experience.

The question should not be, “How do I cut this story down to 20,000 words?” but rather, “What story would ideally take 20,000 words to tell in the most rewarding fashion?”

I’m sure we have all read stories that were marred by stretches of padding or damaged by a ‘hurry-up’ ending.

The ideal story should end on the last word just as a truly satisfying symphony ends on the last note. Debby’s “Yule Die” and Mary’s “The Sweetest Gift” are such stories. It can be done.

Plot your work and work your plot and pantser everything in between. And be thankful you are not a copywriter who also has to create ads for the same product for tv, radio, newspaper, billboard, and direct mail with each ad having to make maximum use of that medium’s particular strengths.

Before Speedbo, think Aproposbo.

CAVEAT: This is coming from an experienced copywriter and not a successful fiction writer. : )

Vince

Audra Harders said...

Myra, it's all about the words -- whether we work on an old project or new, right?

Audra Harders said...

Julie, I specifically placed EPIC 150K on the road graphic with you in mind, sweet stuff!! LOL! Think, think, think and then tell us what you have in mind and we'll prod you along!!

Audra Harders said...

thanks, Janet. I have to ground myself for the next day when I finish for the evening, otherwise I'll end up editing before writing the next evening.

Can't have that!!

Audra Harders said...

I love your picture, Janet!!!!!!

Heidi Robbins said...

I learned a lot with this one. Thanks for sharing!

Mary Connealy said...

AUDRA I thought today was Ruthy's day but I KNEW I wasn't getting scolded enough as I read the blog.

Excellent. I need to read this again and then go change my whole life. :(

Mary Connealy said...

KELLY!!! WOW Your goal is 90,000 words in March???

You're an example to us all!

Mary Connealy said...

My goal is to be done with my current WIP and write a novella in the first half of March, then revise the finished book the last of the month.

Both due April 1 so I don't have a whole lot of choice. I WILL get this done!

Meghan Carver said...

I'm in for EditBo, or maybe RewriteBo. Major words will need to be deleted and then whole scenes rewritten, so it would be absolutely, mind-boggling wonderful to have it done by the end of March. Thanks for the nudge, Audra.

Jeanne T said...

Meghan, I love your idea! I'll join with you for EditBo and RewriteBo. :)

Kav said...

By jove, I'm beginning to get the hint that we're supposed to come to Speedbo prepared!!!!! Gasp, what a novel thought!

I'm terrible...oops, after reading this I can change that to say...I've been terrible about not paying length any mind. I just start writing and blithely charge ahead until the end and then start off on the next project without looking back. Seriously, I've never sat down at the get go with a word length in mind. Y'all are rolling your eyes at me, right? I promise I'll do better.

Audra Harders said...

Hi everyone! It's so hard to stay chatty when the silly day job gets in the way!!

Oh Linda, I so agree with you. Writing short pieces is not for the faint of heart! You still have to include all the elements, you just have so many less words to do it in!!

Audra Harders said...

Sally, writing a story directed to LI requires focus. The romance is front and center. I have such a hard time with conflict, but conflict is a key element.

I hope some of our other LI authors will chime in from their experience!

Audra Harders said...

Elaine! 90K in 3 months? That is something to celebrate, girlfriend!

You can edit all you want during Speedbo. I believe you've paid it forward : )

Audra Harders said...

Caryl, thanks for stopping by and happy Friday Eve to you, too, LOL!

kaybee said...

Audra, this is so true. Know what you're aiming for. I'm shopping around my Oregon Trail story at 88,000 words, but I've also cut it to 71,000 in prep for submittal to LIH. It's basically the same story, but I had to take out all the different POV's for LIH and just keep it to him/her, where the original version is more of an epic. (In my dreams...) The longer I do this, the longer I realize that, allowing for our own creativity and what He places on our hearts, we really do have to observe the conventions. Which isn't hard, really. It's like Christianity itself, "narrow is the gate." The rules (okay, guidelines) are there to help us.
For Speedbo I'll be revisiting my NANO story. I can hardly wait. If I just work on this piece exclusively two months a year, it will eventually get done.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

GLYNNA is right, your goal should be YOUR goal. Only you know how much you can take, or do. And women's lives aren't getting any LESS complicated. (OK Vince and Walt, everyone's lives are complicated, sigh.)
Busy week, I'm a reporter and there are a lot of budget hearings etc. to attend, but I'm fitting in the writing around the edges and it's good. I'm also brushing up on synopsis writing and studying craft with my CP, so there's a lot going on. But it's good. If only it would stop snowing.
KB

LoRee Peery said...

I'm gearing up for Speedbo and plan to write a sequel to my novella from Speedbo '14. it was the first time I completed a rough draft without editing, and I loved it. I wrote a Christmas novelette in December the same way. Now I'm trying to get a friend to join us.

Audra Harders said...

Terri, I feel your pain!! Sometimes weaving in an extra subplot is not as easy as it sounds, right?

Audra Harders said...

Cathyann, I love reading in snowy weather! Or on the beach. Or anytime, really : )

You're in the drawing!

Audra Harders said...

Sandy, when ideas perk for so long it means it's a story that needs to be told. Speedbo is a wonderful time to start. Just think of all the words you'll pull out of your mind and put on paper.

Whew, I'll bet you sleep better at night without so much clutter mucking up your brain, LOL!!!

Audra Harders said...

Walt, you're a man on a mission. I like that. You've set a goal to finish a novella and incorporated edit time. That whole finish before the deadline thing.

I think you've been hanging around Ruthy, right??

Audra Harders said...

Jeanne, sign up for Speedbo and let's get some words down on paper! We've got all the cheerleaders lined up already.

Crazy defines Colorado weather to a T! My goodness, when I went out to warm up the car this morning, my door was frozen shut. Just now coming home for lunch, I didn't need a jacket.

Colorado.

Valri said...

I always enjoy posts about the writing process, even though I'm a reader! I just like to know what all of you writers go through! You are all amazing! Thanks for writing such fantastic books so that I can read them!

Debby Giusti said...

Audra,
Thanks for the Speedbo Pep Talk. It'll be here before we can say, "NO LIMITS!"

I'm working on a FEB project so must push forward this month as well. But it's all good.

Thanks for the fresh fruit! So good. I picked up a bag of clementines at the grocery today. So sweet! So yummy!

Chill N said...

Tina Radcliffe said...
I like Editbo!

Or how but Sloebo? For us slow writers.


Editbo! I'm in!

Hmm ... although maybe I should be in Sloebo Editbo?

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Audra, thanks for the nudge. I need to decide whether I want to revisit and edit my Speedbo from last year or revisit and edit a historical I wrote and set aside almost two years ago. Then again, there's a contemporary that's cooled for a while, too. Or maybe I'll go for a new novella and prove to myself I can write something shorter.

I'm going to need all the time before Speedbo to decide what to do.

You're working on something new for us to read, right? :-)

Nancy C

Audra Harders said...

Jamie, glad to hear about the indie! Good luck! Once you tie up ends with that, jump right into the next one.

Sounds good to me : )

Audra Harders said...

Elizabeth, great plans! Yes, work on the second novel. Yes, work on articles. Plan it all out and let's go!!

Personally, I think Speedbo is much more fun than working out, but that's probably just me : ) Writing or working out, both are enjoyable when you have company : )

Jessica Nelson said...

Pacing is so important! Great post, Audra.

Speedbo...I'm not brave nor disciplined enough, but I'll be cheering you guys on!

Audra Harders said...

Sherinda, you made me laugh. Yes, finish that 2013 Speedbo project! And then we'll move to Editbo and finally, Query- and SubmitBo!!

Goal? Published!

Audra Harders said...

Connie, Denver has been in a warm / cold cycle all winter. I can't stay ahead of the car wash, LOL!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Great post Audra. I'm gearing up for Speedbo by plotting my next book. I'm a pantster by nature, and I'm hoping that spending a couple of weeks plotting and outlining will speed up my writing output.

Pam Hillman said...

Great stuff, Audra! I'm working on a novella and at first, I struggled to get started...

I'm reminded of the 92 yo man who pulls a car with his teeth on AGT (just google it and you'll see)...

I hooked myself to the story and floundered around trying to gain my footing, trying to move forward just a little bit, but the story wouldn't budge.

But I kept pushing (or pulling, whichever visual suits) and after a while it inched forward. Then little ideas to advance the plot started to fall into place.

Just like that 92 yo man, I just have to keep pulling!

Wilani Wahl said...

During Speedbo I hope to finish the book I started last year and write as much as I can on another book. I got discouraged with the book last year and set it aside. Now I am excited and ready to work on it again as well as the new book;

This is my weekend to meet authors! I met Lucie Ulrich tonight and will meet Shelley Shephard Gray tomorrow night.

Laurie Tomlinson said...

I would LOVE to have a super high word count with my new manuscript, but 1) I'm a slooow writer and 2) I'm also trying to get ahead on articles for work with a new baby coming April 1! Still learning the art of turning off my internal editor :)

Audra Harders said...

Plot your work and work your plot and pantser everything in between.

Vince! I couldn't have said it better. There's a lot to the plotting element of a book, and working it right is so evident. So is working it wrong. Terri had mentioned that her book was too short for the projected length. It's tricky to add too many words without the plot sounding padded.

A little planning can save you big headaches down the road!!

Audra Harders said...

Glad you gleaned a tidbit or two, Heidi!!

Audra Harders said...

Mary, no one doubts you'll get it done, sweet stuff. What's more, it'll be brilliant. That's just the way you run : )

Isn't Kelly amazing? Wow, my brain would be fried if I wrote 90K in a month...or even 3!!

Audra Harders said...

Meghan, Jeanne...EditBo and ReWriteBo are fine by me. There are so many different challenges we can make up. I guess, we'll use it for whatever we need as long as the words pour forth from our brains and on to the paper!!!

Audra Harders said...

Kav, just trying to save you some time and brain cells, LOL! I'm the LAST one to say anything. I was a dyed-in-the-wool panster up until a couple of years ago. When you're targeting a line to pitch your story to and you get to The End and find your 20K words short or long, THEN you get the headache.

And like Vince said, it's tough to pad that many words without it looking like mush.

Audra Harders said...

Kathy Bailey, it's tough and getting tougher to work around schedules. Look at me. I would have LOVED spending the day with everyone chatting Speedbo, but bills have to get paid, and until writing does that for me, I'll continue to pop in and out of Seekerville around day job.

I feel your frustration in writing to word length for different lines. I can't tell you how many different versions and lengths of my book Rough Ride I created to suit different houses. I'm finishing the FINAL version of it now and expect to launch it in April as my book 3 of the Circle D series (book 1 started with my LI debut). There's always a place to plant those inspired stories we can't seem to let go.

Happy reporting! I'll bet you have a LOT on your plate right now!!

Audra Harders said...

LoRee, good for you! You're making such great progress! Each Speedbo we'll move further along and inviting friends is a wonderful idea!!

March is going to be a great month : )

Audra Harders said...

Valri, thanks for your kind words. We write for YOU!

Audra Harders said...

Debby, I'm ready to go NO LIMITS! I wish I had a way to take the month of March off work. Ah well, the good Lord will help me write all the words He has in mind.

Sometimes I want more though!

Clementines. They're in stock by us, too!

Audra Harders said...

Nancy, I love how decisive you are, LOL! Work on anything you'd like, we'll all work through it together : )

Yes! My third book (Nick, the bullrider) will be out this spring. I'm so psyched for this story. I hope y'all love it too : )

Audra Harders said...

Jessica, Speedbo is a lot of fun. AND just think of all the words you'll have behind you by the time March 31 rolls around...

Audra Harders said...

Rhonda, my instincts scream for me to pantser through books. But even an outline helps.

At least have an idea of word count. That will help you with subplots and pacing.

All this talk of Speedbo, I can't wait for March...even though February had my most favorite holiday...Valentines Day!!

Audra Harders said...

Pam, I'll all about the pulling by the skin of your teeth. I've run into some brick walls in the book I'm working on now. But I've toughed through them and they're not pretty -- but I can't fix what I haven't written.

It's all about the writing.

You crack me up. 92 yr old man. I hope I still have my teeth when I'm 92 : )

Audra Harders said...

Wilani, I love your planning. I'm sorry you got discouraged, but setting it aside was probably the best thing you could do. Now you're ready to look at it again and make the changes you weren't ready for last year.

There's always a reason for the potholes in our road to publication, right?

Have a great time hobnobbing with the authors!!

Audra Harders said...

Laurie, you forgot to mention how baby-brain tends to take over your life. Give yourself a break, kiddo. Think about what you'd like to work on in March and let it ride. No pressure.

Take time out and make some cute baby clothes and stock up on diapers, too. We want a word count and we want you ready for baby!!

Tanya Agler said...

Thanks for the post. I'm in the same editing boat with a lot of you. By the end of the month, I hope to be plotting my next book, but I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Edwina said...

I would love to participate in Speedbo but I am up to my neck in revisions (thank God for the 'delete' key!)

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Audra! I'm sorry I didn't get by yesterday to read it.

You know, I, too, found the novella more difficult to write than I anticipated. It didn't feel short at all to me. It seemed it took longer than I though it would to write it! :)

Christine said...

Like most of you have already said--I too found writing my first novella to be much harder than my full-length novels. At the same time I found it a real hoot to concentrate on only the romance, and keep the story to the two main characters. Everyone else had a human characterization of course, but as far as the story went they were much like the furniture in each scene.

Deanna Stevens said...

I'll have to set myself a Read & reviewbo challenge of getting
8+ books & the reviews 'written' this month :) Thanks for the encouragement!
Hope that cowboy hat has room for my entry please toss me in :)

Rhonda McKnight said...

I didn't know about Speedbo. I just sped through a 44,000 word novella in January, but I do need to get another done, so maybe I'll get to plotting this weekend and see if I can do it again.

Janet Kerr said...

Great information on writing short or long. This blog is very helpful.
Jan