Of Deadlines, Short Stories and Novellas.

Over April, I have been striving towards a self-imposed goal of 10,000 words as part of CampNaNoWriMo. Regular readers will have read about it during over the past month. Fear not, this is the last post on the topic… for now.

I have mentioned previously that one thing I am constantly fighting is procrastination. I use deadlines as a means of forcing myself to get things done. I have used competitions, regular blog dates and this year, I decided to try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – 50,000 words on a new project – in November.) I had an idea for a novella. Pefect! I have started a box with notes, which I need to add to before November. I have taken holidays.  I can write, write, write.

Then I found out about the mini-version.  I could name my own goal, from 10,000 to 50,000 words.  I had a short story in mind, #3 in my growing Doctor Viola Stewart Adventures, using some of my favourite characters. It is based in the same world as The Department of Curiosities, but is less gadgetry steampunk, still alternative history. So far I have:

  • #1: An Eye for Detail – short listed for Australian Literature Review Mystery Short Story Competition, July, 2013. (3000 words)
  • #2: The Magic Lantern (completed – 3500 words)
  • #3: Doctor Jack. (in progress) ( 10,000 words, and counting).

The month started out in a very promising way but quickly fell apart. Days 1-7: 400 words. After a week of migraines, I was still only at four hundred words. Sigh. Procrastination had set in once more but, hey, I had twenty-three more days to write myself out of the hole. Another spurt got me to 1900 words, over the next five days.

Days 8-22: The pattern went like this: a spurt of writing, some plot tinkering, followed by three to four days of intense research – in an effort to make me look like I knew at least a little bit about the historical facts related to the story.

Day 23: I finally wrapped my head around the geography for some of the action and sat down for eight hours, writing out a rough plot line so that everything would track – logistically and timeline-wise.  I now had an ending. But.. 10,000 words would not be enough?

Day 25:  Doctor Jack has struck.. again. Two more, and the ensuing investigation, to go. Eight hundred and sixteen words til I hit my CampNaNoWriMo goal of 10,000. It was obvious the story would not end there. There is at least another 2,000 to 4,000 words to wrap it up. This is no longer a short story. This is my first novella. I am loving these characters.

Doctor Jack – 1st draft- Deadline 30th April, 2014: 

Day 26: First draft is still ongoing. I am now writing beyond my goal and just starting the third phase of the story. Yeah for deadlines! When will I be done? When the characters have completed their story.

Doctor Jack – 1st draft- Deadline 30th April, 2014: 

Introducing: Doctor Jack: Story #3 in The Adventures of Viola Stewart. (I so wanted to call it The Two Doctors Adverntures!)
There is someone stalking the women of London… again. Oculist Doctor Viola Stewart feels there is something strangely familiar about the murders. She convinces her friend Dr Collins(local police pathologist)to assist in her investigations. Together they uncover a sinister plot and a secret Society hell bent on creating a new order.”

Wednesday will be my final sprint – during the Writer’s Race – to see how much further I can get before the CampNaNoWriMo deadline at midnight. Then for the revisions, rewrites and edits.

Manuscript Word Progress:(on hold for the month)
Total Words:  
Revised Words: 
At 1st draft only:


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