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Weekly Word Count: January 15 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Word Count: January 15 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Word Count: January 15

What Is This?

Following the lead of my mentor, friend, and exemplar, Tami Moore,1 this will be a weekly article to document progress in meeting my writing goals as described here.

I set up an Excel spreadsheet to track all my work by category (blog post, copyediting work, creative writing) and item. So all I need to do is add up the “words” column and I’m good to go. Incidentally, I’m not counting this column in my weekly word count (unless I need to, in order to make my goal!).

How Did I Do?

My weekly goal is 1500 words.This week, I published two articles to the blog and I wrote the first draft of Chapter 1 of my story/novella/novel, “Darklight.” It’s a science-fiction story set in the present day, and the term “UFO” is prominent in Chapter 1. The protagonist is a former Air Force special ops officer named Nathan Castle, and the heroine’s name is Devon Sinclair. And that’s all you get for now. ;)

  • “Grammar Potpourrie: Homophones” – 1014 words
  • “Two-Minute Drill: Allude and Elude” – 506 words
  • “Darklight: Chapter 1” – 3623 words
  • I had no copyediting projects this week. (They will count as half-credit; in other words, a 5,000 word story, copyedited, will count as 2,500 words.)

Total: 5,143 words. I took my 1,500 word goal and blew it out of the water. Destroyed it. And then, I gathered up the remaining matchsticks, threw a little sulfur on ’em, and burned those to ash. I may have to reconsider how realistic 1,500 words is. On the other hand, on the 25th we’re flying to California for a couple weeks, then to Disney World in Florida for a week with Alie and her parents, so maybe 1,500 will be pretty ambitious till the latter half of next month!

Miscellaneous “Stuff”


There is also a prologue to “Darklight,” which runs 951 words, but that was written while I was in Hawai’i over Christmas, so doesn’t add to my word count. However, now that I have measurable progress on this project, rather than a jumble of half-formed thoughts rolling around in the space between my ears, I decided to get serious about this writing gig.

To that end, I purchased and downloaded Scrivener (Mac only), based on Tami’s recommendation (among others). I was also able to find on online coupon code for 20 percent off the US$39.95 price.

According to the Scrivener website,

Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers of long texts such as novels and research papers. It won’t try to tell you how to write – it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.

I haven’t had a real chance to play around with it yet, but I’m looking forward to “getting under the hood” as soon as this article is posted. I realize now (well, I knew it earlier, but I’ve finally internalized it) that, at the very least, I need an outline.

I need to figure out an ending at some point, and I need to plot the journey to that ending. That means I need to create various scenes, determine what conflicts need to arise and be resolved. I need to figure out if there’s a romance involved in this book. (A couple people who’ve read what I have so far seem to think so; I’m not yet convinced.)

I need to figure out if the “villain” is misguided, or truly evil. Actually, one vision I have is of a “bad guy” turned good. But then I need to find the real villain. I could throw in a twist and make one of the good guys a bad guy…

See what I mean? I have no idea where this thing is going, so I’m very hopeful that Scrivener will help me plot the journey. Of course, the actual trek I’ll have to do on my own. And that’s a trip I’m very much looking forward to.


In writing Chapter 1, I used the text editor Ommwriter (free; Mac only). According to the developers,

Ommwriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

It’s not intended to replace a word processor. It gives you a very plain screen, with a soothing background. You can choose from several meditative background sound schemes (I opted for waves on a beach), best enjoyed with headphones. Then, you just write. It’s plain text (although you do have a choice of fonts), so no bold, italics, underline or the like. But it definitely gets you into a zone in which composition is almost effortless. I had 3,000 words before I realized it, simply because it was so easy to remove all the distractions. If you simply want to get words on paper (well, virtual paper, anyway), I highly recommend Ommwriter.

Saucy Wenches Chat Room

Finally, I want to once again remind you that a handful of us hang out daily in the Saucy Wenches chat room on Jabber. If you have Google Talk, Pidgin, Adium, Meebo, or any other chat client with Jabber capability, simply use “saucywenches” as the room name, and for the server. There is no password. If you want to talk about words, writing, or just about anything else, come on in!

  1. Even to the extent of copying her format!
3 Responses to Weekly Word Count: January 15
  1. Mazil
    January 15, 2010 | 17:39

    Ah, Scrivener! I’ve been using it for my (sporadic) writing attempts and have been meaning to buy it. It is very nice, I like how you can write notes and rearrange pages and sections so easily.

    Thanks for posting the coupon code… so tempting!… but I don’t think I can quite justify it, since I haven’t been writing enough recently (although I’d like that to change!).

    • Kestrel
      January 15, 2010 | 22:34

      Well you know, the only way to write is…to write. :) But I know you’re busy with your art, too. However, if you haven’t yet, check out Tami’s site–she has tons of article and links to inspire and motivate you.

  2. Tami
    January 16, 2010 | 10:34

    *cheer* Love to hear about those writing goals being blazed through! *hugs*
    Tami´s latest blog post is Engaging a Reading/Critiquing Partner My ComLuv Profile