Numbers… IWSG September 2, 2015

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers’ Support Group (click the words to visit)

Today’s cohosts are:  Heather M. Gardner, Christine Rains, Dolorah at Book Lover, Julie Flanders, and

Once upon a time I wrote a story.  It was a very good story, at least to my mind.  I got the idea for the story when a major character in a series of mine, seized by enemies who for all he knows want nothing more than to kill or capture him, gives his name to his captors.  It is an important name and, historically, might have given pause to anyone thinking of tangling with him.

I wrote, “Their expressions made him think of the fable of the man who encountered a thirty cubit crocodile.”

HOW big is it???

The ways of inspiration are strange to outsiders.  I started mulling over the notion of a thirty cubit crocodile (a cubit being 21 inches in dynastic Egypt) and I had an idea for a story involving just such a beast who intrudes into the life of a needy man.  In the course of helping the man, it manages to turn the man’s world upside-down.

At thirty thousand words at this moment, it is a nice novelette and an enjoyable addition to the series. 
And then I thought of a certain publishing contest.

You submit your work, and if it is approved they obtain a photo of you (something I would worry about later), a blurb and a pitch, and they put it up online for those who might like to look at it, vote on it,and puff out their chests for volunteering to. 
This is doable.  Elegant, in fact.  And heaven knows it’s good story.  Thus far.

The problem is, the submission must be 50,000 words.

It isn’t such a problem, if you think of it.  Beautiful manuscript not lost, story moving along nicely…  We should all have such problems, shouldn’t we?

The thing is, I have to take that story and add two-thirds of its length.  Twenty thousand words needed to qualify  for the contest which, God same the mark, I very well might not win.

Words can’t begin to describe the annoyance.  

Yeah, well, we all have things to do, don’t we?  20,000 words equals twenty sessions of a thousand words each.  Or ten sessions of two thousand words each.  Heck, just in this particular animadverting session I have managed to generate just about five hundred words.

And that brings me to the phrase that helps me when I am trying to come up with numbers:

Just Spit It Out

I know very well that I’ll be adding and subtracting, polishing, deepening…all the things that, for me, make writing so rewarding and fun.

My problem is that I get hung up on the notion of numbers and end up not producing any.

The answer?  See the red letters above.  Write the words.  Break the ice.  Get cracking.

Will I enter the contest with my crocodile story?  I might.  Then again, I might not.  It does need some additions, and I can see at least five more chapters at about 1500 words apiece. If you do the math, it’s do-able.

If, that is, I can get myself to put away the calculator, open up the laptop, review the piece, and just go to town.  I think I can.

Visit the other blogs on this wonderful hop.  I guarantee, the other bloggers have a lot more to say, and a lot more on point.  (Cough!)

Okay, What I’m Doing…

I really need to update this blog on a regular basis.  It does tend to be hit or miss, but I don’t want to bore everyone with my writing issues and enjoyments (though I find it enjoyable). 
For example, I have the nicest recipe for Thai-style soup that works up quickly, has low fat and sodium, and makes wonderful left-overs for the next day.  In fact, if you can hold off eating it for two days it’s really good.  I’ll post it if I can find a good photo.

Currently I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo, which is a contest of sorts where you attempt to write 50,000 words in thirty days.  To reduce that to understandable terms,a printed page – as in, say, a paperback of normal size such as you sneak on mass transit and hope no one notices you reading it – Harlequin Romance, to be precise – has about 275 words per page.  50,000 words translates to  181 pages.  A normal-sized harlequin.

Lots of people seem to think that they must produce a finished, polished, to-be-published-then-and-there manuscript, but that is not the case.  The founder of NaNo, Chris Baty, says that the task is to write 50,000 words.  And he gives some examples of what counts,
I have some Egyptian stories (you have noticed, haven’t you?) that feature some Egyptian names.  If I type (with apologies to A. A. Milne):

 Ramesses strode down the hallway, yanked open the door to the Imperial Kitchen s and snapped, “Nobody can call me a fussy man – but I do like a little bit of butter on my bread!”

I score 36 words.  Not bad.  But if, having access to his throne names, I type

User – Maat – Re – Sotep – en – Re – Ramesses II Meriamun strode down the hallway, yanked open the door to the Imperial Kitchen s and snapped, “Nobody can call me a fussy man   but I do like a little bit of butter on my bread!”

I score 50.

Now, that actually is not cheating per Mr. Baty, bless him.   
Way out of date cover

Mourningtide was last year’s NaNo project, and it’s in final polish, but I was just a trifle burned out and decided to go with Kadesh, which is moving along.  (Check for some chapters on my web page – )

I’ve been going slowly, and yesterday I took a day off to put Mourningtide into print book format for reasons that I am not allowed to discuss.  It was interesting to see that, printed, it is working out to 332 pages, if I include the List of Characters but not my incomplete Author’s Notes.  Considering that Pharaoh’s Son, that behemoth, was 421 pages and had a genesis that spanned nearly twenty years, that is not bad.
So, what on earth am I doing?  Writing and cooking and enjoying autumn.  I’ll have to post photos.
And that recipe, of course.