Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist



NaNoWriMo Update 3

This is where reality sets in.

It’s highly unlikely that I’m going to win NaNoWriMo this year. Not only have I fallen woefully behind, but I’ve had a little realization. My life is beyond busy. Work, ministry, family, Christmas, kids, work. I finally reached my breaking point this week, and realized that, although NaNo has been amazing and has given me the push to write over 20 000 words in a few weeks, I would rather stay sane and enjoy my family and the upcoming Christmas season.

That said, I am not abandoning the project, just lowering my personal bar. I will aim to have 40 000 words done in November, and finish the first draft of the novel (somewhere between 60 000 and 80 000) in December. To that end, I will continue these updates throughout December, because you all have been great incentive to fire off a few hundred words whenever I can. For those keeping track still, here are the stats for today:

Words written: 20 017

Word I should have written by the end of today to stay on track: 35 000 (28000, adjusted)

Average number of words written in my genre: 11911

Average number of words written in Calgary: 15588

Still well ahead of the curve. But then, I believe only about 20% of NaNo participants actually finish in November. So, we’ll see.

As far as the novel goes, I finished outlining the second half of the story, threw in a few subtle twists, and kept drilling on my word count. As far as plot points go (with a 7-point plot structure), we are just recovering from point 3 and heading towards the halfway mark of point 4. It’s been really neat, because every time I start to grow tired of putting fingers to keyboard, I start talking about the story to someone, and the fire to keep writing comes right back. Let’s hope that fire can keep me going through another 60 000 words!


NaNoWriMo Update 2

Well, everyone, it’s been another week. We are now 12.5 days into NaNoWriMo, nearly halfway to the end already. Supposedly, the second week is supposed to be where we run into the wall and find ourselves without any creative juice. It’s true that there have been times that I’ve been tempted to spend free time playing video games or reading, but being behind in my word count has given me the push to keep going. Unfortunately, with a busy weekend last weekend and a Christmas script to finish, I wasn’t able to get any writing done for a few days. That really starts to hurt when each day of no-writing puts you back 1667 words off the pace. But I’ve kept going, and I’ve reached a new milestone in my writing.

Before this project, my longest piece of writing was a 38 page manifesto for a Hermeneutics class. That translates to roughly 9500 words. Yesterday, I crossed the 10000 word mark, making this novel already my longest project yet. It’s exciting to think about how much has already been put into this, and how much I still have to do. I really believe I have enough in me to finish a proper length book!

Another interesting observation: my writing has sped up! By about 20%. I was averaging about 1000 words per hour when I started, and have increased that to about 1200. If this continues, I’ll be tearing through the latter half of the book in no time!

So, here are my stats so far:

Words written: 11726

Word I should have written by the end of today to stay on track: 21 667

Average number of words written in my genre: 8370

Average number of words written in Calgary: 10717

So, I’m ahead of the averages, but I’ve got a lot to do to catch up to where I should be.

This week, I’ve introduced the rest of my main cast, written a piece for my main antagonist, and introduced more of the world. We’ve also been introduced to the big mystery that our heroes have to solve. I’ve been writing a bit out of order, but will end up putting it all together soon.

I should have time tonight to add another 2000-3000 words, which will carry me well past the 1/4 way point. Let’s just hope my boys cooperate and that my mind doesn’t melt in the process.

Until next week!

NaNoWriMo Update 1

Hello everyone! Today, I’m bringing you a special edition of EpicTheology: an update on my writing journey through NaNoWriMo. My aim is to give a short update on my progress through my novel each Friday. I’m hoping this keeps me accountable to my writing. Knowing that I have to have something to tell all of you should be enough of a push to keep going, even when other distractions come calling. It also means I have to keep going and not just let it die (like I did last year). So, with 5.5 days of NaNoWriMo finished, here’s where I’m at:

Words written: 4843

Word I should have written by the end of today to stay on track: 10 000

Average number of words written in my genre: 4540

Average number of words written in Calgary: 5319

So far, we’ve introduced the world we’re playing in (a smoggy, turn of the century Steampunk world of adventure and intrigue), our hero, a few other main characters, and some smaller antagonists. So far, we haven’t left the first chapter, so this may end up being a much longer book than I first anticipated. But really, that’s what December is for, right? I also have about a 1000-word prologue that I wrote before NaNoWriMo began, which I’m not counting in my word count. For those keeping track, I’ve also knocked out almost 2000 words for a Christmas Eve script this week, and even been able to catch a little sleep.

Until next week!

NaNoWriMo 2015

St Augustine, probably catching up his daily word count for NaNoWriMo 415AD.

Hello everyone,

I’ve read several times that the greatest tool for getting a project finished is to have a hard and fast deadline. I’ve had several writing projects that I’ve either just started or been sitting on for a while, and I figured that having a nice deadline would help me actually finish one.

To that end, I’ve joined National Novel Writing Month this year. For those who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is an international event held each November, where aspiring (and established) writers put aside all of their writing inhibitions and aim to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. That’s 1667 words, every day, for a month. There is a well-established community of writers who love to help people on their way, pep talks by professional authors, and games and events throughout the month. It is a caffeine-driven month of madness that can end with the jubilation of a finished novel, or the bitter taste of failure.

I tried last year, and ended up with the latter of those two outcomes. Unfortunately, November is rather a busy time for students, and my commitments for drama ministry, paper writing, and projects to finish meant that I only got about 6500 words or so written before I had to pack it in. I still have that draft, and plan to go back and finish it some day, but not just now.

This year, I’ve started a new project. An adventure novel. I’m telling all of you this because having other people know about my commitment to writing 50 000 words this month ups the stakes. It may be what I need to push through to finish by the end of November. So, I’m hereby giving all of you permission to bug me, berate me, and cheer me on as I take on the Herculean task of writing a novel (in addition to writing a blog and several drama pieces for Christmas church drama…I’m a little crazy, I know).

I’ve spoken before about the value of ritual and discipline in the lives of Christians and artists. This is me putting that into practice. If any one wants to join me, it’s not too late. You’ve just missed 2.5 days of writing, leaving you 27.5 left to get out that masterpiece. And if you aren’t a writer, and don’t want to be, I hope you can find some time each day to work on your craft. I will be writing over my lunch hour this month, with another couple-hour session another day each week. I’m hoping this will cement a discipline for writing that I can carry over into my other work and projects in the future.

Here’s to a crazy month of creative surges and manic productivity!


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