Sunday, October 10, 2010

Progress Report

September was a productive month for me, with more than 30,000 words written. Not too shabby for someone who has not put butt in chair and fingers to keyboard in three months. It's not NaNoWriMo pace, but then it was not intended to be. I was shooting for 1000 words a day, and I exceeded that every single day but one.  More importantly than that, I actually did put my butt in my chair and write words of fiction every single day. To me, that's more important than the word count.

I finished the first draft of Marathon Nightmare before the end of the month. It turned out I was able to salvage the story without having to start over.  Even better, the ending turned out to surprise me.  I love it when that happens!  I thought I knew where the story was headed when I began. I had an outline and a plan, but about two thirds of the way through, the story took over and I was reduced to writing like crazy, trying to keep up.  I love the ending.  Now I have to go back and tweek the beginning so it hangs together. This the second story I've written whose main character is Bev Deller, an insurance adjuster. She specializes in large fires with suspicious origin. The first one, After the Fire, is available for free at Smashwords.

I like this character and I enjoyed learning more about her by writing a second story.  There's a lot to her and she has an interesting array of family and friends that I want to get to know better.  A third Bev Deller Story is definitely in the cards.  I will make one quick editing pass this week and then put Marathon Nightmare away to rest for a few months before doing the heavy duty editing necessary before publishing it on Smashwords with the rest of my stories. I hope I can do that by sometime in the spring.

Speaking of Smashwords, more than 9000 copies of my stories have been downloaded either from Smashwords directly or from one of the outlets it feeds.   I'm not sure why, but some of the outlets are charging for a couple of my stories, and so I'm actually earning some royalties.  I haven't built up enough yet to receive a payment, but there is money showing on the account.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I will continue to give away the stories I have published already, but I might give some thought to charging a nominal amount for future books. I'm on the fence about that.

I've received a number of positive reviews and ratings, and only one bad review.  Most people don't make any comment.  In my opinion, if 20 out of the 9000 read the story they downloaded and if a third of them had an enjoyable experience, then I'm happy. Several of the people who have commented or sent me emails have told me they have read more than one of my stories. That thrills me. I am a loyal reader of the authors I like, and it makes me happy to know that there are people who have enjoyed my stories enough to come back for more!

I totally love the experience of writing stories.  If a few people enjoy them, that satisfies me. I have no expectation of being a famous author, retiring on my royalties or hobnobbing with the literary set. I have no illusions about being the a great novelist. I'm just somebody with stories in her head that demand to be shared. I'll be thrilled if someday I receive a royalty payment that will buy a bottle of cheap wine with which to celebrate the accomplishment.

In any case, I'm off to a good start resuming my "writing life" after my summer vacation.

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