#WIPMarathon 12: January

Hello! You may have noticed my blog theme has changed. My old background decided to go offline and I’ve not had time to customise this new theme, but it works for now.

View from Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth, Cornwall, Monday sunrise. <3


So our first WIP Marathon check-in for 2015 is here and it’s been my most productive month in awhile — my most non-NaNo month I should say.

I just returned from a 5-day writing getaway in Falmouth, Cornwall (where I went to uni) and it was such a refreshing and invigorating time that I’m pretty much sold on the idea of trying to do it a few times a year. I’ll post about how it went and writing holidays in general in a day or so.

On to WIP Marathon!

Last report word count:


Current report WC:


Yes, that means I wrote 32,495 words in January!! This is truly AMAZING and I hope I can keep this up, given how sluggish parts of 2014 were. This year is off to a fabulous start!

This WIP is an adult fantasy, the bulk of which was drafted during NaNo. My goal at the end of December was to finish the first draft in January. I got a shedload written in Falmouth, but yesterday, the last day of January, I managed a whopping 8,889 words in one 24-hour period.

I took plenty of breaks, went to the gym, watched several Sex & the City eps with dinner, and kept coming back to it and somehow, got my climax scene written. It helped that I had a list of beats and all the revelations that had to come out in the end. I somehow write better when I get up every 30 minutes and do something else for 5-10 minutes in between.

WIP Issues This Month:

I struggled with the last scene. I spent all Saturday trying to write it but it didn’t want to come, and I think it was because I was trying to force it in a setting I didn’t know and couldn’t picture well. It felt nowhere near as spectacular as it could be. So I changed the setting, and the characters found their voices in it a lot easier.

Four things I learned this month while writing:

1) If a scene isn’t flowing, take a muse break. Watch TV, a film, get some exercise, read a book. Or do what I did and change the setting.

2) I can’t begin to list all the things I’ve learned from rereading Susan Sipal’s fantastic A WRITER’S GUIDE TO HARRY POTTER. If you’re an HP fan, check it out. It uses endless examples of how JKR made HP so addictive and believable and rich.

3) Revelatory dialogue at a chapter’s end can be a good thing. A sudden and surprising piece of info coming out of a character’s mouth can focus in on the character and their secrets, and build suspense for the next scene (if done properly, of course). Someone recently told me this doesn’t work, but I just read MAKE A SCENE by Jordan Rosenfeld and she addresses this exact technique. And her explanation made more sense to me than the other person’s argument 😉

4) Regarding internalisation/inner dialogue: Instead of telling readers what the character is thinking, show it. Sounds simply put that way, but read this amazing post by the always awesome Janice Hardy. I really struggle with falling back on internalisation has a bad habit, and this really clarified it for me. I’m finally become hyper-aware of when my POV character is dithering over an action rather than just TAKING it.

What distracted me this month while writing:

I had writing and life issues in general because I jacked my back over Christmas — possibly just prolonged bad posture at the computer, or a dodgy yoga pose, or something. I saw an osteopath and physio TWICE each. It’s nothing major, I just need to keep up with stretches and get up every half hour. But when it’s bothering me, it feels like the back of my right leg, from my butt down to my foot, is really cold. Not to the touch, but inside. Very unpleasant and ridiculously hard to concentrate when it’s happening, but when I’m running or walking, I don’t seem to notice it. Going to keep up the osteo visits and hopefully get it sorted out.

Goal for next month:

One complete read-through and first revision of this WIP done, and hopefully have sent it off to some CPs/betas by then.

Last 200 words:

I’m going to hold off on this, given that my last scene was . . .  well, my last scene. But next month when I’ve done a round of revisions, I’ll be happier to share something then 🙂

Hope it was a productive month for all my fellow WIPMarathoners, and I’ll be posting soon about my writing holiday experiences, and how I managed to write 14k+ in one week (when I’ve been a snail for most of the year).

Happy February!


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14 thoughts on “#WIPMarathon 12: January

  1. Wooohoo! You so much rocked January!! And many congrats on your 24-hour record! I can’t believe you could do it while watching TV episodes and all! Going to try that on one of my 5kin1day marathons.

    Thanks so much for all the helpful tips you shared this month. Now you’ve said it, I realize I’ve always been awed by end-of-chapter reveals, especially when they come out of the blues!

    Can’t wait to see how you accomplished 14k in a week!
    May the writing muses continue inspiring you in February!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m learning more and more about the importance of having breaks. Write for 2 hours, then go read a book for awhile. Write another 2 hours, then get some exercise. Write another 2 hours, then sit and watch TV while chowing down. I did have a few power sessions this week where I just sat still and got on with it (mainly because I was on a train for 5 hours), but mixing it up definitely helped me on the hardest day of all!

      Thanks again and happy February to you!!

  2. Whooo, yay for complete! That’s an awesome wordcount for January, and considerably better than mine. But my new hard drive has arrived, and hopefully hubby’s tech buddy will have some time in the next few days to install it and the OS, so my February can be uber-productive!

    I’m sorry about your back, and hope you’ll see some improvement there soon!

    1. YAY for the new hard drive!! Here’s to an endless stream of words in February for you! And thanks — back is definitely getting better. Fewer bouts of annoyance with more good days. I think the running actually helps rather than hurts 🙂

  3. Great job on all the words! Almost 9000 words in a day is incredible.

    Janice Hardy’s blog is always fantastic. I haven’t heard of that guide to Harry Potter until now, but I’ll definitely be checking it out! And I love ending chapters with cliffhangers like that. It’s a great way to ensure the reader keeps turning the page!

    Good luck with your February goals! 🙂

    1. It doesn’t begin to compare to your level of output, but I’ll take it! 🙂

      Janice is amazing, isn’t she? I never cease to have my eyes opened when I stop by her blog, or if I’ve got a particular issue in mind she always has more than one post that covers it. And yes, do check out that HP guide! It’s not only full of, “Wow, I never thought of it *that* way” scenarios, but filled me awe and love for HP all over again. Incredibly insightful!

  4. Yes! I’m taking a writing getaway in a few months. I haven’t been on one in a few years. It’s long overdue! This year IS off to a great start for you! I’m going to have to implement that strategy. It’s worth a try! I can’t wait to hear about your writing holiday!!

    I hope everything gets sorted out and healed up with your back! You rocked so much in January. May the rest of the year continue to be just as awesome! ^_^

    1. Excellent!! I hope you have a great time and smash out some serious wordage! Definitely long overdue, I’d say! 🙂

      And yes, thank you — back is much better, just the occasional off day so I think running and stretching has made a world of difference (and seeing a fab osteopath!).

  5. Wow, that is an awesome word count for January! That is awesome. I hope you have a nice time at your writer’s retreat. I’d love to go to an event like that some day. The pic is beautiful!!

    Thanks for the book suggestion (I am a HUGE HP fan!!) and for the link to the article about internal questions. I have a feeling both will come in handy!

    Best of luck with February’s goals!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂 And yes, definitely check out Sipal’s book — it’s a goldmine of eye-openers and insight! (and made me fall in love with HP for about the thousandth time).

  6. Woot! Congrats! That’s some amazing amounts of writing you did. And I’m so envious of your writing holiday. I think I’ve got to plan one of those sometime in the summer.

    Off to check out Janice’s article – thanks!

    Wishing you all the best for February!

    1. You totally should! I didn’t expect to get much done, in reality, since I have so many fond memories of where I went. I figured I’d spend most of the time walking, exploring, and reminiscing. But lo and behold, this time it worked 😀 Go for it!

  7. WOW Cheyenne! 32K in ONE month! That’s an entire novella! I’d be ecstatic with those numbers! (You did see my whole 2K, right?).

    I love your advice about placing the characters in a more familiar setting in order to coax out a scene. An unfamiliar setting is something you overlook as far as causing writer’s block, but it’s totally happening to me to the Nth degree right now with my whole “half of this novel must take place in 1876″ issue.” I’m so unfamiliar with the setting in 1876 that it keeps spooking me away from my WIP.

    Sorry to hear about your back issues. I hope it feels better soon.

    Congrats again on an AMAZING start to the new year!

    1. I think for me it was that the original setting for the climactic scene just didn’t have that oomph I was hoping for, and it didn’t provide the physical space for what I wanted to happen (even though I didn’t KNOW what I wanted to happen until it happened…). But moving the setting elsewhere, where there was tons of physical space, somehow unleashed the ideas. It’s still only first draft so it probably sucks hard, but I got it out, and that’s all I cared about at that point 😉 I’m sure yours will come… because 1876, holy cow, totally intriguing! Maybe a Pinterest binge or something will help out there? Good luck! And thanks! 😀

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