Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo


National Novel Writing Month Finished — OPH II Not So Much

I haven’t spent a lot of time here on the blog talking about National Novel Writing Month this year, but I have been giving pretty regular updates over on my Facebook Writer’s Page. You guys are all following that, right? You should. All the cool kids are doing it.

Anyway, if you have been following, you know I’ve been slowly inching towards the annual November goal of 50,000 words of a novel, and that this year’s book is the all-new sequel to my first novel, Other People’s Heroes. In this new book, it’s been several months since the first novel ended, Siegel City has changed dramatically, and not everybody is happy about it. Josh Corwood learns that life as a legitimate superhero isn’t as great as he expected it to be, and a new enemy begins operating right under their noses.

I’m about two-thirds of the way finished with the first draft of Other People’s Heroes II as of right now. (That’s not going to be the official title, by the way. I’m just calling it that because I haven’t come up with a title yet. Titles are hard for me for some reason. The original OPH was going to be called Capes and Masks almost right up until the final moment, but I never quite liked that title and kept looking for something better For marketing reasons, I’m thinking of calling the sequel Tyler Perry’s Fifty Shades of Ways to Die Hard in Twilight, Presented By Oprah.)

However, now that I’ve reached my goal, OPH II is going to be moved over just for a bit to make room for a few other projects. While I still intend to work on OPH II every day, I’ve got not one, but three other projects that are more time-sensitive, all of them holiday-related. In the coming days, you can look forward to…

Reel to Reel: The Christmas Special. I’m going to give the R2R treatment to 25 of the most beloved Christmas TV specials of all time. Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty, the Muppets — I’m gonna talk about all of them over the next few weeks.

The Obligatory EBI Vol. 2: Is Santa Claus Super? Like my first Obligatory EBI collection, this will be a short, cheap e-book collecting some of my best EBI columns and other features associated with the Christmas season, including the now-legendary column that asked the eternal question, is Santa Claus a superhero? This one will hopefully be available no later than Monday, and I cannot WAIT for you guys to see the kick-ass cover Jacob Bascle has created for this one. He’s outdone himself.

The Ghost of Simon Tower. As you know, I do a new Christmas short story every year, and this year’s tale is going to take place in-between OPH and OPH II. It’s going to star Josh Corwood and a mysterious holiday visitor. And I’m not going to say any more about that just now.

And then I’ll get back to working full-time on OPH II. And then I’ll throw myself wholeheartedly into the revisions for The Pyrite War, the story of Siegel City’s first superhero. And hopefully you’ll see BOTH of those full-length novels in 2013.

So even though I’ve gotten extremely busy in my personal life as of late, in case you didn’t know, I find that this is only making me MORE determined to get my work out there, to build my audience, and to give you guys some content. So if you’re among the people who like reading my stuff, thank you wholeheartedly. All I want is to give you more to love.


The Pyrite War… FINISHED!

The plan continues apace…

Despite a remarkably busy week, including an insane schedule of End of Course testing at work and preparing the play I’m currently directing (Alan Ball’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress — four more performances at the Thibodaux Playhouse, beginning Thursday), I managed to find time this week to finally finish the first draft of my current Work in Progress, The Pyrite War. This is a great feeling. It started as my NaNoWriMo project for 2010, and although I hit the required 50,000 word mark, the story wasn’t nearly finished. Unfortunately, as tends to happen, I lost the thread of the story for a while after that, getting distracted by other things. I found it again a couple of months ago, and although I haven’t reclaimed the furious pace NaNoWriMo requires, since I returned to it, The Pyrite War has been my sole fiction project. A few days ago, I wrote the last word of the book (the word, if you’re interested, is “do”) — 90’027 words total, spread over 17 chapters and an epilogue. And The Pyrite War version 1.0 is finished.

Other People’s Heroes, at its core, is the story of a young man who believes in heroes helping a lost city to find its way. The Pyrite War is about an older man, a more cynical one, who must overcome that cynicism so that the same city isn’t lost at the very dawn of the first heroic age. Set in 1939, The Pyrite War is the story of Siegel City’s first superhero. Although none of our friends from OPH appear in this book, their are threads that reach back in time. I am a true lover of heroic legacies. This story will show you how some of the legacies in OPH began.

It’s not ready to share, not yet. This is just the first draft, after all. But I’m quite proud of the story and the fact that it’s finished.

So my plans for the next few months are as follows:

•Complete final editing on Opening Night of the Dead. Then, as soon as the cover for that book is completed, it will be made available in print and eBook.
•Do a second draft of The Pyrite War. This time around I intend to add a few bits, specifically intended to strengthen the mystery (yes, mystery) and give a little more depth to one of the more important relationships in the story I don’t think got quite enough screentime in the first go-around.
•Send the second draft to the Legion of Beta Readers for comments and editing. Also send it to the great Jacob Bascle, who has designed the cover art for all the Siegel City stories thus far and, I hope, will be willing to do so for a very long time. The goal is to finish all edits and the cover and have this book available to you before the end of the year.
•Jump into the next fiction project. I don’t actually know what that will be yet. I may return to an incomplete project, of which I have several (including two more “World of Siegel City” novels). I may take a third attempt at the true sequel to OPH, 14 Days of Asphalt, which I’ve already done two versions of but I still feel goes in a strange (and not in a good way) direction about halfway through, and I can’t quite figure out a fix. I may start something else entirely, although at the moment I don’t have any brand new ideas fully formed enough to really start on. Whatever I ultimately decide to do, I’ll keep you posted.

That’s really all I’m willing to say about The Pyrite War just yet, but if you want another taste of the story, go to my Facebook Fan Page. I’ve posted costume designs for (almost) all of the heroes and villains who appear in the book… although at this stage of the game I won’t tell you much information about them. Gotta keep some secrets to myself, after all.

Keep reading…


Something to talk about…

I find myself in something of a blogging quandary. At the moment, I don’t really have much to talk about. That doesn’t mean nothing is going on, it’s just that the stuff that’s happening doesn’t exactly require a day-to-day update. With Story Structure done (for the time being), November is turning out to be pretty quiet for me on the pop culture front. I am writing, in fact I’m probably further along with this year’s National Novel Writing Month project than I’ve ever been before a week into November. But I’ve got nothing to say about that except, “I wrote a few more thousand words today. Coming along well.” Let’s face it, that’s not satisfying for either of us.

Could I write about the preponderance of Christmas decorations, commercials, and special episodes of Wheel of Fortune that are already being thrust upon the American citizen, even though it’s a whopping three weeks before Thanksgiving. But honestly, the only thing more ubiquitous than Christmas decorations at this early stage of the season is people complaining about Christmas decorations at this early stage of the season. I don’t want to be just another voice in the crowd here.

I suppose I could remind you that I’ve got two novels, one short story and one anthology for sale as e-Books on all devices, and that the novels are also both available in print, and that you can find the links to these reminders over on the righthand column of this very webpage, but I’ve said that sort of thing a lot lately. I could also humbly request that those of you who have partaken of my writing in any way could be of enormous assistance to me if you would be so good as to write reviews of the books on any of those websites where you purchased them, that doing so helps to raise the profile of the books when people are browsing sites like, and that could be very good for me. I could even mention that Blake M. Petit the Writer now as a Facebook Page devoted to his projects, and that’s where you could go to find previews, images of characters from the OPH universe who haven’t turned up yet, and chat with me and other fans of Siegel City. I could tell you that. But isn’t that kind of pedantic of me?

So sorry, friends. Guess there’ll be no blog post tonight.


NaNoWriMo: Meeting the Goal

Tonight, my work on The Pyrite War hit 50,404 words. The story isn’t finished, but the 50K word goal has been met, so once again, I can call myself a NaNoWriMo winner.

Now, in the past, I’ve had a tendency to hit the 50K mark, not be finished with the story, and then drift away from the tale and not finish, at least not for some time. I’m bound and determined not to let that happen this time. I’m going to keep working, daily, until this first draft is finished. If you’ll look at the chart here, you’ll see I’ve only skipped one day of writing all month, and since I gave that day to Erin, I think that was more than worth it.

But this book will be finished.


NaNoWriMo: The Updates Continue

I’m going to cross the 40,000 wordcount mark on my NaNoWriMo novel, The Pyrite War, tonight. The story is progressing nicely, and I’m only 10,000 away from the goal to “win” NaNoWriMo. I’ve no doubt that I’ll hit it before the November 30 deadline.


Looking at the story, I’ve got a hell of a lot more than 10,000 words left to write. There’s too much story left to tell, and what I’m writing keeps taking me in directions I didn’t expect. This is a good thing, believe it or not. 50,000 words is the bare minimum length a work of fiction can be and still be considered a novel, which is why it’s the benchmark the founders of NaNoWriMo chose. Most publishers, however, want their novels to clock in closer to the 90,000 word range, which is much more marketable. And the goal here, lest we forget, is to get these books into print. Reaching 40K and knowing I’ve still got a lot of work left to do is actually a very good thing.

That said, I don’t think there’s any chance of actually finishing the story in the next ten days. That’s okay. Because I’m making this pledge to you right now. I’m not going to stop when I hit 50k. I’m not going to stop when I hit November 30. I’m not going to stop until I finish the story. I’m going to maintain my daily wordcount goal (that’s a 1700-word minimum, for the record) every day until the first draft of The Pyrite War is finished. I’ll try to keep you guys updated.



NaNoWriMo: The Pyrite War Update

I know I haven’t told you guys too much about The Pyrite War, this year’s NaNoWriMo project. I do have a few things to share with you though. It is set in Siegel City, home of the characters of Other People’s Heroes, but set in the past — 1938 to be precise. And like happened when I was writing OPH in the first place, as I continue with this story I keep finding new and different characters, avenues, and ideas that I not only want to explore, but seem to fit wonderfully in the context of what I’ve already written. It’s a fantastic feeling.  I’m past the halfway point of NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 word goal, and I don’t think I’ve gotten to the halfway point of the actual story yet. And this is a very good thing.

Here’s a quick dialogue from a scene I wrote to day, just to give you a taste:


“Why is it a crime to be prepared?”

“It’s not a crime to be prepared for cutting your arm or for getting a snake bite in the middle of the woods. Being prepared for breaking into somebody else’s home? Samantha, that’s the definition of a crime!”

“You worry too much, Davey.” With a flick of her wrist, the door popped open and swung into the apartment. “You first.”

“You are certifiable.





A reminder

Hey, guys. I don’t really have the time for a serious blog post tonight, I’m afraid. I’ve got NaNoWriMo to occupy my time, both of my jobs (the one that pays and the one that doesn’t) seem to be in a state of chaos at the moment, and to be frank, I’m kind of getting exhausted. But I press on, because I take all of these responsibilities for which I receive no monetary remuneration very seriously. Because I’m an idiot.

So as I tap away on The Pyrite War tonight, may I direct your attention to Tales of the Curtain? My new online fiction experiment, which launched a few weeks ago and where I posted a new installment just earlier today? It’s hellacool and it’s waiting for your input.


NaNoWriMo Update: The Pyrite War begins

NaNoWriMo is continuing briskly. At the end of yesterday, Day 4, I had reached 10,012 words in my novel-in progress, far ahead of the 6668 I would need on that day to remain on-pace to finish by November 30. My basic philosophy is to set each day’s goal by adding 1700 words to wherever I ended the previous day, even if overshot the goal considerably, which I’ve done each day so far. The story is progressing nicely as well. The novel, with with working title The Pyrite War (tell me what you think about that) is a first for me in several respects. It’s my first time trying a period piece (set in the late 1930s) and my first time trying a murder mystery (although the identity of the killer will be revealed relatively early, with much of the story dedicated to proving his guilt and bringing him to justice). As I move along, I’m hitting a lot of the milestones that have characterized my most satisfying projects — I find myself introducing new concepts and characters and, as I do so, immediately thinking of ways they will fit in nicely with ideas I’ve already established, almost like they were waiting there for me to uncover them all along. I know that’s a cliche, but there’s a reason cliches become cliches — because there’s often a kernel of truth to them.

What’s really helping to propel me, giving me a chance to beef up my word count this year? Twitter. No, seriously. The Ultimate Distraction is actually serving to be a fantastic motivator, as I keep up with a lot of friends who are also participating in NaNoWriMo much easier than I could do on the always-slow official website. What’s more, NaNoWriMo officials host “Word Sprints” every day, posting a starting time and a time limit (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes) with the instructions to use that time to write as much as you can and then tweet your word count. I’ve participated in several of those, and each time, it’s worked for me. Some of the sprints even include optional “challenges” like “Send your characters on a road trip.” I can see those being helpful for people who are stuck on a plot, but I’ve decided not to take any of the challenges unless it happens to be something that actually fits into the context of the story.

So before I get into tonight’s writing, I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve got done so far. So submitted for your consideration, unedited and raw, is the first scene of The Pyrite War:

Chapter One

I knew that Gabriel’s death would leave me unhinged for a while – I was even prepared for it. Nobody could lead the life he had planned without dealing with harsh consequences. But I didn’t expect to find the entire world abruptly going mad after he passed. I was at school when I found out about his death, instructing my third period class in the small tragedies of Edgar Allen Poe while the tragedies of the real world brought a knock to my door.

“Mr. Lawrence,” I said, pointing to one of the more trustworthy students in the class. “Turn to page 78. ‘The Raven.’ Demonstrate for the class the proper way to scan this piece for rhyme scheme and meter while I speak to whomever feels the need to interrupt us.”

I was unaccustomed to interruptions in my classroom. I had my own policies and procedures in place, and the admiration of Kirkham Preparatory Academy was respectful of that. If someone was knocking on my door, I knew it had to be serious. I wouldn’t have even predicted just how serious. Mr. Thripshaw, the principal, was standing at the door as I cracked it open. His eyes were hollow, and the downturn of his lips betrayed a reluctance to deliver whatever information was important enough to disrupt my lesson.

“Mr. Ruston, could we have a work with you?”

“This really isn’t a good time, Mr. Thripsh–” I jarred myself to a halt when I realized he’d used a plural pronoun. “We?”

For the first time, I noticed the two uniformed police officers behind him, and I felt ice run through my heart. I think I knew, then, why they were at my school. There could only be one reason.

“I’ll stay with your class, Mr. Ruston,” Thripshaw said. “I think you need to accompany these gentlemen.”

“I suppose I should,” I said, my voice suddenly much softer. I stepped out of my classroom and felt all three pairs of eyes gazing at me, definite sympathy in them. Sympathy can be a comfort at times, but not when you don’t know for certain what has happened to deserve that feeling. “Officers, do I dare ask what this is all about?”

One of the police, the older of the two and obviously the one with more experience in such matters, stepped forward, his had clutched in his hands. “Sir, I’m afraid we need you to come with us. We need you to identify a body.”


NaNoWriMo 2010

660 words down. 49,340 to go.

For the past several years now, when November has struck, I’ve fired up the word processor and begun to slave away on a new project for National Novel Writing Month. This is the month when many of us — the few, the proud, the clinically insane — decide to devote the next 30 days of our lives to an attempt to write a 50,000-word (minimum) novel, complete with characters, plot, setting, an interesting predicament, and (gasp!) an ending. This is my sixth year attempting the challenge, and while I’ve finished it all five times I’ve done it before, not all of my books have had anything come of them. The first one became A Long November, my first audiobook. Number four turned into Cross-Purposes, a future audiobook, and last year’s project was Opening Night of the Dead, which I hope to fashion into the next book I want to submit to those old-fashioned publishers who still use paper. Of the other two books one of them (year two, The Book of Lisimba) is all but abandoned because it just never felt right to me, and the other (The Last Portal I still believe in quite strongly, but I’ve never gotten around to the revisions.

It seems a bit crazy, I guess, not only that I’m planning to spend all of November working on a single novel, but that I’m doing so when I’ve got so much else to do. And it is, in fact, a bit crazy. But it’s also something I look forward to every year. National Novel Writing Month is a challenge, not a contest. There’s no prize except for a rough draft that’s going to need a hell of a lot of work to be presentable and access to a banner image you can stamp on a website or a forum profile. But it’s the greatest motivator I’ve ever found, the sort of thing that people like me need to get our butts in gear and start pounding away at the keys and get something on the paper, because until you do that, nothing will ever come of those brilliant ideas floating around in your skull.

I always like to being my project each year at the stroke of midnight on Halloween, the official beginning of the month. This year it was a bit difficult, with Halloween on a Sunday and the knowledge that I had to wake up at 5 a.m. looming over me, but I managed to get in a 20-minute writing sprint for about 590 words before I went to bed. I added a paragraph during a slow moment in the day, boosting my count to 660. To stay on pace to finish by the end of the month, I have to turn out a minimum of 1667 words a day, so I’ve got a tad over 1000 to go. I think I’ll be able to handle that just fine. I’m excited about this year’s book. It’s my first effort at a murder mystery, it’s my first attempt at a period piece (it’s set in the 1930s) and it’s a story that actually lays out some of the foundation for the universe (if not the characters) that appears in Other People’s Heroes. The working title of the story is The Pyrite War. I usually don’t come up with titles until I’m deep into the work, or even finished with it, but I think I kind of like this one.

Okay, enough of me talking about writing. It’s time to actually start writing. I’ll keep you guys appraised.

And wish me luck.


NaNoWriMo 2009: Finish Line

Twenty-eight days and 62,731 words later, I’ve crossed the finish line, my friends. I’ve completed work on the first draft of Opening Night of the Dead, my 2009 National Novel Writing Month project, with three whole days to spare.

I finished the story last night at about 12:30 a.m. I actually hit the required 50k a few days ago, on November 24, but I wasn’t finished with the story yet so I barged forward. I actually had my two most productive days of writing after I hit the 50k mark, with a burst of creative energy on Wednesday the 25th, then a slower day for Thanksgiving. Then yesterday, with the ending in sight… I’ve never been surfing, but I imagine that last burst of a novel is similar to catching that big wave and just riding it as far as it will take you.

I’m especially proud because, although I’ve met the 50K word requirement every year that I’ve taken this challenge, this is the first time since 2005 (when the project was a book you may have heard of called A Long November) that I actually finished the story itself and didn’t just make the word count prior to the end of November. That’s a pretty big deal to me, I have to admit.

“So Blake,” you ask, “What do you do now?” You’d think I would take a break, wouldn’t you? Sure, maybe if you didn’t know me at all. I am putting aside Opening Night for a while, though. Every writer learns some things about his own technique and style after a while, and one of the things I know to be true is that I cannot begin editing a project as soon as I finish the first draft. It’s still too fresh, I’m still too in love with the little lines and the little beats that a more objective eye can tell need to be changed — or even removed — to make for a better story. I need at least a few months before I can even think of beginning the editing process.

So what will I be doing instead? Well, two projects are in my immediate future. First, I’ve got to write my annual Christmas Card short story. I’ve got the plot, even the title, all planned out. It’s just a matter of putting pen to paper on that one. The other thing I need to do is get heavy in the edits for Cross-Purposes, to get that book polished up and ready to record to present in the Evercast in early 2010. Cross-Purposes, I should remind you, is my 2008 NaNoWriMo project. So that should give you an idea of my usual editing cycle.

So one project ends, and it’s back to an older one. But hey, this is what I love to do. So wish me luck, friends. It’s back to the grind.

May 2023

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