The Novel Dare


In January, fellow writer Ron Collins and I challenged each other to a Novel Dare. The rules: plot and write a novel (60,000+ words) in one month. Starting date: February 1, 1997. We're both pretty psyched for the Dare. I'll be posting my word count here, so if you're interested in my progress, check back. Below, you'll find my daily word totals. Above, you'll find the total word count to date.
If you're interested in Ron's progress, link to
Ron Collin's Novel Dare.
Feb 27, 1997



B-I-G C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S, R-O-N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I must say, this whole thing has been a great time! Thanks to Ron for doing the dare and thanks to his wife, Lisa for making the dare happen!

So, when's the next dare scheduled?

Feb 23, 1997


Update: Ron Collins has hit the 60,000-word mark!!! Congratulations, Ron! He's about 5k from the book's end, so more good news! Go, Ron, go!!

I've spent this day going back over the chapters, fixing things here and there, checking for coherency. I'll probably continue to do that over the next week.

Feb 22, 1997 -- 11:59 pm -- 9800 words (85,375 words)



I can't believe it. Frankly, I'm stunned and numb. Final word count is 85,375 words. There's going to be A LOT OF WORK left to do, but I now have a new novel manuscript in my possession. wow.........

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who's sent me notes of encouragement! It was greatly appreciated, believe me! That was something I hadn't expected, so it was a nice surprise.

I'm starting Ch. 36, the final chapter. It's the final wrap up. 2k to 3k left and the novel is done.

The chapter addition problem has been handled. I've just begun the last chapter. I might break this last chapter into two chapters though. The end is in sight! And I'm going for it. Stay tuned. :>

Last minute chapter addition. Argh! Gotta add one more chapter. So, I finished Ch. 34. Still 2 chapters away from the end. Back to the book!

I've completed Ch. 32 and after a bit of stalling, I began Ch. 33. It was a painful chapter for me to write, but I bit my lip and plowed through. I'm not completely satisfied with Ch. 33, but I'll deal with that later. Folks, I'm 2 chapters from the end. I think that this book will wrap up at 85,000 words. I'm going to push through these last two chapters. More to follow.

Feb 21, 1997 -- 5475 words (75,575 words)


A good night overall. I'm still feeling shaky about the final scenes, but they're coming up fast. I finished Chapters 30 and 31 tonight. Ready for Chapter 32 now. Wow, I'm 4 chapters from the end. Hard to believe. I am approaching a scene that I don't want to write. In Chapter 33, one of my favorite characters in the manuscript will make his exit. I'm dreading that. But in Ch. 34, I'm bringing two characters back together, so it will be an enjoyable reunion. Glad that chapter follows 33. :> At any rate, the end of the book is fast-approaching.

Feb 20, 1997 -- 3575 words (70,100 words)


I'm now ready to start Ch. 30. I sure hope the ending will work. At this point, I'm still feeling very uncertain. We'll see what happens (she says with a sigh). This one's getting harder and harder as I approach the end. There are 35 chapters in all. I think another 14k-15k will finish this book. I hope to finish the whole thing Sunday.

Feb 19, 1997 -- 2200 words (66,525 words)


More struggles tonight. I'm about to enter into the plot's final sequence of events. Still thinking that the story will be 90k, but I'm worried now that it will be 90k worth of drivel.

Feb 18, 1997 -- 2665 words (64,325 words)


Tonight was a struggle. I'm stricken with the "my novel is stupid" syndrome. Took some major effort to put anything down on the screen.

Feb 17, 1997 -- 1640 words (61,660 words)


A short night writing tonight. Had dinner with my Dad and helped him at the restaurant. I did manage to get some writing in though.

Feb 16, 1997 -- 4505 words (60,020 words)


I'm there!! 60,020 words as of tonight! :> :>

The novel isn't finished yet, but I feel pretty darned good that I hit the 60k mark. I'm confident that I can wrap the book up by the 28th. That's going to mean about 8-10 chapters (about 20-30k). Still, hitting that 60k mark after 16 days of writing is a good feeling. I can't let up on my pace though or I won't finish by the 28th and that's part of this dare too. Lots more to do. My characters are still in deep debris. I've got to get them into even more peril and resolve their situations.

Feb 15, 1997 -- 6570 words (55,515 words)

A little better day at the keyboard. I hope to get a lot more written today, but I wanted to record the word count because I'm over now over the 50,000-word mark. I am 7,650 words shy of reaching our 60,000-word mark. This is good BUT...I think the novel will run quite a bit past 60k. Back to work! (I hope to turn out another 2-3k before the night is over.)

Yes, a much better night at the keyboard. I am now 4330 words shy of our 60,000-word goal...but this novel is far from being finished.

Feb 14, 1997 -- 1600 words (48,945 words)

All in all, a disappointing night in the Dare. The week was long and I kept falling asleep at the keyboard... so hopefully I will write more tonight. I'm even at the keyboard this morning to play catchup. I had hoped to reach 50,000 words yesterday, but missed it by a little over 1000 words.

Feb 13, 1997 -- 3130 words (47,345 words)


A little better word count tonight. I nearly fell asleep twice at the keyboard though. I hope what I've written is coherent. eep! I'm about 2650 words shy of my goal of 50,000 words by Friday. This book is about 12,650 shy of the 60,000-word won't be finished at 60,000. I'm thinking that it'll have to be at least 90,000 words to finish my outline. I'm currently in Chap. 22 (about to finish it) and there are about a dozen chapters to come.

Things are about to get really weird for my protagonist. His reality is about shift.

Feb 12, 1997 -- 1100 words (44,215 words)


A disappointing night for writing. My Uncle and Aunt came up for a visit, so I had a great time talking with them...but the downside is that I didn't get hardly any writing done tonight. I managed to steal an hour and squeak out 1100 words though. At least I wrote something. :>

Feb 11, 1997 -- 2050 words (43,115 words)


Didn't get a lot done tonight. Had trauma in my Oranda tank that had to be dealt with. One of my Oranda's got caught in a tank decoration and had to be extricated by the fish jaws of life (i.e. a hammer). I had to break the ornament with a hammer while keeping the fish submerged. Sigh. The fish was was substantially injured from fighting against the ornament (not the hammer), so I'm not sure she'll pull through. I've had her for a year. Hope she pulls through.

Anyway, a quiet chapter in the plot. I found that I had to back to my outline and redo stuff. One of my characters has decided that he's not going to die as I'm having to rewrite that part of my outline. And Diana has decided that she's not going to cooperate with her part either, so she's getting her way too. More outline changes.

Feb 10, 1997 -- 3550 words (41,065 words)


A good night. Got my protagonist to the alien world and created all kinds of trouble for everybody in the story. :> I was worried that I had hit a chuck hole last night, but I wrote through it tonight. I just checked my total word count ... 41,065 words ... I'm averaging about 4100 words a day. Yikes! Not sure I can keep this up.

Feb 9, 1997 -- 2015 words (37,515 words)


Not much plot advancement tonight. Spent most of the day with Fishers 5 and only ended up with a couple of hours to write tonight. I'm nearing the 40,000-word mark though. I should reach that tomorrow evening. I hope this thing can hang together to its conclusion.

Feb 8, 1997 -- 3500 words (35,500 words)


I'm having difficulty writing due to a raging sinus infection muddying my brain, but I managed to get some work done. I'm hoping to get some more words done today. I skipped a chapter, hoping my brain would clear enough to write it. I don't want to move on until I complete it. It's a short flashback chapter that needs to be written. (Time Passes) I have now completed the errant Chapter 15. It's rough and needs more work, but the skeleton is there. I'm now ready for Chapter 17.

I'm feeling better about what I wrote last night and have decided I'm comfortable with it.

Ron's moving at a steady clip! His book sounds very intriguing with all its complexities. Can't wait to hear more about it. It seems to be coming together very well and will no doubt exceed our 60,000 word goal. Keep plugging, Ron! Our first week is past us.

Feb 7, 1997 -- 1610 words (32,000 words)


Didn't get much done in the way of plot advancement tonight. Not sure how I feel about what I wrote tonight either. It amounted to two scenes. The second feels weird. Guess I'll just wait and see what happens later in the story. For now, it's there, but this scene may not stay.

Feb 6, 1997 -- 5385 words (30,390 words)


Had a good night. Things flowed pretty smoothly. The exciting part is that I'm over halfway there! Yay!! The novel will most likely be closer to 80,000 words than 60,000, but at this point I'm shooting for 60,000 words.

The story is a military SF story that's strongly character-based and involves genetics, aliens and a social structure that has become intolerable to a young woman and her brother who fight to end a war and save an idealistic, socially outcast clone (who's only desire is to live) from perishing at the Front. So far, I'm happy with it. I know it needs a lot of work, but it's coming together well. There are two POV characters (Peter Mitchell and Diana Temple) as well as a few flashback chapters told in 3rd person present from Peter's POV. So far, these flashback chapters have been the most difficult to write (on an emotional level).

Feb. 5, 1997 -- 2520 words (25,002 words)


Output was scarce tonight, but I'm not worried. I set my goal of trying to write at least 2000 words a night. I'll make it. I'm nearly halfway to my goal of 60,000 words! I think this novel will be longer that 60,000 words and that's fine.

It's difficult to write a lot through the week. I got home later from work tonight than normal . . . and a lot more tired than normal. My goal is to be past 30,000 words by the weekend.

Ron's still doing great!

Feb. 4, 1997 -- 4000 words (22,485 words)


My word count is a little improved tonight, but it was a struggle. I'm fast approaching the middle of the novel...ick. I am confident that my plot will survive though. Fingers crossed at least. I started Chapter 12 and things are about to begin heating up. Wish I could make my chapters longer. I know I will have go back and flesh out descriptions and set my scenes A LOT better than I have at this stage. Glad this is only a first draft. *grin*

Feb. 3, 1997 -- 3210 words (18,485 words)


Word count fell off sharply tonight. I'm approaching a weird point in the plot, one I hope I can get past. I don't want to stall this early. eep! My biggest writing problem concerns story middles. I'm hoping I can write myself through the approaching middle. I have 3 main characters with a couple of supporting characters. So far, the three characters are equally sharing the spotlight. I've got some ideas on where to go next with the approaching middle. The hard part is knowing which character to use where.

Ron's doing great! Our word counts are pretty close. He's got a very impressive Dare page complete with sharp graphics and a spiffy chart. He's about a quarter of the way through his book now. Pretty impressive after 3 days of work. Go, Ron, go!

Feb. 2, 1997 -- 8875 words (15,275 words)


I've completed Chapter 7 and I'm ready to start Chapter 8. Not sure how many chapters there will be at this point. Things are going fairly well. I'm hoping I don't stall.

Feb. 1, 1997 -- 6400 words (plus an outline)


I am using the title, Experiencing Deep Purple for the novel. It was the title of the novelette upon which the novel is based. Originally, I felt that the title only fit the confines of the novelette, but after completing an outline and exploring some themes, I think EDP will work fine for the manuscript. A long way to go, but I think I can do it.