The Novel Dare


The rules: Write a novel (60,000+ words) in 1 month
Starting date: November 1, 1997

Ron Collins | Kurt Roth | Diana Davenport | Linda Dunn


November 30, 1997


    AWESOME ACCOMPLISHMENT BY DIANA DAVENPORT!!! I'm in awe, Diana! Despite everything you've gone through this month, you managed to put down 60K. I can't even begin to put this down as eloquently as Ron did. Let me just say that it took guts to hang in there as long as you did and it took guts to recognize your limits and follow your heart, whatever else be damned. I am humbled by your effort. As Hannibal said, "We will either find a way, or we will make one." 60K or not, Diana, I was proud to Dare with you. Well fought, Diana.


    C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S, R-O-N!!!! A sweet finish at 94K+ words! Well done!

    I'm still puttering around with Heart, hoping that I might get another 2.9K written before midnight tonight. I wrote a whopping 1k over the past few days, adding another scene. I have two scenes I need to complete, so those might carry me to the 100K that I was shooting for. We'll see. We've been without power for part of the afternoon... nature's way of telling me my novel's done? The scenes are necessary, so we'll see.

    Footnote:You think you know my attempt to hit the 100K (which I just completed, talk about 11th hour writing), I discovered...another subplot! AARRGGHH!!! A character whose name was mentioned once or twice in Chapter 1 and then never again revealed to me tonight that he has HIS OWN STORY TO TELL. Oh, no you don't, buster! Okay, okay, I gave in. I had to. He really did have a cool story to tell and ... sigh ... I let him tell it. He pulled 3.5K to tell this story. Why he decided to wait till 11/30 to tell me this story I'll never know. So, now Arnec Trallisto's story is officially part of the book. I think Arnec has a short story in him, too....groan. Characters! Anyway, at about 11:06 pm tonight, I hit my 100K mark. This is the second longest story I've ever told.

November 28, 1997


    Mega-Congratulations to Diana for reaching the 55K-mark! Go, Diana, go!! You can make 60K! We're cheering you on, so go for it!

    And a big Way To Go to Ron Collins for kicking past the 85K-mark! Keep on shunking, Ron!

November 25, 1997


    Congratulations to Linda Dunn for completing her 86K+ novel!

    And Congratulations to Ron Collins for shunking out an incredible word count over the past three days! Woo-hoo!! Go, Ron go!!! Keep on shunking!

    Hugs and Congratulations to Diana Davenport for hanging in there in the face of incredible odds and putting down 53K despite it all!

    I find that tonight I sit here at the keyboard feeling lost and a little bummed. It's finished. Now, what....

    Wellllll.....I did want to add a few scenes to Heart, so I may add those in and see if I can touch 100K before midnight 12/1.

    Okay, I did want to do a Dare-in-Review:

    Best Moment:

    When I discovered a nasty secret one of my characters had been hiding through over half the book (which REALLY changed the book!)

    Worst Moment:

    When the Pentium devoured Chapter 35. *gasp!*

    Best Word Count:

    My first day at the keyboard, I shunked out 11,025 words

    Worst Word Count:

    1032 words ... and darn lucky to have gotten it

    Worst Distraction:

    The season premiere of X-Files (and that bottle of merlot my dad gave me)

    Best Distraction:

    David Duchovny (what can I say?)...and that bottle of merlot my dad gave me

    Hardest Moment in the Story:

    A scene where one of the main characters is attacked and left for dead

    Coolest Moment in the Story:

    When Kayne discovers that the raven that has saved him so many times is really Fiona

    Best Song to Dare by:

    Caribbean Blue by Enya

    Things I Learned During this Dare:

      • Never punt! Never.
      • High doses of diet coke and chocolate, when taken together, produce powerful hallucinations of a speculative nature.
      • Wendy's chicken wraps can be eaten at the keyboard.
      • If the story starts to bog down, make even more trouble for the characters.
      • Never underestimate the power of a dry erase white board near the desk.
      • Outlines make good paper airplanes
      • If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad...Sheryl Crow
        (taken completely out of context and applied universally to all Dare rough drafts.) ; )

    November 23, 1997: 10:34 pm -- 9877 words


      I sit here staring numbly at my keyboard. Holy Cow, it's done.... It's a quiet little victory against all the reasons I've had for not writing, all the distractions, and all the times my internal critic told me to stop writing. And it was a hard fought victory over the machine. At 7:10 pm tonight, with 2 chapters left to write, the computer ate chapter 35. After frantic searching and revival attempts, the chapter was lost forever. The coach shouted "punt!" and I said "never!" Remember the Flea-Flicker!

       33-spaghetti-hike! I had to write the chapter over from scratch, not a speck of notes to guide me. Not even a sentence. This made me even more determined that I would finish this book tonight. I rewrote the chapter from my swiss cheese memory and ended up with a page and a half longer chapter than I lost. That chapter will have to be redone (to recapture some things that were lost), but it's there and that's the important part. Then on to Chapters 36 and 37. Then typing the wonderful words 'The End.' Heart of the Labyrinth is complete! : ) For all the times I told myself I couldn't do this again or write two books in one year -- this one still found its way home.

      Thanks to everyone who offered their encouragement throughout this Dare. I greatly appreciated it. I will probably post a Dare-in-Review tomorrow, but for now, I feel like I just climbed Mt. Everest. Okay, maybe not Everest, maybe Space Mountain, but I'm still amazed that I put down 96k in 23 days. My record. So maybe it doesn't qualify me for the Guiness Book of World Records or even a sugar-free sucker from my dentist, but it's more than I thought I could write in a month's time. And ya know's not bad. I still like it after 37 chapters (38 if you count the eaten one ;>) In fact, I think it's pretty good for a rough draft. And now, the PNBs are setting in (postpartum novel blues)...

      Thanks so much to Ron, Diana, Kurt, and Linda for taking this journey with me. We're finding our way out of the forests and coming up with something that we can each be proud of. Thanks for helping me get through this thing.


    November 23, 1997: 5:59 pm -- 6204 words


      Woo-hoo!! Cracked the 90K barrier! I'm in Chapter 35 now with two maybe three chapters to go. The major plot points have been accomplished and only 6 Denouement points and this puppy is done. Not sure how long it'll take to finish these last 6 points though...perhaps Monday? I'm going to keep working though, see what happens.

    November 23, 1997: 10:30 am -- 1550 words


      A modest start for the day. Kayne is on his way to Mavena's keep and all #@$&% is about to break loose for him. But...gotta go out and buy my nephew's birthday present right now. I'm going to see if I can finish this book tonight. I've got about 7K left. We'll see what happens.

      A side note: The game Riven rocks!!! I played it last night. Way cool game.

      Back in a while...

    November 22, 1997: 9:46 pm -- 5060 words


      Two major plot points down and four to go. Kayne and Fiona are about ready to enter the climax of the book. Kayne is about to face Mavena for the last time. I think that I might be able to wrap this up in about 6 or 7K. Possibly by Monday night. We'll see. But that's it for me tonight.

    November 22, 1997: 8:40 pm -- 3894 words


      Moved the word count up a bit. Just struck 85K. Kayne and Fiona have left the labyrinth and are hurrying back to Corydon. There are 3 plot points left for Kayne to accomplish and 4 points of Denouement to wrap up. There are 2 plot points left for Fiona to accomplish and 3 points of Denouement to wrap up. Still some ground to cover, so the journey continues. I will probably write a bit more tonight. Get Kayne and Fiona into the next major plot point -- and maybe even finish it. The story's climax occurs when Kayne returns to Zefiryn, so I'd like to get him there tonight yet.

    November 22, 1997: 5:02 pm -- 2125 words


      A decent start for the day. I hope to get a lot more done tonight. So much to do. So little time. I look back to the February Dare and realize that I finished the book at this point...ain't gonna happen on this trip. :) Kayne and Fiona have lots left to do. I'm approaching the 84K mark though, so 90K isn't far off. I'm pretty sure this story will require I go past 90K, too. We'll see. Gonna eat supper and get back to it.

    November 21, 1997: 10:35 pm -- 1032 words


      Just too tired tonight to write. I got Kayne and Fiona to the heart of the labyrinth. They'll just have to talk amongst themselves for the evening.

      As I look back to February's Dare, I see that I'm 6k ahead of my total. This is good. But I see that I still have about 10k or so left of this story to tell. I should finish by the end of the month, but it just seems like I've got so far left to journey. There's SO much left of the plot to resolve. I fear I've got more like 20k left to write. I plan to devote a good deal of my day tomorrow on Heart. I know I've got a lot farther to go, but overall, I'm really happy with how the story has unfolded. At 81k, I'm pleased with what I've done.

      To be honest, I wasn't sure I could do this Dare again. And to do two in one year .... what? am I nuts? ... Probably, but without us, nuts, the sane people wouldn't look sane. And perhaps even some day, I'll actually sell a novel. Meanwhile, the rejections stream in and real life intrudes ... a typical day in a struggling writer's life. But, you'll find me at my keyboard tomorrow. Because, one of these days, this drought of sales will break and I'll sell something again. Guess I'll have another diet coke and ponder how Kayne will heal the Old Magic (and he's looking at me as if *I* know...he's the mage, darn it!)

      And I'm outta here....

    November 20, 1997: 11:29 pm -- 3871 words


      A tough night at the keyboard. Had to do a little more research and a lot of thinking about labyrinths. Combine that with a sick cat, company, and many interruptions and ... well, it was a fight to write. I put a lot of words down though. Kayne and Fiona are approaching the heart of the labyrinth and are being tested in a lot of ways (and so is the writer).

      A weary, hard-fought milestone of 80K tonight (too tired for a 'woo-hoo'). I think that I'm still about 10-12k from completion. At this point, I'm wondering if this puppy will hit 100K. Could be.

      And special thanks to Diana Davenport for once again exhibiting the "Dare Be Proud" attitude! Thanks for reminding me that disappointing myself matters and that no matter what this pile o' words turns out to be, I have still accomplished something here. You're amazing, Diana! Thanks.

      And that's it from me. G'night...

    November 19, 1997: 10:38 pm -- 3200 words


      Not quite as earth-shattering a night as last night, but a sound word count nonetheless. I managed to "shunk" down 3.2K. :) Fiona and Kayne are deep within the labyrinth tonight, journeying blindly through dark passageways in search of the heart of the Old Magic. And they're so caught up in each other that they've forgotten what's chasing them . . . and what will happen to Kayne if they're caught.

      And that's it for me tonight...

    November 18, 1997: 10:54 pm -- 4736 words


      Woo-hoo! I hit 73k tonight! The storyline was coming fast and furious after the first 1500 words...I couldn't type fast enough to get it all down. Overall, an awesome night at the keyboard. Kayne went to gather rune stones and encountered Mavena, who's been shadowing him since he left Zefiryn. Kayne didn't know she had marked him with a dark rune-weave that allowed her to find him easily. Fiona realized that Mavena desperately wants to take Kayne's magelight from him, but to do that, she needs Kayne alive. She released two gargoyles to bring Kayne back to Zefiryn, but Kayne and Fiona ran. They hurried back to the Fellowship where they entered the Labyrinth of Soul Paths...argh!! There's so much more to tell, but my fingers can't translate it all. I've just started Chapter 28 and I'm about 8-10k from the end. It's coming fast. And I've got several subplots and the main subplot to tie up, so there's still lots left to do. And I must say, some sparks flew between Fiona and Kayne. : )

      Ahhhh, gotta love that writer's buzz. And I'm outta here...

    November 17, 1997: 11:20 pm -- 4634 words


      Had a good night tonight. I really propelled the plot forward, too. (finally!)Kayne and Fiona have now embarked on the final leg of the story. I anticipate this book going another 15-20k before it's finished. I abandoned my outline some time ago and use it occasionally to make sure I haven't deviated into a black hole or something. I feel like I need to expand a few things that I wrote tonight, explain some things in greater detail. And I'm outta here...

    November 16, 1997: 10:52 pm -- 1700 words


      I managed to put down about 1200 words after Fishers 5. Kayne has a brief meeting with his father, whom Kayne hasn't seen in 7 years. And Fiona pieces together who is poisoning the Sovereign's magelight -- and why.

    November 16, 1997: 10:03 am -- 500 words


      It's not a lot, but it's a bit of a start for the day. I hope I have time to write something after Fishers 5 today, but in case I don't, I won't have a zero word count.

    November 15, 1997: 11:58 pm -- 1842 words


      So much to do today...I had to fight hard to get the above word count. No real story movement tonight. Fiona is attempting to understand the nature of the Sovereign's illness and has discovered that the illness is magical. It has infected the Sovereign's magelight -- which, in turn, infects the heart of the Old Magic. If the Old Magic dies, its protection of Corydon will be gone. That will leave Corydon defenseless against magical attack ... like those practiced by the sorceress Mavena in nearby Zefiryn, which is dangerously close to Corydon. Tomorrow night, Kayne and Fiona's mentor, Hadrea, will discover the dark rune-weave responsible for the Sovereign's illness. Kayne will reveal the source of the rune-weave: Mavena. This is a dark moment in the story. Very soon comes the story's darkest moment.

      Tomorrow is writers group. I pray for mercy. Or enough diet coke to keep me awake for the drive. I'm spent. Goodnight...

    November 14, 1997: 11:35 pm -- 3016 words


      Woo-hoo!! I hit 60,000 words tonight! Heart of the Labyrinth is officially a novel!
      And there's so much left to tell in this my utter amazement. Shortly, Kayne will learn what was really happening that night near Corydon's border and the true nature of the Sovereign's illness. He'll discover the dark-rune weave that has caused the Sovereign's illness. It's an all-too familiar pattern to him. He learns that he must enter the heart of the labyrinth of Soul Paths and heal the Old Magic. By bringing back a spark of healed Old Magic, he can heal the Sovereign's magelight. Of course, Fiona refuses to let him go alone. Kayne forbids it, as does Fiona's mentor. But Fiona does what she must and comes to Kayne as a raven. Believing the raven is his power animal, Kayne keeps the raven with him. Fiona knows that without help, Kayne will get himself killed.

    November 13, 1997: 10:51 pm -- 2000 words


      I'm pleased with my output tonight. I got home frightfully late from work tonight (after spending nearly the entire day and into the evening reinstalling TCP/IP and the OS on one computer -- over and over). I think Kayne could have done without this burst of productivity. He currently sits in a cold dungeon awaiting the Sovereign to call him to Court. I hope to reach 60K by tomorrow night. Guess it depends on what other computers decide to break tomorrow. sigh.

    November 12, 1997: 10:04 pm -- 1700 words


      Another modest production day, but it's been an exhausting week. I feel pretty fortunate to have turned out anything at all tonight. Kayne has just departed, without his mentor's knowledge, for Alcinae (the city) to face his accuser at Court. Guilt gnaws at him, knowing that Fiona was summoned to Court because she helped him, so he must face Lord Dulevar in order to clear Fiona of any wrongdoing. In Alcinae, the Sovereign's illness worsens and none of Corydon's healers can cure her. Fiona and her mentor have told the Sovereign of Kayne's extraordinary mage gift. The Sovereign hopes his gift can save her.

    November 11, 1997: 10:32 pm -- 1505 words


      Just too tired and distracted to write much tonight. I need to take a look at where I am in the storyline tomorrow night and do a bit of regrouping after last night's discoveries. No such luck tonight, but hey, you'll have that. But I'm enjoying Enya's new CD, Paint the Sky with Stars. What a great title!

    November 10, 1997: 10:27 pm -- 1833 words


      A modest word count for tonight, but let's face it, after this weekend's word run, I'm tired! BUT...I learned A TON of stuff about my characters and their world/their history in that 1.8k. I learned more about the heart of the Labyrinth and the Sovereign. More about the conflict between her and the antagonist. And just what Lord Dulevar was doing on that road the night that his carriage was ambushed and his wife and son became missing presumed dead -- and Kayne is blamed. At last, a political plot at the Sovereign's Court became clear to me tonight. Fiona will discover part of it shortly. And I learned the bigger picture "What's really at stake here." I'm totally thrilled with the answers this brief run has given me. In fact, I'm a little shocked by the turn of events. You think you know a character and they turn out to be a little backstabber. *wink* Tonight, a character I considered a victim has stepped out of the shadows to become a minor villain. Yes!

      Congratulations to all the darers for their excellent progress this past week! Diana, you're doing great! I like your characters (Dario sounds really cool, by the way!) and think you're doing a terrific job! Ron, you're really kicking out the words! Anybody who can write fiction at 4:30 am impresses the heck out of me -- especially good, moving fiction like Ron writes. And Linda, 60K in 9 days...whoa! Amazing!

      And I'm outta here!

    November 9, 1997: 10:41 pm -- 10033 words


      Started Chapter 20 tonight. I might write some more. Depends on whether I feel like it or not.....I decided to push the story a little further. Kayne has just gone against the healer's advice and gone on his own Soul Walk. He has learned a few things about his healing gift. Fiona has been summoned to Court for harboring a traitor and murderer (and to decide the fate of her decree). While there, she uncovers the true source of the Sovereign's illness. The Sovereign orders Kayne to be brought to Court as soon as he's able to travel. I got Kayne safely back from his Soul Walk and Fiona and Mentor are tucked away with a bundle of Court records. That should keep them all busy until tomorrow. This story has stayed true to its events, but not to my outline. So, I've basically ignored the outline and am using it more as a frame of reference. This story is truly odd. Or perhaps it's just the writer. I'm literally writing it off the cuff now. At times, that's freeing and other times, it's scary to trust that your stream of ideas is leading you home or astray. Guess I'll find out when I reach the end of the book.

    November 8, 1997: 11:54 pm -- 7875 words


      Hit the big 40K tonight.

    November 7, 1997: 11:45 pm -- 4100 words

    November 6, 1997: 10:03 pm -- 2410 words


      Tonight, Chapter 13 concluded with poor Kayne ambushed by his former mercenary buddies as a payback from his ex-employer, Mavena. Beaten badly and suffering from a knife wound, Kayne lies near death in the wilds. Not exactly a good place to end tonight, but I'm exhausted and my right shoulder and hand are in bad shape. The good news is that the problem I'm suffering from in my shoulder/arm is primarily overworked/ stressed muscles. (gee, I don't see how. I couldn't possibly have overworked the muscles or anything. *grin*) Too much heavy lifting at work. I've been really struggling this week to type, but I feel pretty fortunate to have maintained a good, steady output, better than I'd expected. I'm approaching 30K and plan to reach that goal Friday night. I'm a little disheartened because I'm 2k behind where I was on the last dare. But enough of my whining! Until tomorrow night.

    November 5, 1997: 10:26 pm -- 2280 words


      Tonight, Kayne and Fiona's relationship deepened and a small measure of trust developed between them. Kayne's rough chapter is the next one. It has moved itself to Chapter 12. I am enjoying these two characters and I can't wait until they become friends who trust each other with their lives. In Chapter 12, Kayne's life is nearly snuffed out. In Chapter 13, Fiona's situation with lord Anwir hits home painfully when Anwir demands she fulfill the decree.

      Even though the story is dodging my outline right and left, my vision of the story is on target. I'm pleased with how things have unfolded and I hope I have enough story to fill 80k. I don't know if there's enough here for 90k. At this point, I think that 82k will tell this tale. On the whole, I like the story I'm telling. The first few days, I thought, "what have I done? why did I pick this thing to write about?" I know the story now, something I didn't really know when I started. In contrast to the last dare, I don't feel compelled to write this story, but I'm enjoying it more and more with each chapter. EDP just burned through my veins until I told it. Now that Fiona and Kayne have come together (and are about to join forces), I feel more and more moved to sit down and write more. But not tonight. : )

      I want to thank Kurt Roth for carrying the ball to the one yard line. It took a lot of guts to take on this dare, Kurt, knowing that you had so much happening. But hey, a paying writer's gig should take precedence. I applaud you on a valiant effort, Shmoelad. Well done. And good luck with the TV writing. Sounds awesome!

    November 4, 1997: 10:22 pm -- 2115 words


      Not much plot movement tonight. I needed to add a few more scenes to Chapter 9 before I could finish Chapter 10. A few things have to be set in motion before I could proceed. Kayne and Fiona are about to meet for the second time. He is about to journey to the Fellowship to speak with her about the message she was to deliver. Then, poor Kayne has a rough Chapter 11 coming up. The bad guy (gal?) finally exacts vengeance on Kayne for leaving her employ. He's set upon by the mercenaries he once worked with and left for dead in the forest. Only Fiona can help him.

    November 3, 1997: 11:08 pm -- 3025 words


      Kayne risked his destiny tonight to reach the Forest of Whispers in order to find out the whereabouts of Lady Dulevar. He didn't hear what he wanted to hear, but he's decided to risk getting caught to talk to a young woman of the Fellowship (Fiona) who promised to deliver a message for him. Fiona has discovered through her Soul Walk that she has some sort of tie to the traitor, Kayne Brage. Despite the Wanted posters and the stories, something makes her believe in him. She returns from her Soul Walk excited that she does indeed possess mage gifts, but her revelation is tempered by the news that the Sovereign is gravely ill and seeking mage healing of the highest order. Fiona fears what may happen to Corydon if the Sovereign dies and her chosen successor (Lady Dulevar's son) is missing.

      And I'm outta here!

    November 2, 1997: 10:31 pm -- 7180 words


      Added a few more words to the total after X-Files ...

      I've got my characters in terrible trouble again. Kayne has narrowly escaped a lynch mob and Fiona has undertaken a Soul Walk to find her path and awaken her magical talents. Her ability to calm animals has already been tested. Not sure how much or if I'll write anymore tonight, but there's this one scene that I'm dying to write....I may write more. Gotta get back to Fiona so she can finish her Soul Walk.

    November 2, 1997: 2:57 pm -- 2170 words


      A modest start for the day, but I plan to write more. Too bad the X-Files are on tonight. Gotta watch the premiere. Folks, please make sure you visit Kurt Roth's Dare page. Very inspiring words there from Schmoelad. Kurt, I'm very impressed with your "one for the gipper" approach to the dare. Well done! Do that novella. Go team! Fire up! Win! And Diana, you're doing such an excellent job! You go, girl! You're a credit to the Dare. And big congrats to Ron for a well-executed day one of the Dare! Not only does this man turn in an outline and fantastic word count, but he presents with an awesome chart to boot. You're amazing, Ron. And a huge word count from Linda. Everyone's doing a great job! Keep going folks. Only 29 more days left. *snicker*

      I've learned some of the subtleties with this book and am pleasantly surprised by them. I've even learned some things about my characters that I didn't know until today. Themes about death and finding one's path have emerged. I'm not sure how they will unfold, but I'm pleasantly surprised. And I'm even more pleasantly surprised by the chemistry between Kayne and Fiona. Hope this continues. Anyway, back to Heart of the Labyrinth I go with Enya and Loreena in the CD player.

    November 1, 1997: 10:45 pm -- 11,025 words plus 3-page outline


      Okay. I have pushed, cajoled, and eaten chocolate, managing to make this word count. (I think I pulled a brain muscle) I'm completely wiped. This is a record word count for me. I've been at this keyboard most of the day and most of the night. I have reached Chapter 6 (chapters are all short and will require expansion later; I'm certain of it) and already, my outline has betrayed me. I think I'm back on track, but there may be 30 chapters instead of 28. Kayne and Fiona have had their first meeting and both are up to their eyeballs in trouble. Kayne faces treason and murder charges -- and a rope -- and Fiona faces a lifetime of servitude to a cruel lord if she doesn't pass the Fellowship's test. The recurring question is, of course, how in the HECK am I gonna get them out of trouble? Tonight's answer -- don't know. That's all for me tonight, folks.

    November 1, 1997: 1:15 pm -- 3150 words plus 3-page outline


      Things are a little better, but I'm still not happy with my performance. Haven't checked on the others. I'm sure they're doing much better than I am. I'm still working though.

    November 1, 1997: 3:42 am -- 1500 words plus 3-page outline


      The Dare didn't get off to a stellar start. I went through the "Plot a Novel in One Hour," filling out the questions. Next, I constructed my chapter-by-chapter outline. I expect to have 28 chapters by the end. I've been up almost 24 hours now, so I think it's time to get some sleep. I am afraid to look at what I wrote. Something doesn't feel right with what I've done so far, but a lot of that may be lack of sleep. I hope to increase this word count later today.

      Thanks to Debbie for her encouraging note. And Vera's wonderful message! Pigasus sits by my keyboard ready to encourage me, Vera. Thanks again. :)

      In August, Ron Collins and I challenged each other to another Novel Dare. So here we are again . . . daring to write a second novel before 1997 slips away. And joining us this trip are writers Kurt Roth, Diana Davenport, and Linda Dunn. All of us are coming into this dare with ambitious goals and high word count hopes. And a passion to write a new novel.


        The rules: Write a novel (60,000+ words) in one month.
        Starting date: November 1, 1997.

      As I did last time, 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.


    October 30, 1997

      I have located the "Plot a novel in an hour" article (making sure it's on my new computer) and am set to begin the official "chapter-by-chapter" outlining phase at 12:00 am November 1st. I know who my characters are and where they're going to end up. Just gotta deal with those "setup" and "middle" things. ;) As per Dare rules, I haven't written anything yet nor have I done an outline. That would take all the fun out of it. Besides, I kind of like the challenge of doing all the outlining on the first day. I did write a high concept (see below) which I didn't do last time, but last time, I had a novelet to work from. This time, I have nuthin'. :) Gotta get more diet coke and locate my Sheryl Crow CD. (Last Dare began with Alanis Morissette.) I'm starting to feel quite a bit nervous about the whole thing.

    October 29, 1997

      Well, it's official...I've created a directory on the hard drive for the new novel-to-be. A project is always official when a directory is created for it. *grin*

      Guess I'd better fasten my seatbelt. This is gonna be one fast, bumpy ride. I have thought a lot about how the book will open and have decided upon inciting incidents. My two main characters are Kayne and Fiona. Kayne begins the book as a mercenary, but he quickly discovers that he doesn't have the stomach for it, especially when Wanted Posters appear in his home village, putting a price on his head. He decides to quit the mercenary trade and clear his name, but it's a little difficult to quit the employ of a sorceress. And the last thing this ex-mercenary expects is the realization that he possesses healing fire.

      Fiona begins the book being stuck with an arranged marriage decree to a powerful Corydon lord. She has to figure out a way to cancel this unwanted relationship. Fiona postpones the wedding by pursuing her magical abilities at the Fellowship while Lord Anwir pursues his "right by decree." Her strength resides in rare, wild animal magic -- a magic that makes the Sovereign of Corydon very nervous (because it uses a lost part of the Old Magic not seen in a long time). If Fiona can find her path as a mage, then she can delay the decree indefinitely, but is Anwir's political power stronger than her magical power? Fiona is willing to take the risk.

      Here is the "official" high concept of Heart of the Labyrinth:

        A sorceress covets the power controlled by her former ally-now-rival and plots to take it -- or destroy it. A mercenary-turned-healer and a novice mage practicing rare animal magic join forces to fight a magical sickness killing their Sovereign and destroying the Old Magic with dark rune sorcery. Only by healing the Old Magic's Forgotten Fire in the heart of the labyrinth and carrying back a renewed spark to their dying Sovereign, can healer and mage protect their homeland.

      This may change a bazillion times throughout the course of the story, but for now...this be it.

    October 29, 1997

        4 days until the Dare starts!


    • Am I nervous? Nah, not me. *shiver* *shiver* I need to spend some time on thoughts about the chapter-by-chapter progression of Heart of the Labyrinth. I can't believe the Dare's almost here.....

    October 23, 1997

        T minus 9 days til the Dare starts.

    • I have worked out what I believe will be the ending to Heart of the Labyrinth. Just some thoughts that have come together, but I think it'll be cool. :) I am starting to get even more excited about the book.

    September 30, 1997

      I developed my cast of characters for the book and I did some serious analysis on what each character's situation/problem/solution would be...and how each of those intertwines with the main plotline. I have 3 pages of charts now, outlining relationships, abilities, physical characteristics, etc. as well as plot details (resolutions, etc). I also spent quite a bit of time looking at what the characters wanted out of life. I also tried to pay careful attention to where each character's story starts (their inciting incidents). I think I have the main plot nailed down now and am officially excited about the story. :)

    September 28, 1997

      I did some planning today, working out tangles of backstory and character goals. It was fun to play around with the ideas, but plot is still a problem. I need to spend a lot more time thinking about plot for this untitled novel. I have decided that I'm going to write a traditional fantasy. Not even an inkling of a title yet though. Update:Tentative working title is now: Heart of the Labyrinth. I expect this to change, but it gives me a tag to use when I talk about it. Now, I know what problem both protagonists will face. I feel really shaky about this whole thing, to be honest. But the characters are interesting to me. Maybe it'll work? I may play around with the other SF idea I have and then see which one has the strongest plot.