“5,000 Words Per Hour” by Chris Fox Review

Disclaimer: I read the ebook version of this book.

5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting concept for writing and adding to one’s writing, and something I wouldn’t mind attempting. There is heavy emphasis on using an app the author created to make this plan work, but that app is only available to iPhone and Mac users (Apple products) rather than Android and Windows users, which is kind of depressing, but he did provide a spreadsheet that can follow the same process, so it’s not as bad as it could be.

Second Read-Through
I enjoyed this book a little more this time around. I think the only reason I dislike it actually are mentioned in my original review above.

Sometimes, re-reading a book can be a good thing. Both times I read straight through without doing the exercises laid out in the book, but it doesn’t matter if you do them at the end of the book or as you read along. The point is to do them. I don’t remember doing all of them the first time I read this book, but I did see the value in most of them. This time, I completed each of the exercises and I found more value in the book overall. It also helps that I’ve started tracking my word counts in more months than just NaNo months, so I’ve seen the results of what Fox discusses in this book and how I’ve improved over time.

View all my reviews

Writing Projects in 2018

0000HelloDragonlings!

In my last Shifters & Mages update, I mentioned that I didn’t want to publish the Shifters & Mages series until I was sure it was nearly ready to go, and I don’t, but one of the major hang-ups with that series is the fact that I don’t have covers for it currently.

There are other stories I’ve been working with off and on that do have covers though, and I think it’s high time to start working on them more seriously. So while my main focus will be on re-writes and edits for the Shifters & Mages series, I also want to work on other projects as well in 2018.

Weres Trilogy

Come the end of January, I’ll have the third cover for this series. I currently have two, neither of which I’m revealing… yet. These novels are outlined, and the first draft of the second one (the one I don’t have a cover for; go figure) is written – only because that was the idea that smacked me in the face during NaNoWriMo and demanded it be written.

Packless
Broken Laws
Wereling

Surrender

This is a contemporary romance I purchased covers for a couple years ago, but never finished writing. The first draft of the first book is written, but it needs a complete re-write. Then the rest of the series (outlined) needs to be written.

Hold Me Now
Leave Me Never
Say You’ll Stay
With Me Forever

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll publish them under the name “Skye Hegyes” or “S.D. Hegyes”. The paranormal romances will be under the name S.D. Hegyes, but I don’t know if I want both genres published under the same name or not. What do you think?

Stand Alones and Anthologies

Endless Starry Nights
A contemporary romance I already have a cover for. The first draft is written, but it needs a heavy re-write.

Moon Blessed
An LGBT anthology I have a cover for. This will have four short stories revolving around the moon and includes the short story, “Changeling”, which was originally published in the anthology Myths Untold: Faery.

Fur, Teeth, & Claws
I bought this cover on a whim, but I don’t really have a story idea for it. There’s a couple that could work for it, but I haven’t decided yet. Until I do, this one is on the back burner. At the time of purchase, I had an exact book in mind, but that project has since fallen apart as the research and the idea itself weren’t meshing. I may, in the future, pick a couple of random ideas and create a poll and let my fans decide what story I should write for this cover.

Writing Schedule

This is the hardest thing for me to do because of how busy my life seems to stay. I seem to do really good some months and others I do next-to-no writing. November and December are proof of that. I wrote 90K words in November and I haven’t written even half that in December.

My main focus will be the Shifters & Mages series because I know I want to get those published in 2018, but I’d also like to get a good chunk of work done (if not all of it done) on the Weres Trilogy since I’ll have covers completed for them. After that, I want to go ahead and try to finish the rest of the books I have covers for (except maybe Fur, Teeth, & Claws since I don’t have a set idea for it yet). You know… So I can start buying more covers for other ideas.

I plan on writing at least 1K a day Monday through Friday. I want to start treating it like a real job. If I write more, especially now that I have Dragon Naturally Speaking up and running well again (Yay! I fixed it!), then great, but I’ll be happy if I can get 1K in per day during the workweek. Yes, even holidays. (My five-year anniversary is on a Thursday. Justin can play video games while I write.)

This is not only about making it a habit, but turning my writing into a career, and it’s time for me to get serious about that. Don’t you think?

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Long Books Or Short Books?

0000HelloDragonlings!

Do you like short books or long books? Do you want something like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, or do you want Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin?

Me? I actually prefer shorter books. And stand alone novels. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s what I like – a mouthful of story I can read in a short period of time. I think that’s why I like short stories so much.

I’m also discovering that’s what I like to write as well. I am looking over the plots of several “novels” I have planned out, and if my word counts for those outlines come out anything like the books I’ve finished in the past, they will not be novels, but novellas.

And while most people wouldn’t like that, I’m finding I’m OK with it. I don’t want to write really long novels. I want to write shorter novels (novellas). Like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut or any of the Harliquin romance novels. I want to be writing the stories that someone who doesn’t usually read can read in a couple of days and those who read all the time can read in a couple of hours.

These are the kinds of stories that make me happy usually. It’s actually been one of my biggest complaints about some of the romance novels I’ve read and even some of the fantasy ones too. Some of them have a lot of material I feel could have been cut and it would still be a compelling story, albeit a lot shorter.

I find that a lot of my first drafts are between 30-40K, and then I work through them to add more, but I don’t really want to do that. This is what I was trying to do with Hunters’ Betrayal and it fought be every step of the way until I gave in and made it a novella. Then, and only then, did everything finally click into place and then I did the same with Warren’s Rage and Scott’s Investigation.

Instead of trying to increase my word count, I want to try just strengthening and tightening the writing I have and publish shorter works.

What do you think? Do you like longer novels or shorter novels? Why (or why not)? Let me know below.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Shifters & Mages Update #9

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The Shifters & Mages series has gone through many changes as I’ve worked on it, but I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on it. In a past update claimed it would be four books and that the first would publish in March.

Well… It’s not. It won’t be ready for publication by March. The whole series won’t be ready. I want to do this series justice, and I want to release them quickly so that the voracious readers will have something to munch on fairly quickly. I’ll have drafts completed and done. Right now I only have three re-writes and a draft to finish, but that’s not the point. What’s hurting me now is making sure I’m able to get them edited and covers made in time to release them. I can do one, but not both.

I do plan on having covers in the process starting in January. I have a cover designer and we have discussed the series (although not in great detail) so we have a plan of action. I plan on attempting to get one or two covers a month until I have all six.

Yes. You heard that right. Six.

While editing Jenna’s Story, it occurred to me that since separating the two narratives and changing some other things, that a lot of what worked in the original draft of the novel no longer worked. I ended up cutting a lot of it. It was around 52K just taking out the second narrative, but I shortened it even further, finally bringing it down to about 30K with this final re-write.

And that gave me an idea. I’d like to get this series to be mostly novellas. It already was anyway.

Original Series Layout

Puck’s Choice – 72K
Jenna’s Story – 72K
Untitled Novella Collection – 75K (Warren’s Rage, Hunters’ Betrayal, and Scott’s Investigation)
Mages’ Sacrifice – 72K

New Series Layout

Hunters’ Betrayal – 25-30K (after re-write)
Puck’s Choice – 72K
Warren’s Rage – 25-30K (after re-write)
Scott’s Investigation -25-30K (after re-write)
Jenna’s Story – 30K
Mages’ Sacrifice – 70-80K (after first draft)

Because of the number and the length of the novellas, I no longer feel comfortable releasing them as one collection. I will probably still make an ebook omnibus for them in the future, but I’ll be releasing them individually as well, so that they can be read in order of occurrence.

Another thing I’d like to do is write a few short stories (this is a far future project AFTER the rest of the series releases) from some of the other characters’ POVs – Myles, Jay, Gem, etc. I have some vague ideas for those, and they’ll probably be here on my site for free until I have enough to create an entire collection, at which point, I’ll create an anthology. This is still a far future plan and may change though depending on what readers decide they want – or if I’m willing to dive back into the world after I finally leave it… Because, let’s face it. I’ve been in this world nearly ten years (off and on since 2009 when I wrote the first draft of Puck’s Choice), and I’m ready for something different to be honest.

My plan is to finish the re-write of Hunters’ Betrayal this month, and get it to my editor sometime early February after I’ve had another edit of it. I’ll have a cover by that time too, and hope to do a cover reveal then.

After Hunters’ Betrayal is complete, I’ll focus on Warren’s Rage, which will need a series edit/re-write. I was in a hurry when I wrote it, and in my mind right now it’s complete and utter crap. I have decided that I don’t like writing villians. I have a bias of hate for Warren and can’t relate to him enough to write his story correctly, but I will suffer through it because his story connects some of the dots and answers some of the questions I’ve been asked about Puck’s Choice. I hope to have a cover for Puck’s Choice in March (while Warren’s Rage is being edited) and Warren’s Rage in April.

The last re-write I need to do is Scott’s Investigation, which I don’t like the title of… still… I’ll need to come up with something better before I get a cover for it in May. Editing for this one will also probably take place in May as my editor is also a writer, and I’m not certain if she plans on taking part in Camp NaNo or not. It’s not something we’ve discussed yet.

I still have to finish the first draft of Mages’ Sacrifice and when I start working on this again, I’ll be comfortable enough to come up with a new release schedule. The one I’ve mentioned in the past will no longer work, as I won’t have the books ready. I was hoping to. Seriously hoping to, but if I’m realistic, I won’t. There’s too many factors out of my control on the matter. They will all get published next year (2018). I do know that. I just don’t have any exact dates yet and won’t give any until I’m comfortable with where the books are with covers and editing in order to talk about it further than that.

For those of you patiently awaiting this series, I applaud and appreciate you. You are amazing, and I hope you love it. I sincerely do. We’re almost there. I can feel it.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Previously on Shifters & Mages Updates: Update # 8

2017 NaNoWriMo Update #1

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I don’t have an update for Shifters & Mages this week because NaNoWriMo is going on. I promise that I’ll have an update on it after NaNoWriMo is over, although you will see a bit about it below.

I’ve been doing really well this year for NaNoWriMo. Like… REALLY well. I’m switching between multiple projects still, but I added a new one compared to the one I mentioned I would be doing here. Not only that but I wrote a quick short D&D module after we played some D&D the first Saturday. Lots of projects. Per usual.

I’m in love with all the projects this year, and I feel confident about, not only NaNoWriMo, but about my plan to finish my projects as well.

I’ve been doing a TON of sprints with writers from all over the world in various time zones, and finding it immensely fun to get all the words out. There’s also been some live write-ins as well, which have helped me put in my words.

So, I’m winning NaNoWriMo because my word count is up above where it should be, but even more important than that, I am getting projects done and getting them done by the schedule I’ve set for myself.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing this year?

2017 November Chart 1

Mages’ Sacrifice

Nicky, head of the Council, has betrayed them, but before any of them can get their hands on her, she vanishes and no one, not even Myles, can find her. Puck is preparing for what feels like will be the final battle against the Hunters, but her mage-partner, Cassie, seems to be hiding something from her, and if she can’t figure out what it is before it’s too late, it could be the end of everything as they know it.

Solace

When Brijit, a serving maid, seeks solace at the fountain one evening, she meets K’la, a gargoyle and lone guardian of the castle. They strike up a quick friendship, but betrayal threatens their friendship when Lord Devin learns of the gargoyle and seeks her assistance in taking over the throne.

Moonlight Dance

Luella is half-vampire, half-werewolf, the love child of a forbidden relationship, and that’s made her a target for both factions, but not in the way she originally believed. Dave is the son of her father’s best friend, and has known about her all his life. Alexander was her mother’s best friend and wanted nothing more than what made her happiest. Both men are prepared to give Luella the world – if she’d let them.

Breaking Pack Laws

Clara is a filmographer hired to follow a triathlon star as she trains for her next big race, but when she’s pulled over and accused of stalking, her world takes a turn for the worst. Braden is different than the rest of the werelings in his Pack. An officer of human law first and a follower of Pack laws second, he has trouble following the rules of his people when his brother pulls a heinous stunt in human laws that’s perfectly allowable in Pack laws.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

NaNoWriMo Incoming!

0000HelloDragonlings!

I don’t have an update for Shifters & Mages this week because NaNoWriMo starts in… two days? Yes. Two days. I only have today and tomorrow to finish prepping for it.

I’m ready. I think.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a 30-day writing challenge in the month of November where participants attempt to write a 50,000 (50K) novel. Some plan it ahead of time while others start a brand new story the day of and hope for the best.

I’ve competed every year since 2011 after being introduced to it halfway through November in 2009 and not participating in 2010 because I was already doing another writing challenge and expecting my oldest. I “won” for the first time with what became the first draft of Jenna’s Story, but ever since then I’ve been a rebel, working on multiple stories at one time.

This year is no exception. My main focus will be Mages’ Sacrifice, the final book in the Shifters & Mages series, which I’ll be typing since it’s already been started in that format, but I also plan on working on some hand-written projects in my Novella Notebook. I have about a third of one story written, and I hope to finish it in November and maybe start the next if I can. There’s only enough room (with the way I write) for two novellas. We’ll see.

Below are short blurbs for the three projects I would like to tackle for NaNoWriMo.

Mages’ Sacrifice

Nicky, head of the Council, has betrayed them, but before any of them can get their hands on her, she vanishes and no one, not even Myles, can find her. Puck is preparing for what feels like will be the final battle against the Hunters, but her mage-partner, Cassie, seems to be hiding something from her, and if she can’t figure out what it is before it’s too late, it could be the end of everything as they know it.

Seeking Solace

When Brijit, a serving maid, seeks solace at the fountain one evening, she meets K’la, a gargoyle and lone guardian of the castle. They strike up a quick friendship, but betrayal threatens their friendship when Lord Devin learns of the gargoyle and seeks her assistance in taking over the throne.

Moonlight Dance

Luella is half-vampire, half-werewolf, the love child of a forbidden relationship, and that’s made her a target for both factions, but not in the way she originally believed. Dave is the son of her father’s best friend, and has known about her all his life. Alexander was her mother’s best friend and wanted nothing more than what made her happiest. Both men are prepared to give Luella the world – if she’d let them.

If you wanna join me on my journey, I am going to be going live with Sarah Scharnweber on YouTube around November 1st 12:00 AM central time (1:00 AM eastern) for some writing. Also, feel free to add me as a buddy on the NaNo site itself.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Shifters & Mages Update #8

0000HelloDragonlings!

This is going to be an extreeemely short update. I’m still working on Warren’s Rage, but I am making progress. I’m not writing every day as I’d like, but when I do, I write at least 1500 words, so I’m not going to complain.

That said, NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I really need to step up my game in order to get the projects done this year that I plan to get done. Yeah…

Soon, I’ll have my NaNo post up explaining what I plan to work on, and all that jazz. Keep an eye out for that!

Original Due Date: 10-10-17
Updated Due Date: 10-15-17
New Due Date: 10-31-17

Current Word Count: 20,285
Word Count Goal: 25,000

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Previously on Shifters & Mages Updates: