Category Archives: Word Counts

Enough with the Apple stuff, where’s book 3??

I imagine millions of you, perhaps trillions, are wondering, “Where-oh-where is book 3 of the Jenkins Cycle?!”

Short Answer: it should be out this summer, hopefully by July.

Long Answer (see below):

Though I finished the draft in January, it was a banged-up mess. I’d followed a different tactic in writing this one than I had for book 1, and which I’d started to implement in book 2: I plotted as best I could (loosely) and wrote without revising as I went along.

I’ve always plotted loosely, but one thing I did in book 1 was write a thousand or so words, then went back and tweaked it to pieces (then farther back tweaking anything that needed to match up (and so on (and so on))) and after that, started writing new chapters.  I did that a little in book 2 as well, and that helped keep it sort of solid for when I finished the draft. Revisions weren’t that hard (though I’d re-read the book like 10 times, which was mind-numbing). But in book 3, I did NO revisions as I shot forward. I followed a bunch of advice from top-selling folks who said, “Just keep writing, knock it out, leave the mistakes in, fix it later.” It seemed like brilliant advice.

But when I finished the draft, as I said: it was a banged-up mess.  It was about 65k words, the reason being I’d left out portions of the story that would slow me down. “Read about organized crime law later” my internal timekeeper/drill sergeant yelled, and so I left notes in brackets: [ put the legal stuff here ] or [ big fight scene on top of a jetliner here ] or [ put words here ] or whatever.

So that’s what I’ve been doing since January: going through and adding the things I missed, revising lots of plot holes, making sure people’s names don’t change from chapter to chapter, eradicating unneeded sections, and doing all the thinking I would have done in book 1 as I crept along. All those missing sections, incidentally, have the book sitting at 84k words (without any “fluffing,” in case you’re wondering).

Dean Wesley Smith says the way I did book 1, more or less, is called “Writing into the dark.” He even wrote a book about it titled: “Writing into the dark.” It’s a method of writing where you venture forward with no outline, and you finish the book after you write the last word.  Even with “Kick” I wasn’t that efficient, but I did basically do this. I did it a little with Fool’s Ride (various chapters would get this treatment). And not at all with Book Three.

This wasn’t supposed to be a book endorsement, but it sort of is. Highly recommend picking up Smith’s book and seeing if maybe it’s something that would appeal to you. He makes a lot of great arguments.



Filed under Word Counts, Writing in general

First draft of Kick-3 is now done

Spice Ralphie

Spice Ralphie

So I just polished off the last line of the last chapter of the book, and the first draft is done.  There are still some holes in the story, some small spots I skipped writing to maintain momentum.  There’s still a ton of rewriting and fixing and hedging and pruning and weeding I need to do. I think I also want to write an epilogue, because the other two books had one and I like consistency (the hobgoblin of small minds, as well as the thing I most like about pudding).

From this point on, until publication, I won’t be posting any more word count updates. I’m also going to be working on finishing another story while I let this one rest. I’d like to publish that one before Kick-3 because it’s been sitting in a drawer for a few years now — and because someone is working on a cool cover for it 🙂


Filed under Word Counts, Writing Experience

Sunday Word Count: out sick (3k)

(he has yellow eyes!)

(he has yellow eyes!)

What a weird last couple of days.  I thought I had the flu on Friday — weakness, nausea — and found out I had intestinal issues on Saturday. Then I went to the hospital, where they suspected blockage (based on a CT scan) and put me up for the day/night.  I’m fine now, no signs of blockage or what the issue was, just that there was an issue. I got home about 30 minutes ago.

Official word count:

2k for a short story draft I did for my Goodreads group (Proactive Destruction) but didn’t get to submit because I never got to edit it.

1k for my Jenkins Cycle book 3.



Filed under Uncategorized, Word Counts

Sunday Word Count: 8,000

ralphieWoot, I broke through my 7k resistance barrier. I’ll go back and remove that 1000 word string of “…very very very…” later when I start my rewrites. For now, I’m just happy to have what continental philosophers call a gasundheit moment.

And would you look at me with the fancy philosophy stuff? I say a lot of clever things like that, and the world is a better place for it.

Just the other day I was shopping for red meat and whiskey when a man stormed in with a gun and demanded everyone hand over the cash. Know what happened next? He took one look at me, with my red meat in one hand and whiskey in the other, and said, “John L. Monk…oh my gosh, I’m sorry…if I’d have known you’d be shopping here I wouldn’t have…”

I just stared at him, not saying anything.

“Please don’t hurt me John L. Monk!” he cried. “I’ll just leave, ok? Just like I was never here! Please don’t hurt me!”

I kept staring, still not saying anything, but I did give the red meat and whiskey a slight twitch.

“Aaaaaaaahhhghhhhh!” the man screamed and dropped the shotgun.

The shotgun went off. The slug went flying toward a set of Siamese orphans, but I jumped in the way and deflected it using a kung fu move I’d seen in a movie one time. The bullet’s trajectory adjusted such that it split the orphans in half, freeing them instantly. And because I’d added a little extra English to it, the slug’s rotation cauterized the wound.

Two childless couples standing nearby adopted the lucky kids on the spot.

Everyone crowded around me and asked for a speech but I didn’t say anything.

Why? Because sometimes the cleverest thing you can do is say nothing at all. I think we’ve all learned something today, now haven’t we?


Filed under Funny, Word Counts

Sunday Word Count. Wait for it…7,000 words.

ralphieOk, so I’m still stuck on 7k. I sure did try, a little. Actually, I got horribly stuck for two days, and then my main writing day — Saturday — was spent “doing stuff” (things other than writing and moping around waiting for inspiration to strike). It turned out “doing stuff” was sort of fun. I watched this amazing thing they play on TV called “football” — sounds like a lot of hooey, doesn’t it? Had a great meal at a friend’s house. I didn’t write another 1k words over there, either.  Still, it’s better to be moving forward and not backward.  I may eventually move backward on the word count, but this week I’m holding fast.

Just to put it all in perspective, I’ve cracked 58k — in total — for the work in progress.  I’ve thrown away maybe 10-11k (I forget exactly).

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Sunday Word Count: 7k

ralphieI’m beginning to notice a troubling pattern. I seem to write just up to 7k, sometimes with a few hundred words in change, and then stop. Kind of like I’m only wearing the required fifteen pieces of “flair” like in the movie Office Space. Don’t I wanna be a team player? Am I the kind of person who only does the bare minimum? So my challenge for next week is to get 8k words, at least.


Filed under Word Counts

Word count, just barely: 7000


I’m the one who knocks!

This week was hell from a word count perspective. I actually wrote more than 7000, but ended up backspacing away a good 1000 words because it wasn’t what I wanted. Also, Christmas is coming up, and I’ve had to do some other things besides writing. So finding the time to write got a little harder last week. That said, in all honesty: I still had way more time to write than you can possibly imagine. But I seem to need a lot more time to come up with anything good. Witness the 1000+ deleted words.  Still, Scut’s down for the count as of last night.



Filed under Word Counts

Sunday Word Count: 3000

(he has yellow eyes!)

(he has yellow eyes!)

Not a great week.  Started off with some sleeping issues (going to bed too late, waking up too late), and to be honest some laziness issues — watching TV when I should have been working. I don’t even remember what I watched. Oh yeah, a ton of Key and Peele videos on the Roku player. They sure are funny…

Next week, I hope to beat this week’s word count by at least 4k words, as usual. I haven’t reached that special spot in the novel where it all rolls easily downhill yet.  I hope when that happens the counts will be much higher. We shall see.


Filed under Word Counts

Sunday Word Count: 8k more…

ralphieSo I got 8k last week, and 8k this week. That’s 1k more each week than I absolutely had to write, and that makes me a happy John L. Monk. One thing I’ve noticed: my drafts are a lot messier as my word count shoots up. No idea where that fiery dragon came from in chapter 15, but it’s staying until I go back and clean everything up.


Filed under Word Counts

Sunday Word Count: 8000

ralphieSomehow I hit 8k this week. I had ups, I had downs, then the internet went way down for three days, and a light appeared at the end of the tunnel — I couldn’t check Facebook!  I couldn’t watch cute cat videos!  Suddenly I had no reason to miss my 7k word count goal for the week.

Actually, in retrospect, I should have hit a higher number. I mean, even our television channels weren’t working. We were like our prehistoric ancestors who had to talk to each other and play board games.

The horror…the horror. I hear the drums…they are coming.


Filed under Word Counts