James Floyd Kelly

Writer and Swashbuckler-for-Hire

Story #1 revision work and Story #2 update

A productive day, even though I didn’t get around to working on the article that’s due on Friday.  Argh.  Tomorrow… no excuses.

Today, however, I managed to get the ch15 revision done for Story #1 – almost 1800 words.  Lost a little steam on this story during vacation last week, so I think I’m going to have to go back and re-read the first 14 chapters to get back into the story.

As for Story #2 – broke 3100 words today for ch11… a very cool chapter that had lots of action in it, including some accusations of cheating from the bad team and an invite to join the good guy team… all this is in place to build up the last 2/3 of the book that will focus on the hero developing some relationships in the new town and the big action that will take place towards the last 1/3 of the book.  Very very happy with how this story is moving…

Here’s today’s scorecards and Progress Bars:

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch15 – 7 pages – 1781 words
Book – 131 pages – 32756 words


Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch11 – 12 pages – 3159 words
Book – 109 pages – 27843 words

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August 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Story #2 – no friends PLUS girl problems…

Just got back from a week+ vacation where I did absolutely zero writing.  It was awesome.  Of course, I had a lot of time to think about the next chapter in Story #2 and today I had to sit down and get it out of my head… a great chapter that I spent a lot of time mulling over in my head.  This chapter has the hero going out for pizza on a date but it doesn’t end well… at all.  Not only does he not have much in terms of friends at the new school, but the girl he likes (and she likes him, too) is now upset.  Typical teenage drama and great for this chapter.

Hoping to get back into the swing of things tomorrow by tackling a revision of the next chapter in Story #1… and maybe get to ch11 in Story #2… but I also have an article due (2000 words) by Friday that I started today but didn’t even get 1/4 done… so tomorrow that’s on the agenda.  Gotta. Get. It. Done.

The contract approval on the new non-fiction book is with the editorial board now and I’ve been told to expect a yes/no answer by end of week… but also to expect a yes.  They want to do this book, so I can’t imagine what it will take for them to say no… but it has happened in the past, so who knows?  I’d really like to do this book as they’re giving me 5 days per chapter (when all I really need is 2 or 3, max) – this means the book will get done early and maybe even out the door by year’s end… but only if they get me moving on the book soon… like by mid Sept.

Anyway, stats and progress bar for Story #2 today only – check out that big ‘ol 35%!  Over 1/3 done with the new book – woo hoo!

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch10 – 11 pages – 2636 words
Book – 97 pages – 24684 words

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Story #2 – all subplots and minor characters now in play

Only had time to work on Story #2 today… no revision work on Story #1.  Today’s ch9 managed to add 2500 words to the story, pushing it to 86 pages and all the major and minor characters are now introduced and the main plot is moving forward… hero has a date, too… which is kinda cool.

I also got the schedule yesterday for the new non-fiction book – 27 chapters, with final delivery date in Feb 2011.  That’s because they’ve given me 5 days per chapter.  Very generous, as I’m usually able to crank out non-fiction chapters in a day or two… so I’ll likely get this book done on or before Christmas 2010… or I hope  to do so.  We’ll see.

Also, Que Publishing, which has contracted me to write those iPad articles, is now discussing book ideas with me.  Very cool.  We’re bouncing back and forth with some book topics… kinda nice to have another possible publisher as this would bring my list to 3 from the current 2 publishers I write for… we’ve got some interesting ideas hashed out that I’ll hopefully be able to write about soon.  Even if we can’t find a book right now, just knowing they’re open to my writing books for them is very cool.

Here’s today’s score card and Progress Bar (singular):

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch9 – 10 pages – 2507 words
Book – 86 pages – 22048 words

August 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Story #2 – Our hero is not finding a lot of friends today…

I missed posting yesterday  – kinda crazy day and I only got a new chapter written (ch7) for Story #1.  Today I managed to get both some revision work done (Story #1) and a completely new chapter 8 written for Story #2.

Story #2 is, unfortunately for me, becoming quite a bit more interesting than Story #1… not sure why, but it may have to do with the fact that I started on this story a long time back and had much of the story already developed when I switched gears to write Story #1… I was worried that I’d lose momentum if I didn’t tackle Story #1 right away, and I’m still glad I wrote and finished Draft 1, but I have to admit that Story #2 is turning out to be much smoother/easier to write… and the action is easier (maybe that’s because it’s not science fiction, too…)

I’m still going to finish Draft 2 of Story #1 – come too far to put it on the backburner, but I’m finding the words coming easier and faster for Story #2 and each chapter just seems to push the 2000 word limit without any effort.  This is, of course, Draft 1, and I’ll have to go back and do revisions on it as well, but so far I’m very happy with the plot development and timing.  Story #2 involves a 15 year old boy who’s been transplanted into a small town and all the troubles that brings… he’s not finding many friends at school who share his primary hobby and in ch8 he meets some out of town kids who turn out to be game cheaters… and they know he knows!  Trouble brewing…

I also got word today that my non-fiction tech book is being scheduled for a start date of September 20.  We’re negotiating the advance to write it, but they’re telling me the book is a go… very very happy about that.  I still can’t write about the subject just yet, but will try to get permission once the contract is signed.

I also got a Sept 3 due date for the first (of 6) articles on using the iPad in lieu of a laptop.  It’s not a “silver bullet” argument in that an iPad can do everything (it cannot!) but it will be more of an examination of what it takes to try and push the iPad to its limits… article 1 is the intro and the remaining 5 articles will tackle business/home uses of the iPad and see how it stands up to using a laptop.

Today’s scorecard and Progress Bars – (keep in mind that Story #2 jumped to 27% complete because I didn’t get to post yesterday about the 2000+ words for Ch7!)


Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch14 – 11 pages – 2758 words
Book – 124 pages – 30975 words

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch8 – 11 pages – 3002 words
Book – 76 pages – 19541 words

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new kid takes his lumps…

Today I tackled a few things – I got ch5 written for the new story (#2) – 2600+ words and the hero just had his first real scuffle as the new kid… not a fight as in “fist fight” but a different kind of battle… can’t give it away just yet, but remember the book is sports related, so that might give you a hint.    This chapter was extremely fun to write, because some of the confrontation in it was fast and furious, and I’m hoping to have this kind of chapter pop up every four or five chapters…

I also got ch13 revised for Story #1… that one is rolling right along, and I’m approaching the halfway point in the book which is encouraging.  It’s probably just because of the newness of Story #2, but I’m having to struggle a bit to stay on target with Story #1… I still like Story #1, but it’s like a new toy for a kid… Story #2 just seems more fun… but I’m hoping that’s just in my head.

I got word today that my publisher is okay with the Table of Contents I submitted for the new non-fiction book and that we’re looking at a possible Sept 15 start date… not sure if that’s realistic yet, but I think it’ll work if we can get a contract in place.  That book will likely take me the rest of the year to write, so I’m unsure if I’ll have time (or energy) to get started on another LEGO book this year… maybe, though… my publisher still wants me to do it.

Things are definitely picking up speed…

Here’s today’s scorecard and Progress Bars – check out that big 20% done on story #2… oh, yeah!

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch13 – 11 pages – 2770 words
Book – 113 pages – 28217 words


Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch6 – 10 pages – 2577 words
Book – 55 pages – 14002 words

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

– Writin’ Machine!

Still finalizing the details for the new non-fiction book, so today I focused on my two fiction stories.  I got ch12 revised for Story #1… the story is much easier to edit now that the character is more developed and I know the plot better… hoping to have the remaining 18 chapters or so of the book revised and done by end of September so I can float out some copies to a few folks for feedback.

Story # 2 is cranking as well… I got ch5 done today… 2600+ words which is outstanding.  And I’m very happy with the chapter… the hero is with some of the town kids and finding out which are friends, which might be… and which ones obviously are not.  A few minor characters introduced as well as some foreshadowing of the major plot line that will develop in the 2/3 of the book.

The stories are so different… it’s odd to be writing one that Sci Fi and one that’s not… but they’re both fun.

Here’s today’s scorecard and Progress Bars:

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch12 – 9 pages – 2329 words
Book – 102 pages – 25447 words

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch5 – 10 pages – 2653 words
Book – 45 pages – 11445 words

August 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Story #1 vs Story #2 – Let’s Rumble

I managed to get Story #1’s ch11 revised today which pushed Draft 2 over the 30% completion mark.  It’s going a little slower than I expected, but I’m still plodding forward with revisions.  The story isn’t changing as much now that I’m into last 2/3 of the story – as I was writing Draft 1, I’d figured out much more of the details of the story so I’m finding that there’s not a lot of major changes to the story now, just updates/revisions to the dialogue and scene descriptions.  A few cuts here and there to stuff that doesn’t help the plot.

As for Story #2 – I finished writing Chapter 4 today – in the first 3 chapters, the hero (15 years old) has found himself uprooted and moved to a small town… his dad and the current situation the two of them find themselves in has been described and the town setup… chapter 4 starts him at his new school and all the misery that entails… new kid, no friends, etc… the story has elements of that “wants to be accepted” cliche but the backstory and the main plot will differentiate it from similar, tired books (I hope).  Hit the 2000+ word mark on Ch4 and feeling pretty good about the story.  Unlike Story #1, this new story is completely plotted out… every major story twist and turn.  I’m still doing some character development for folks that’ll show up a few chapters from now, but I’ve got the major characters well defined and I know everything that’s going to happen between start and finish… just need to actually WRITE it.

Here’s today’s scorecard and Progress Bars – (interestingly, ch4 ended up with the same wordcount as ch3 for Story #2)

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions

Ch11 – 13 pages – 3112 words

Book – 93 pages – 23118 words

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch4 – 9 pages – 2060 words
Book – 35 pages – 8802 words

August 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting caught up – Novel 1 and 2

I was out of town all last week and most of the weekend, so not much writing got done… but that just made me more anxious to get back to work when I returned on Monday.  So, yesterday I got situated and cranked out a revision of Story #1 and ch9 was completed.

Today was an even more productive day – I revised ch10 for Novel #1 and I got ch3 written for Novel #2.  It’s a bit funny to try and bounce back and forth between fiction stories, but I think I’m adjusting.  Before I begin, I always go back and re-read the previous chapter that helps me get my character names back in place.  Still… I’ve found myself using my hero’s name from Novel #1 a few times in the Novel #2 draft text…

A few other good things have happened – a publisher I used to tech edit for has expressed interest in my iPad book, but wants to turn it into a series of articles for their website… we talked details yesterday and I like what they’re asking and what they’re offering.  I’ve been given until Friday to provide them a summary of the articles I’m willing to write  – the book was originally 16 chapters but I’m going to cut that down to 6 or 7 articles… 8 max.  They’ll give me 2 weeks for each article to be completed which is more than enough, but they also want to see article #1 before committing to more articles… not a problem.

My current publisher has also pushed forward on the non-LEGO book and is looking for a start date of maybe late August or early September.  I’ve got to look at my calendar as this book is going to be a bit involved and will require more than just writing (that’s all I can say right now -the topic is very hush hush and I’m not allowed to talk about it since it’s a hot topic… once the contract is in place, I think they’ll let me start talking and blogging about it.)

I also met with someone yesterday about creating some new LEGO content for a very specific audience.  More on that later if the project moves forward, but it sounds legit so I’m hoping to get moving on it in the next few weeks.  A bit tired of LEGO writing projects but they do pay the bills and they do pay somewhat well… so we’ll see.

So, things are looking good – I’ve got some personal projects (2 fiction stories) and some non-fiction writing projects that are building steam.  I’m hoping not everything will hit at once, but who knows…

Here’s today’s scorecard and Progress Bar – you’ll notice that I skipped Ch9 for Novel #1… I did that revision yesterday and didn’t get around to posting a blog item on it… so the Bar will jump a bit.  Very happy with the progress of both books.  Crossed the 25% mark for Draft 2 of Novel 1 – woo hoo.

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch10 – 10 pages – 2488 words
Book – 80 pages – 20006 words

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch3 – 8 pages – 2060 words
Book – 26 pages – 6742 words

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Draft 2 – Novel #1 and Draft 1 – Novel #2 — something in the water

So, while I’m waiting on word from my editor on which of my 2 non-fiction book proposals to focus on, I’ve decided not to wait around.  I can’t put my finger on what’s changed, but all of a sudden I hate the thought of letting hours pass where I’m not writing.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t do much of it in my twenties or early thirties… but now I’ve actually got the motivation and discipline to put nose to grindstone and crank it out.

Whatever… I’ve now got 2 fiction stories I’m working on.  Novel #1 is in Draft 2 stage and coming along nicely.  I finished revising ch8 today and I’m liking the improvements to the story.  The hero has more of a background and the dialogue and scene descriptions are better written and helping to move the story forward… or at least I think so.

Novel #2 is new… fiction, but not science fiction.  The hero is a fifteen year old boy, moving from a big city to a small town… it’s a bit cliche – new town, new kid, no friends, etc – but it’s the backstory AND the main plot that differ from anything I’ve seen on the shelves and I’m hoping my twist on the standard “sports/jock” story can be pulled off.  I’ve completed the first two chapters (of 25 – I’ve plotted out this story in much more detail than Novel #1 was done and hoping that will help me stay on track and get off on a wild tangent) and it’s pushing 4000 words so far.  Estimated wordcount will be 70,000 for Draft 1… I want the skeleton/frame down first before I go back for Draft 2 and try to increase the pagecount and add in more backstory.

Of course, if I get a non-fiction book contract in place, I may have to change how I work on these two stories… Novel #2 may have to take a backburner position until Novel #1 is finished… or at least fewer chapters written per week.  Right now I’m trying to work on Novel #1 and #2 each day, but that’s subject to change based on my mood and my work load.

Ideally, I’d love to move away from non-fiction and do fiction, but that dream depends on what happens next.  I’ve received some kind words from a few who have seen early draft 1 and some good encouragement from someone who has seen Draft 2 early chapters… but I really have no idea.  Could be drivel just as easily as it could be good… I’m my own worst critic.

Here’s today’s scorecards and Progress Bars (YES – PLURALS!)

Novel #1 – Draft 2 Revisions
Ch8 – 11 pages – 2512 words
Book – 65 pages – 16421 words

Novel #2 – Draft 1
Ch2 – 8 pages – 2029 words
Book – 18 pages – 4682 words

August 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment