Word Count Chronicles: Day 76 (Early Riser Interference)

1/24: 315 words. I was up and writing by 5:37am today. Pretty standard for my weekends. In fact, it was a couple minutes earlier than I got up and started yesterday.
The problem is that my 6YO woke up five minutes later. I coaxed him into staying in bed until 6:00am. But this chewed up a few of those precious quiet minutes. He popped out of bed at exactly 6:00am. The 2YO was up fifteen minutes after that.

All hope for a productive writing morning was lost, not to be recovered.

Word Count Chronicles: Day 75 (Breaking New Ground)

1/23: 495 words. Today, I started writing a scene that I’m been thinking about and trying to figure out since I was halfway through Vulcan Rising. I have a pretty good idea-ish for how it’s going to go now. Or at the very least, I’m not scared to start writing it anymore and I have confidence that I can work .out the details as I go.

Word Count Chronicles: Day 74 (I’m Back, Folks!)

1/22: 252 words. I haven’t written since Monday. I had really been struggling to figure out who the villain was in Walls Ascending. And I was to a point where I didn’t want to write more of the story without knowing who the bad guy was and why.

But FINALLY, this morning while I was taking a shower, I figured out both who my antagonist is and why he’s going to do the terrible things he’s about to do. I have a feeling this one’s going to get dark pretty quickly.

Update: Added another 305 words this afternoon.

Word Count Chronicles: Day 73 (Crisis AVOIDANCE)

1/19: 0 words today. I was having an existential crisis. Last night, I received some critical feedback that I had solicited for Vulcan Rising. There was both positive and negative feedback. But the negative feedback would recall a total overhaul to implement.

I had to decide whether to take the advice and make the changes to Vulcan Rising or accept that book as it is and spend the energy instead making its sequel, Walls Ascending, the best book it can be.

So naturally, I did neither.

Word Count Chronicles: Day 72 (More Research, Some Writing)

1/18: Today was more of a research morning, than a writing day. Since Walls Ascending is set in Germany, I want to incorporate as much Germanic mythology into it as comfortable fits. So today I dove into that and found some useful bits.

Regardless, I still got 257 words in this morning. Hopefully, I can finish Chapter 3 within the next couple of days. Then it’s on to Chapter 4, which includes a part of the story that I’ve been trying to figure out for the better part of the last three months. I think I’ve got a handle on it now. It’s just a matter of writing it.

(Un)pleasant Surprise While Doing Research for my Novel

In what may turn out to be a terrible idea, I’ve decided to set my second novel, Walls Ascending, in a place that I’ve never been. I have a good reason for doing so, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to pull it off.

Walls Ascending is the sequel to Vulcan Rising, a contemporary dark fantasy novel that verges on horror at times. This second book is looking like it’s going to follow suit.

Expectant Writer J. W. Judge (Un)pleasant Surprise While Doing Research for My Novel

What I looked for and (thought I) found was a sleepy, little town in the Black Forest of Germany. I did a little bit of searching and landed in Hornberg. Then I started writing.

The setting in Vulcan Rising is Birmingham, Alabama, and there are times that it becomes nearly a character of its own. I want Hornberg to be that for Walls Ascending despite my not having set foot there. This meant that I needed to do more research. Fortunately, my training as a historian and a lawyer has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the treasure that can be uncovered with diligent research.

As I dug into Hornberg’s past, it didn’t take me long to strike gold. I learned that in 1959 a serial killer named Heinrich Pommerenke went on a killing spree, and over the course of 3 1/2 months he committed the following atrocities before being captured: “65 crimes, including four murders, seven other attempted murders, two completed and 25 attempted rapes, six robberies, ten break-ins and six simple thefts” (Wikipedia).

As soon as I read it, I knew that was going to making it into the dark fantasy story I’m writing. How could it not? It seemed like immediate affirmation that the sleepy, little German town with an insidious past was the perfect setting for Walls Ascending.

But I wouldn’t have had that extra element of specificity and authenticity, if I hadn’t put in the time and effort to conduct extra research for my novel. It’s not the first time that researching for a novel has paid off. And I expect it won’t be the last.