The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Camp NaNoWriMo – Go Big – Day 14


While my goals have been quite aggressive for this particular project, they feel like they’re almost within my reach. It’s a little bit tough to hit these word count goals, and kind of a pain in the ass sometimes, but that pain is just the stretch I needed to grow as a writer.

Oh, and by the way:

50,106 words.

That’s right. I made it. The drafting phase is complete.

Obviously we’re not at the end. The drafting stage in some ways is the easiest. I sit down in my chair, I put on my headset, and I vomit out words until I hit my count for the day. It’s not hard to get those words these days. After writing what amounts to two full novels, I’ve gotten very fluent with using Dragon, and so I have very little problem with drops or fucked-up words from a transcription perspective. There are still times in my tongue gets out of my thoughts, but that’s not really any worse than it was when I was typing. In fact, I find that writing using dictation results in more fluid and coherent prose, mostly because it forces me to actually say the words and that helps me find the clunkers and awkward words the no one wants to read. If it’s hard for me to say it, it’s more than likely going to be hard for you to read it.

DAY FOURTEEN: Turn That Shit Up

This is the first time that I’ve consciously fast-drafted anything. It’s been a challenge to trust myself and just keep pushing forward and today I decided to make that challenge a little uglier for myself. I purchased Write or Die, an interesting little piece of software that does exactly what it sounds like. You put in your word count goals and start writing. If you don’t write fast enough, it starts disemvoweling the last few words you typed. If you’re still farting around after the screen starts flashing red in the giant spider starts munching on your words, then it just full-on deletes them. One at a time as you watch your words just vanish into the ether.

This is some pretty terrifying shit for a writer who’s trying to be productive. That in itself is motivation enough for most of us to keep the words moving ahead, because if you stop for 10 or 15 seconds you begin to lose those words.

Mini review: I like the concept of Write or Die, but there are a couple of issues with it and my workflow. For starters, I can’t use it with Dragon Naturally Speaking on Windows. Not, at all. While Dragon works just fine and a lot of apps — Chrome, any of the Office products, Internet Explorer, and a bunch of other mainstream shit that I don’t use — it doesn’t work at all in some smaller or lesser-known apps. If you trying to dictate into those apps, Dragon just refuses to do it. Instead you get this little text box that your words flow into and you have to transfer them from that box and do whatever app you’re trying to type in. Totally defeats the purpose of Right or Die.

It works great with DragonDictate on my MacBook, but the problem there is that DragonDictate is kind of a piece of flaming shit. It works, but only just and after dictating in Windows, dictating on my MacBook makes me want to punch the shit out of something. This is an Apple’s fault, it’s the fault of Nuance who has a long and sordid history of fucking over Mac users. So, there’s that. While I’ll probably use Write or Die here and there, I very much doubt it’s going to become a mainstay in my arsenal. Still, for those who it works for, I bet it works like a fucking champ. The panic as the buzzer starts in the spider starts chomping on your vowels is some seriously nerve-wracking shit. And, hey, I did use it tonight to grind through my word count and hit my goal.

And that’s the big take away for today. I hit my word count. My vainglorious project is still on track, and I think I’ll have two novellas completely done and ready to publish by the end of July.


Tomorrow is editing day. Most likely that means editing Novella #2, which I think is going to be a lot of fun. It’s told from a very different viewpoint than the first novella, and has a lot of unusual perspectives. I dig it.

I also probably need to start my serious search for a cover. My plan right now is to use one cover for all of the installments for each season of a series, not just because it gives them all a nice cohesive look, but also because I’m cheap. I can’t afford to have six covers for every season, because that would quickly become insanely expensive. Will I change my tune if this takes off? Maybe. I’ve seen a few cereals with different covers for each episode in a season, and while they look pretty sharp, there’s no sense of unity across the whole season. It’s a conundrum that I need to ponder for a while longer.

Looking Ahead

I still have two full weeks, actually a little more than that, to wrap this project up. This gives me time to get through the editing and get the covers done, without really going crazy and stressing out. I’m pretty pleased with where I am right now, but I do feel an itch to push things a little farther before this month is over. I mean, I can’t release with just two books in the pipeline, I really need at least one more so that I can release a new installment every couple of weeks. Could I get a third installment written in July?

I don’t know. I could probably get it written, but there’s no way they’d be ready to be published.



About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.