February 25th, 2010

Writing 1

Not a bad day

I was able to take advantage of some slow time at work today to play with Steel on Target. My intrepid cavalry unit has finally hooked up with the first friendly unit in the book. Of course that meant I needed to decide exactly what that unit consisted of as far as men and equipment went.

So, I created what would be a generic mechanized infantry battalion and then began assigning vehicles to it as well as the number of vehicles it would have at full strength. Once I knew the names of the vehicles, some of which are different than the cavalry vehicles, I needed to know what kinds of weapons they mounted so I could tell if my cavalry unit was going to actually get resupplied or not.

Needless to say, the unit my cavalry is linking up with is NOT at full strength. So, when I got home, I did things in a very scientific method to determine their current strength. I grabbed a pair of percentile dice from the dice bag and went to town on them. Some units did pretty well . . . others? Well, let's just say when an mech infantry company goes from 32 vehicles to 04, you know the dice hated them.

I decided to be nice to the troopers for a bit and put enough similar equipment in the new unit that they'll have a full ammo supply for the big finale. Of course, if I'm being nice to them now, you know something worse is coming there way. Yes, I'm a mean author. Always let them think they're doing well before kicking the chair out from under them.

Since I was on a roll with the TO&E (that's Table of Order and Equipment for the non-military who're reading this blog), I decided that even though I'd written most of this novel off the cuff, we were entering the endgame and it was time I sat down and figured out how I was going to wrap this up. I knew what I wanted to happen, but I finally wrote up a very loose outline for Chapters 16-23. I think this will help me avoid some of the writer drift I've suffered with this novel up to this point. (And why I chopped so many words out of Chapters 1-10 if you recall . . . )

So, armed with the 2/12th Mech Infantry's TO&E and a chapter outline, I plunged into Chapter 16 tonight. I'm going to have to be very careful over the next few days to be sure I capture names, organizations, call signs and other bits of trivia that may reoccur over the remaining eight chapters as I go. Luckily, I've got some of the information on a spreadsheet and some in a couple of documents, so I've got a fighting chance of avoiding the dreaded, "Uh, Rich, wasn't this guy's name X back on page 169? Why's he called Fred on page 201?"

I reached my writing goal tonight also, adding 1205 words to the novel also. So, as far as I'm concerned it's been three wins today. Tomorrow, I have to capture how I'm going to merge these two units into one fighting force for the final battle, but now that I know who's got what, it'll be easier to turn them into a cohesive whole. Well, on paper anyway.

And now, off to bed hoping the snow stays north of here.
Words for Today

1205 / 1000 words. 121%

Progress on Steel on Target

56454 / 85000 words. 66%

Words for 2010

14153 / 250000 words. 6%