FINISH THAT NOVEL—Tips to Help You Go the Distance

Good advice! Keep writing and don’t give up on your novel!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Inspired author biting crumpled paper

Today, Alex Limberg is with us again, and he is talking about one of the most important and tricky issues in writing: Endurance. It doesn’t matter how well we write, how pretty the prose or witty the dialogue. WE MUST FINISH.

No half-finished brilliant manuscript ever became a runaway best-seller but a lot of finished “meh” ones have.

Alex has some very effective tactics and practical examples to help you out.

Just look at his list and pick out the ones that work for you. And if you want to see how good your story really is or what it might be missing, definitely check out his free checklist of “44 Key Questions” to make your story awesome. Post starts in 3… 2… 1… 0:


Have you ever written an entire novel? If so, then you know that it takes a lot of stamina.

I’m not just talking…

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Coming Soon: Inbetween

With the final chapter of The Dreams posted, I’m preparing to start my next serial novel.

It’s not much, but today I’d like to share with you the cover I created for Inbetween to post on NaNoWriMo. This will be the image for the project until I save up and commission a professional cover for the novel.


I’m excited to start sharing this new project. Waiting until the weekend to post the first chapter is almost too much. I just hope I’m not being too cryptic. I want to pace myself with sharing information because just the thought of trying to get it all out there overwhelms me. If it overwhelms me I have to assume it would be overwhelming for anyone subjected to reading it too.

Ask me questions about Inbetween in the comments. Questions will help me know what information is actually wanted and what I can leave out. The questions don’t have to be about the story itself. If you want to know about my process feel free to ask about that too.

Writing Progress December 5 – 11, 2016


December 5

No writing progress made. The post-NaNo slump is still going on. I managed to push through it for a few days, but I think that drained my energy reserves even more. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself while I recharge.

December 6

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 20,429
  • Today’s word count: 37
  • Thoughts: I wrote a bit, but I’m still in my post-NaNo slump. A couple words is progress, though. It is a stepping stone and I can move forward from here.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. If I can get a good writing day out there I can declare this slump over.

December 7

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 20,672
  • Today’s word count: 243
  • Thoughts: Well, it’s not epic, NaNoWriMo levels of writing, but it is an improvement over the last few days. I guess I shouldn’t complain.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Revision time. I’m a little scared to revise because it will be the last chapter of The Dreams. Endings are important and I don’t want to ruin it. I know I’m not ruining it, but that thought has wormed its way into my head and it won’t let go.

December 8

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 218,915
  • Today’s word count: -740
  • Thoughts: There’s a ton of unnecessary words stuffed into this chapter. I’m trying to keep everything from spiraling out of control, but I was so nervous about leaving something out that might need to be included that I included too much in the ending. Now I’m trying to decide which parts need to be cut and which parts deserve to stay. It’s a tedious process and I’m battling self doubt at least as much as I’m battling these paragraphs.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More revisions. I will get this chapter out on time!

December 9

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 218,672
  • Today’s word count: -243
  • Thoughts: More revising. I want to say I can’t believe how long this is taking, but I know this is the last chapter so it makes sense that I would pick and pick at it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Finishing revising and post the final chapter of The Dreams!

December 10

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 218,463
  • Today’s word count: -209
  • Thoughts: I finished the revisions on the final chapter of The Dreams!  It’s amazing how much of a relief I feel now that I know that’s done. I was too exhausted to format the chapter though so that will have to be done tomorrow. I’m not sure how I expected to feel once I reached this point in the project, so I can’t say I’m surprised by the mix of pride, relief, and dissatisfaction I’m feeling now.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Post the final chapter! After that I hope to focus solely on Inbetween for a month or two before I look at The Dreams again.

December 11

I posted the final chapter of The Dreams today. Then I did nothing. I told myself I would work on Inbetween as well, but it didn’t happen. I read for a while and watched some TV and didn’t touch my writing after posting the chapter. It was my birthday so I decided not to pressure myself to work. I’ll go back to work tomorrow.

The Dreams: Chapter Fifty Two

the dreams cover

Cover by A. R. Shellnut
  • Project: The Dreams
  • Chapter: Fifty Two
  • Word count: 6,720
  • Chapter Index

This is it! This is the end of the second draft. I’m terrified and relieved at the same time. There are so many things I need to change, but it will have to wait for the third draft. It’s just not possible to fix everything in one round of edits, at least not for me. Certain things about this chapter bother me as they are right now, but I hope it won’t make the chapter any less enjoyable. I’ll make it even better in the next draft!

Thank you to everyone who has read this story. Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me, and wanting me to finish this story. I’ll keep you posted on the later draft work, but don’t expect any news until 2017.

With this chapter, like every other chapter, I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters. If you want to support my writing, see new work first, and help my creations go from first draft to maybe someday a real book you can hold in your hands, head over to my Patreon.

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Looking Back at NaNoWriMo 2016

NaNoWriMo is over. I finished the month with 50,078 words spread across several projects. I was a rebel, but I accomplished a lot over the course of the month.


During NaNoWriMo I finally wrote the final scenes of The Dreams. This story took forever. It sprawled out over 220,000 words. Finishing it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m relieved and overwhelmed at the same time. I’m over the first hurdle and realizing how much work lies ahead of me. I only managed to post two chapters during November. The extra writing made it difficult to revise, but the extra writing did allow me to finish the novel writing part of the process. The last two chapters of The Dreams will be posted this month. I can hardly believe it.

I wrote a significant chunk of the first draft of my next serial novel, Inbetween, during NaNoWriMo as well. This is a story that I’ve been playing around with off and on since 2007 and I like to think I’m finally giving it the life it deserves. The first draft is being posted to my Patreon, but the second draft will be posted here after The Dreams is completed.

After writing so much in November, I can feel myself getting mired in a writing slump. I pushed to get a chapter of The Dreams ready for Saturday and after that, I collapsed in a boneless heap and haven’t mustered the energy for more writerly endeavors since then. I’m trying to move on and get back to work, but it isn’t working so far.

I don’t want to let you guys down. That motivates me to figure out what’s going on in my own mind and find a solution. I will figure it out and I will get back to writing soon. I wanted to thank everyone for their support and encouragement during all my writing insanity during November.

How did NaNoWriMo go for you? Did you win or lose? Are you happy with your draft or is it getting shoved in the back of a drawer? Let me know in the comments!

Writing Progress November 28 – December 4, 2016


November 28

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 211,854
  • Today’s word count: 3,007
  • Thoughts: I wrote a lot. Finally. Now I just need to keep it up and get this draft finished once and for all.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. So much more writing I don’t even know when I’m going to have time to make coffee and tea to keep me writing. Yup. It’s the end of NaNoWriMo for sure.

November 29

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 214,137
  • Today’s word count: 2,283
  • Thoughts: Writing a lot of words and wondering whether half of them will even make the cut when I look back over these scenes after this month is over. I’m sure something good is coming from it, though!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Even more writing! It’s the last day of NaNoWriMo and since I’m a procrastinator to the core I have to play the catch-up game today. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be painful. It’s going to happen. I will win NaNoWriMo today!

November 30

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 220,189
  • Today’s word count: 6,052

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 20,395
  • Today’s word count: 3,099

  • Thoughts: I wrote so much. I’m so burned out. I’m pretty sure my brain fell out somewhere along the way.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Post-NaNo day off!

December 1

No writing progress made. Took a day off to relax after NaNoWriMo.

December 2

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 220,191
  • Today’s word count: 2
  • Thoughts: I worked on revisions today so my word count bounced up and down around zero. Fun times. It’s nice to clean up some writing instead of creating a wild mess for once.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More revisions. Then some writing. I need to get back to writing Inbetween.

December 3

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 219,674
  • Today’s word count: -517
  • Thoughts: Revising. Gotta love it. Considering how long this novel is, I’m more than okay with losing some words along the way. I’m already thinking of ways to make the story more compact in the next draft, but I really need to finish revising and posting the second draft first.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Finish the revisions, post the chapter, and work on Inbetween.

December 4

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 219,655
  • Today’s word count: -19

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 20,392
  • Today’s word count: -3

  • Thoughts: More revisions today! Yippee! I got the latest chapter of The Dreams posted so I’m feeling pretty accomplished. That story is so close to finished! It’s amazing. It’s terrifying. I hope everyone is having as much fun as me.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Write! There are a ton of words that need to be written and a whole new world that I need to explore and describe.

The Dreams: Chapter Fifty One

the dreams cover

Cover by A. R. Shellnut

I’m so happy to finally post this chapter. We’re closing in on the end of the story!

With this chapter, like every other chapter, I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters. If you want to support my writing and help my creations go from first draft to maybe someday a real book you can hold in your hands, head over to my Patreon.

Read More »