Progress Report on CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY

A month ago I posted the first scene of my work in progress, a dark psychological thriller I’ve titled CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY (formerly THE BEDWETTER). It’s about an abused young man with chronic secondary nocturnal enuresis who, as pressures mount, embarks on a killing spree using the tools of his dark fantasies.

I’ve started to keep track of my writing progress and wanted to update you in a more comprehensive way than my daily Facebook status updates and tweets.

Idea Development in CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY

I originally received inspiration during some time off I took at the end of last year. I got the idea about a young man being punished in a horrifying way for wetting the bed. I used those two weeks to formulate a big-picture plan for the story, filling out plot and character questionnaires, just getting to know the story.

From that point on, I began to hear this character’s voice and was often interrupted by creative “downloads” of information that I would later work into scenes and dialogue.

Plotting of CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY in Truby’s Blockbuster 6

I spent all of January and the first half of February doing more detailed plotting using John Truby’s screenplay development software, Blockbuster 6. The application leaves a lot to be desired, but it enabled me to draft a list of scenes and arrange them in the right order. Then, I fleshed out each scene, answering questions such as:

  • My challenge in writing this scene
  • My strategy for writing this scene
  • The scene goal (POV character’s desire)
  • The character’s plan to achieve the goal
  • The opponent in the scene
  • The scene’s conflict
  • Any twist revealed
  • The scene’s moral argument (value A vs. value B)

Blockbuster 6 also enables you to include the structures of up the three genres in your story (for example, horror, thriller, and myth); track six storylines; and monitor key words, symbols, and tag lines.

I completed a scene form for 59 scenes in the book, and included in each scene some details about what needs to happen and the information I must reveal when I write the scene.

Drafting CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY in Scrivener

I downloaded the Beta of Scrivener for Windows over a year ago and played around with it, but didn’t use it seriously. I got serious with CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY. I created folders for characters, research, and scenes. Scrivener 2.0 isn’t perfect either, but it offers scads of cool project management features geared toward writers. I love using it now and likely will continue to do so.

Starting mid-February, I began taking my Blockbuster scene sheets and writing actual scenes from them. Weeknights I would spend two to three hours in any one of half a dozen coffee shops around Pittsburgh’s east end—the same on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays—drafting scenes and making progress. I didn’t start keeping detailed stats until March 3, but here are my word count stats so far:

Date Daily So far Weekend
2/12/2013 1000
3/1/2013 ? 6,980
3/3/2013 1691 8,671
3/4/2013 406 9,077
3/5/2013 1253 10,330
3/6/2013 1848 12,178
3/7/2013 912 13,090
3/8/2013 1001 14,091
3/9/2013 1201 15,292
3/10/2013 2290 17,582 4,492
3/11/2013 711 18,293
3/12/2013 666 18,959
3/13/2013 875 19,834
3/14/2013 884 20,718
3/15/2013 884 21,602
3/16/2013 942 22,544
3/17/2013 1,845 24,389 3,671
3/18/2013 541 24,930
3/19/2013 604 25,534
3/20/2013 766 26,300
3/21/2013 537 26,837
3/22/2013 735 27,572
3/23/2013 1,907 29,479
3/24/2013 2,134 31,613 4,776

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My initial goal for a first-person, present-tense novel in this voice was 42,500 words. But by the time I finished the beginning scenes and started writing the middle, I realized it would be longer. My present goal is 52,500. We’ll see where it comes in at when I’m finished. And I already have 45 scenes; my total will exceed 59.

Read the First Scene of CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY

I invite you to read a draft of the first scene. I’m warning you, it’s dark. (I’ll confide that some of it has been tough to write.) But I must remain true to my inspiration. This story wants to be told, and I’ve never before enjoyed such a flow of ideas and writing.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you!


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5 Responses to “Progress Report on CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY”

  1. Hunter Shea Says:

    Keep up the great work! I like that you shared the actual word count progress.

  2. I Finished the First Draft of THE BEDWETTER | Lee Allen Howard Says:

    […] I tracked my daily writing milestones with nightly Facebook page updates, and posted a progress report two weeks ago. […]

  3. Five Questions with author Lee Allen Howard. | Ray Wallace fiction Says:

    […] out the story from start to finish rather quickly. I tell more about this process in my post, “Progress Report on THE BEDWETTER” (now Call of the Piss […]

  4. How I Write Novels | Lee Allen Howard Says:

    […] development process, plotting, and drafting of my forthcoming bizarro psychological thriller in Progress Report on CALL OF THE PISS FAIRY. I did a lot of pre-writing for that book, meaning, beyond preliminary 12-point plot questionnaires […]


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