Update #2: September’s 30,000 Word Challenge and the Forsaken Demesne

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know September is my 30,000-word adventure month, in that my plan is to write a 30,000-word adventure from scratch by the end of the month. Well, I’ve got some exciting news!


Victory! Just yesterday (19 September), I hit 30,000 words—that’s 11 days ahead of schedule. Even better—bizarrely—30,000 words seems to be almost the perfect amount of words for this adventure. I think I’ve got about 500 – 1,000 words left to write and then the first draft of this bad boy will be done. Result.

I didn’t expect to hit my goal so quickly (although I must confess I’d decided last weekend to “put my foot down” and see how quickly I could be finished). I do so like a tangible target.

30,000 words sound like a lot of words (which it is). On average, it’s 1,578 words a day. More importantly, it’s also a lot of time, which I view as my most precious resource. I suspect I’ve spent an average of 1 1/2 – 2 hours a day over the last 19 days, on this project. That’s a significant investment when I consider all the other things I’ve got to do in regards Raging Swan Press, my family and so on. However, that said the project has shown me the power of incrementally chipping away at a target. This is absolutely the fastest I’ve ever written an adventure of this size. My first adventure for Raging Swan Press—Retribution—took months as I laboriously slaved away over every sentence and paragraph. 

That’s not to say, this has been a doddle (English for easy). It has been a bit of a struggle some days. As the project went on and I’d completed all the “easy” bits it got harder and harder to hit my daily target. Stat blocks take a lot of time (if you want them to be accurate) and I think I subconsciously left the tricky parts of the adventure alone until a solution popped into (or was dragging kicking and screaming from) my head.

That all said, part of the point of writing this adventure was to see if I could do 50,000 words in a month. (November is NaNoWriMo, and I’m thinking of attempting a variant of that challenge). Given the result of my 30,000-word challenge, I’m confident I could write 50,000 words in November. However, I’m not sure exactly how many other things would have to slide for me to hit my target, and life is about balance. As we speak, I’m skating on the very edge of on-time/late for a variety of other tasks (mainly relating to developing and editing a range of Raging Swan Press products scheduled for release in October and beyond), and I loathe being late.

Final Thoughts (For Now)

Once I’ve had a chance to reflect on the challenge I’ll post again in detail about what I learned. Hopefully, by doing so, I can make the next challenge more manageable, and you might find it interesting and useful as well!

So, in conclusion, I’m delighted I had a stab at this challenge. I’ve learnt quite a lot about time management, incremental progress and writing/design during the last few weeks. Will I have a stab at the 50,000-word challenge in November? I’m not sure. Will I—perhaps—attempt to write 20,000 words a month from here on out or do one of these challenges every other month? Maybe!

(Let me know which one you think I should do by leaving a comment below). 


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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

3 thoughts on “Update #2: September’s 30,000 Word Challenge and the Forsaken Demesne”

  1. Wow! Well, congratulations for hitting you goal early! I lean toward the “life is about balance” side of things, but that’s not to suggest I don’t try new things. But you’re right, there’s only so much time in a day and you can only deprive yourself of so much sleep! =)

    Whatever you decide, good luck! Glad to hear an entirely new adventure came out of your latest personal challenge!!

  2. Congratulations on making the goal well early! You should be able to handle that 50,000-word goal in November, but it seems like you should take (somewhat of) a break ahead of that.

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