I've started using a new widget for updating the word count of my current novel. If you're interested in using it for your blog, click here. I'm using the Writertopia meter, a cartoon that lets you show your current mood as well as the word count. As your word count increases, the stack of pages in the graphic rises.
I'm using it on my UPCOMING PROJECTS page and it's very easy to use. I've set a provisional target of 80,000 - but, who knows? My stories tend to take on a life of their own and it may finish before or after that target.
It's turning into a murder mystery at the moment, but it did not begin that way. It's set in Birmingham, England, which is where I live. Writing what you know is, of course, a lot easier - but I find that one of the most initially rewarding aspects to writing has been the research into areas upon which my writing needs to be more informed. For example, my second novel, Barren Endeavour, was set in 1930's USA. Researching the history and events of the time gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction and, for a time, I was obsessed with knowing more about The Great Depression as much as I was the writing of my novel set during that time.
My current novel started off as a relatively straight-forward story about four couples, their relationships, adultery, secrets and lies. It has now changed direction and it means that the writing is going to becoming more challenging than it has been thus far. The strands are sprawling in many directions and I'm going to have to retain control along the way.