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Writing Progress: Week Ending September 10, 2011

September 12, 2011

It’s been a busy week, but I managed to get some good writing work done:

Story of G:

  • New Draft Wordcount: 1,518 net new words
  • Other Notes Wordcount: 0 words

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words

Grand Total: 1,518 words

This week started off with a holiday (Labor Day for any of you who don’t celebrate it).  You might think that means “Yay!  Extra Writing Time!”  In fact, what it means is “Yay!  Extra Family Time!”  When I get a little time off, I feel like I don’t want to waste it, and that means that I really try to spend a lot of time enjoying it with my family – and that extends into the evening when I might ordinarily do some writing.

Another somewhat unusual thing happened this week.  Dear Wife and I bought a puzzle to work on together.  And yes, you guess it, I’ve lost some writing time to working on the puzzle.  It’s tough though.  The puzzle sits there, unfinished.  It’s beckoning to me… calling to me.  How can I not try and put a few pieces together?  An unfinished puzzle causes a deep cognitive dissonance within me that can only be resolved by putting pieces together.  Oddly, though, I’m not terribly good at puzzles.  Dear Wife has been much more successful at assembling large chunks of the puzzle so far.

Despite those things, however, I’ve had a good week for writing.  I tried to control the siren call of the unfinished puzzle by setting a specific amount of time to work on it before transitioning to writing on several days.  This served me well.  Once again, this week, I did no writing work on “Book of M”, choosing instead to focus on “Story of G”.

I added a good wordcount to “Story of G”, and I’m now about 3/5ths of the way through the revision and editing process.  On one hand, I feel funny about adding wordcount during the editing process.  Isn’t the edit where everyone else subtracts wordcount?  But I’ve never found that to be the case with me.  My second drafts are almost invariably longer than firsts.  I find I’m working through a lot of structural issues with the story in the second draft, coming to a better understanding of the character arcs and the flow of the narrative.  And that often means finding the holes in plot and character development and filling them in.

Still, fifteen hundred words is a lot to add – when my original first draft target was 6,000 words and I overshot that by over a thousand already.  However, I haven’t quite reached the point in the revision where I expect to do a lot of deleting… though I only expect to delete around roughly 500  words, give-or-take, so in total the second draft is still going to be a net-add to wordcount.  So what started as a firm short story is morphing into a very short novelette.  But I still feel really good about the story as a whole, and I like where things are going.

I hope to finish completely with this revision in the next week or two.  The last step will be to polish the prose and look for any clumsy things like excessive passive voice.  However, I’m nervous about some of the material I’ve added… and I wouldn’t mind a second pass from a few readers.  But my sort-of-deadline is fast approaching (September 30th) and I’d really like to have this done, polished, and submitted by then.  So, in the next few weeks, I’ve got to work fast!

That was my week.  Tell me, how was your writing week?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2011 1:34 pm

    Oh, jealous! Sounds like you’ve gotten a lot done this week (including family time). And I’m sure there’ll be time to go through “Story of G” and tighten it later.

    I’ve never had issues adding to wordcount on a second pass, my issue is more holding back long enough that revisions are seen with fresh eyes — once it’s done I want to edit it NOW!

    Myself, I’ve managed a piddly 1200 words this week. Mostly comprised of notes, dialogue script, and one 500 word passage due to characters’ incessant nattering in my head. New ideas cropping up, and things are shaping up organically, so I can’t complain, even if it’s morbidly slow.

    Of course, other than that? Have I managed to touch upon the two manuscripts sitting here needing revision? Erm. No. Waiting for a writing manual to arrive and get myself in the mood to approach them with a more distant and scholarly attitude… and like I said earlier, my problem is usually waiting long enough for the material to be unfamiliar, so I’m (trying) not to be in a hurry to revise and polish (yet).

    Good luck with the puzzle. 🙂

    • September 12, 2011 2:34 pm

      Yes, it was a good week. But I am nervous about Story of G, because with the current WotF deadline at September 30th… I’m really itching to hit this period, if possible. (Waiting until the next quarter means, for me, having gone a whole calendar year without submitting anything.) So I need to be judicious with my time. Also, hey: 1200 words isn’t terribly much less than what I did this week. 😉 As I’ve been reminded this week, in a few blog posts from more professional writers, comparing wordcounts is a fool’s errand. I understand that desire to get to editing… but you know you have to wait, because if you’re too close to the story, you won’t be able to do the edit objectively. The necessary separation of time being different for each writer, of course. Stay strong!

  2. September 12, 2011 1:44 pm

    Got some writing done this week, but not a lot.

    Still getting feedback on my last two posted chapters. Handwrote some of the next chapter (tough going with two characters who are very taciturn trying to have a conversation). Wrote and posted my missing Orson Welles review (Touch of Evil). Assembled a very rough cut of my next book (50,000 words, but all already written). Had family time also on Labor Day.

    I feel I got a lot done (the review itself was enough for a week — it is a lot of pressure to review a favorite film, especially one with a complex history and multiple versions), though not a lot that shows up in numbers.

    • September 12, 2011 2:37 pm

      It is kind of intimidating to review a work that is well-known or well-beloved. Particularly because (for me, at least) you know that your review ultimately won’t make much of a difference. If your opinion runs contrary to popularly-settled opinion, you’re pissing in the wind. And if your review agrees with the popular sentiment, you’re just one little fish in a really big school that’s all swimming the same direction. Either way… the question of such a work’s merit is largely a settled matter. That’s why I don’t often review stuff here – most of what I might write about will have been decided long before I get to review it, and so it doesn’t do much good, neither to me nor to those potentially interested in it.

      • September 14, 2011 7:17 am

        When I started writing reviews, I wrote basic “see this” type of reviews, a few paragraphs long, but the ones I’ve posted on my blog are mostly ones with more depth, in some cases about movies where it seems to me that the reviews I’ve read have all missed significant points.

        I have a particular analysis of The Ninth Gate, for example, and when I posted my review I looked for blogs where it had been reviewed (including a couple who had analyzed it in far more detail than I had) and posted links to my review, and it led to some very interesting exchanges about peoples’ differing interpretations.

      • September 14, 2011 10:09 am

        Yeah, that sort of review would definitely be more interesting to read. I’ve also been thinking about doing “writer’s reviews” of things… reviewing a book with the idea of picking it apart to demonstrate what I can learn from the book to apply to my own writing. Of course, reviews like this would by necessity be very spoilery… but since I’m typically coming to these works so late that shouldn’t generally be much of a problem.

      • September 14, 2011 2:25 pm

        Writer’s reviews sounds like a great idea. I’ve done something like that before, but I’m thinking of making it more formal and organized. I’ve always believed in giving credit where credit is due with my influences.

        Of course, in my case it would probably be fifty-fifty between movies and books.

      • September 14, 2011 4:16 pm

        I think you could do this almost as easily with movies as with books. You might focus on slightly different things when doing a writer’s review of a movie versus a book (for instance, you probably can’t talk about Voice or Style with movies in a way that’s directly applicable to writing, but you can discuss characterization and plotting and dialog).

        Conceptually, this is what I was after when I wrote my first “Interrogating the Text” post on Cat Valente’s “The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While”. The idea was not just to write a review, but to try to understand it and learn from it. I’m still thinking about how to continue with this “Interrogating the Text” idea.

  3. September 12, 2011 1:50 pm

    Pretty decent, I’m content to report. Goal-wise, my word count’s been a little low; I’ve been aiming for a National Novel Writing Month-like 2,000 or so a day (hoping to have my current project’s first draft finished before I jump into NaNo proper), but seem to averaging something more like 1.2K a day (not counting the two or three days over the last few weeks where I was naughty and got nothing done at all). Still, progress is progress — and I’m fortunately well out of the range of the puzzle siren song. Who knows where I’d be if Mom had cracked open a new jigsaw. 😉
    Well wishes to you and your revision!

    • September 12, 2011 2:38 pm

      I would be ecstatic with anything even remotely approaching that kind of productivity! At least I would at this stage of my life. Revel in it. Even if you don’t finish a novel in a month, at that rate you’ll do fine just the same.

  4. September 12, 2011 2:25 pm

    I’m not sure how to count word count when it comes to an edit. I’ve managed to edit chapters 1 & 2. It’s going slower than anticipated, slower than writing. I need to pick up the pace if I want to be done by my Oct deadline.

    OH I add word count in my drafts. I don’t usually subtract 😉 It’s not weird at all!

    • September 12, 2011 2:42 pm

      Whew! Glad to know I’m not a total deviant! Good luck in reaching your deadline, just the same. I’ve given up measuring productivity on editing, at least for now. I’m still reporting wordcount changes in my second draft, but there’s been a lot of work that you just can’t quantify. I read someone, recently, that was tracking their productivity in terms of time spent actively in the writing process… That’s a useful metric whether editing or drafting. But for myself it wouldn’t really tell me much about how effective I was in that time. *Shrug* I dunno… like I said, for now, I’m sort of not worried about trying to gauge editing productivity.

  5. September 12, 2011 8:22 pm

    Sounds like “Story of G” is coming along! And family time is good. 🙂

    As for me, it doesn’t seem like I got much done, since I only got through about 3,600 words of the “old” manuscript. But the thing was it grew into nearly 6,000 words, lol. I’m realizing, looking back, that sometimes I skimmed over things in the earlier draft, too eager to get to the “fun” stuff–“Yeah, yeah, that’s boring…skip!”–so now I’m also filling in some transitions to make things flow more smoothly.

    *sighs* That’s called paying for being a lazy writer originally, heh.

    Though, today I started editing/rewriting a chapter about some emissary/assassins–woot! (Protag isn’t sure which one they are yet, as her situation gets murky and she seriously starts to question the nature of her “mission”.) I had a lot of writing energy coming into it, so maybe I can get through the whole chapter by the end of tonight. Keep the momentum going. That would be amazing, but…we’ll see.

    • September 13, 2011 8:50 am

      See, I enjoy writing those new scenes that fill in the holes and fix whatever was wrong with the old draft. Cutting, not so much, but adding new material that deepens the story – that’s fun to me. 🙂 But then, I try to avoid having boring parts. If it’s boring, it’s not helping the story, I think, because readers are just going to skip the boring parts when they read, anyway. I hope you were able to get as much done as you were aiming for!

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