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Writing Progress: Week Ending October 8, 2011

October 9, 2011

This week, I finally got back in the novel-writing saddle, albeit my progress was a little soft:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,541 words

Grand Total: 1,541 words

I submitted “Story of G” last week, of course.  I’m still so nervous.  There’s no question, to me, that “Story of G” is my best work yet.  Even so… I’m having these nightmares that it’s really not that good at all.  Or that I really needed another round-or-two of edits, because maybe the main character is too weak or the plot to byzantine, or whatever.  I don’t know.  Time will tell.

Having done that, I finally got back to working on the novel, “Book of M”.  I’m not impressed with my progress.  About a-month-or-more ago Dear Wife issued a challenge to me: finish my background notes and assorted whatever and be ready to start on “Book of M” proper – to actually start writing the story, and not just the backstory – by the end of the Columbus Day holiday.  That’s… tomorrow.

And… well… I didn’t write a word of anything related to “Book of M” for the past three weeks.  My attention was focused exclusively on “Story of G” and getting it out on time.  The novel-related deadlines were all artificial, self-imposed, and anyways they were a long way off.  “Story of G” was much more immediate.

The result, however, is that I’d forgotten some of the details related to the world of “Book of M”.  I spent one evening this week, for instance, rereading and reviewing notes I’d made in my writing journal about thoughts and ideas for the history and backstory of the world, and for magic system, and so on.  It was a lot to review – but I’d reached a point in the work I was doing for my “Project Bible” for “Book of M” that I needed those thoughts fresh in my head.  Another evening I allowed myself to be too distracted.  The result this week is that it has been a slow ramp-up in wordcount and work completed.  The majority of the wordcount for this week was achieved yesterday.

I still have today, of course, to really ramp things up.  I’m hoping for a really high-volume day today.  But no matter how I slice it, I’m not going to be able to get the work done that I need in order to be ready to start writing the actual novel this week.  Heck… I haven’t even figured out the ending of “Book of M” yet – I’ve been hoping it would come to me as I work on the background material.  I need some kind of ending to work toward before I can really start writing (it’s just how I roll).

But Dear Wife and I had a conversation this week, in which she encouraged me, and made it clear that her deadline was only meant to inspire me, because she knows I’m excited for this book.  “But,” she said, “If this is your process, you’ve got to respect your process.”

Indeed.

Still… I’m aiming to wrap up this background notes and research and whatnot stage as quickly as possible.  Maybe not by tomorrow.  But soon.

Well, that’s me.  How was your writing week?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2011 5:13 pm

    Good work getting back into the novel. Reviewing what you’ve written already is always so time-consuming when you’ve been mentally away from it for a bit.

    I had a great writing week for a change, managing to get 5000 words written on my WIP. Back when I started writing in April, I had a goal of completing my first draft by the end of October. There’s no way that’s going to happen (these goals seem so reasonable when they’re far away, don’t they?) but I’m happy to be making good progress and have almost finished writing one of the most difficult scenes in the book.

    • October 10, 2011 12:00 pm

      Yes, they do seem “realistic” right up until the point when the rubber meets the road. Even as we wave at those deadlines as they pass by, I think we’ve got to keep on striving for them: because the feeling of accomplishment, in the end, will be worth it.

  2. October 9, 2011 10:57 pm

    Maybe I’d be going faster if I *weren’t* dealing with the added stress of a self-imposed deadline. Or maybe that deadline’s the main reason things aren’t going *slower*. Anybody’s guess.

    Under a thousand words today (blame it on just ha-a-aving to watch “Scooby-Doo”; I do and don’t regret it), but I’ve finally finished my novel’s Part Five. (At last!) Only Parts Six and Seven and an epilogue to go. Can do in the next two weeks? I think maybe!

    And listen to Dear Wife, Stephen. Our writing processes develop for a reason. Author You knows what works, or is on its way to figuring it out. Best wishes re: your continued prep work for “Book of M”!

    • October 10, 2011 12:26 pm

      It was a good conversation with Dear Wife. I was feeling a little out-of-sorts after last week’s abysmal productivity levels (by my own estimation), and I knew there was no way I could make this deadline. And that’s after having already passed by an earlier deadline to get this backstory done. Dear Wife suggested both deadlines. But she said she only suggested them because she knew how excited I was to be writing the story and wanted to encourage me to hurry up to that point. The thing is… It’s hard to say I really have a “process”, in any meaningful way, as yet. I’ve only ever written 0.7 novels before, and that was (a) when I was much younger and less experienced and (b) stretched over a period of about three years (not counting the proto-drafts written as a child). So in many ways, even though I consider myself a novelist in the natural sense, novel-writing is still new to me. I’m a different writer than I was when first tried my hand at it, and I don’t really know with any certainty what’s going to work and what’s not.

  3. October 9, 2011 11:00 pm

    I kind of wish I did more research–good research–when I was in the planning stages of my novel (not that I really understood what that was when I first started), but sometimes I think the kind of research I should be doing is the kind I’m apprehensive of: talking directly to people with first-hand knowledge. I know I could likely get some excellent feedback this way on little things I’m worried about in my story, but I’m not even sure who I’d talk to! I don’t know anyone personally who could help.

    Today, though, I just got back from hanging out at the mall with a friend, and we passed this new store–museum, more like–called Wingspan Air which had tons of airplane and military artifacts from the first half of the 1900s. I was like:

    O_O “Yesssss…. What are the odds of you showing up in my local mall?”

    Unfortunately, it was closed today (figures), though I have a feeling I’ll be back asking all sorts of questions. (Hopefully it’s owned by an older guy who actually has experience flying planes and was related to someone who flew way back when.) If it really is as cool as it looks from the outside, I have a feeling I could become a regular…

    In any case, I can’t wait ’til it opens on Tuesday.

    As for actual progress on my book…well, I got through a few chapters, though the last one I’m still iffy on. I have some ideas on how to fix it, though, so that’s what I’m doing tonight.

    • October 10, 2011 1:06 pm

      I get the same feeling when I think about protagonists riding on horses or sailing in ships. I don’t really know about that stuff – beyond what I can glean from books, but reading it in books is a world of difference from doing it – but there are people who do, and I fear getting it wrong. Luckily, “Book of M” has no horse-riding or sailing ships. Instead, the points of interest, the research I’m doing, is in history. (I’m now much more versed in the history of late-medieval and renaissance-era Italian politics than I would otherwise have been. Funny story, that.) I’m drawing on history mainly as a source of inspiration for… um… the history of my imagined world.

      In a mall near me they’re building a Legoland. I have a similar squee but for entirely different reasons. 😉

  4. October 11, 2011 11:53 am

    Good luck and hooray for getting back into the novel 😉 Enjoy this part of the process!

    I’m still editing. 10 chapters left to go, and hopefully I’ll make it since my deadline’s Wednesday next week. LOL consequently, I’m feeling very boring of late. I just need to get this done.

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