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Writing Progress: Week Ending June 2, 2012

June 4, 2012

This actually seemed somewhat improbable:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 2,000 words

Grand Total: 2,000 words

Yeah, a grand total of exactly 2,000 words.  When you’ve set that as your threshold between a fully successful week and one that was rather less-so… well, it’s just kind of funny to me, and worthy of note.

So yeah, I had a good week last week, and I got quite a bit written.

Story-structure-wise, I’ve finished the third chapter and I’ve started into the fourth.  It’s still too early for me to tell exactly how many chapters this thing will be, ultimately, or exactly how long wordcount-wise.  Yeah, I have the whole thing outlined and plotted out.  But every time I tried to outline it to a defined chapter-by-chapter structure, I couldn’t do it.  I just had to outline the story itself – which left me flexibility to go back and update earlier portions of the outline to accommodate later events.  So the outline doesn’t say much about the length of the book.  Still, as this thing progresses my sense of the actual length will improve.

I’m getting to the point, now, where the story just starts flowing for me.  When you first start writing, things come in fits and starts, and you’re just getting your footing.  You know where you’re going, but you’re not sure how to get there.  And by “you” I mean “me”.  Anyway, that’s largely how things were on this story.  So the first chapter will probably need a lot of clean-up.  Luckily, as a slightly-more-mature author, I’m less wedded to my first draft wordings than I was, say, ten+ years ago.  Given enough time, perspective, and objectivity, that is.  But anyway, you start out wanting to capture the excitement you have for this new project, introduce the characters, illustrate the world, initiate the action – you want to do it all.  And you just kind of flail for a thousand words or two until you get your footing and things start flowing.

But now, I’m at the point where I’m excited to write what happens next.  And yes, that’s even knowing in advance how it turns out.  And that’s before things  even get really interesting.  This is all still set-up and worldbuilding and character and circumstance introduction, in a sense.  But it is getting interesting.  Or at least it is for me.

I’m excited to be exposing this to readers… at some point.  It’s not happening yet.  (Well, Dear Wife has the first option, but I don’t anticipate her exercising that option just yet.)  It probably won’t happen in any meaningful sense until I’m done with the first draft.  But I’m excited for it to happen.  I’m hopeful that readers will be as excited about this as I am…

So that’s my writing life, this week. How was yours?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2012 10:32 am

    Yes I agree, interesting how once targets are set we tend to meet them. On another topic of interest (at least to me), the post reads as if you are wiritng the novel by starting at the beginning and working your way through sequentially – am I correct? I’m always interested in how people tackle the problems associated with larger pieces of writing.

    • June 5, 2012 12:20 pm

      Heh… well… lately, I haven’t exactly been meeting my targets. It’s been quite a while, in fact, since I’ve done so. Things in life happen and over the last few months I’ve gone several long stretches without any writing at all. As for the writing process: yes, I write more-or-less sequentially. I know that’s not the only way to do it, and I’ve heard of writers who are able to dip in write a scene here, there, and wherever in the timeline of the story and somehow manage to keep their arms around it and cohere into something presentable. But my brain can’t quite wrap itself around that sort of non-linear process. That’s probably partly why I needed to write so much backstory before I could begin the novel proper – I couldn’t just make that backstory up as I went along because my brain doesn’t work that way. All that said: the story itself doesn’t take place in purely linear fashion: their are a few small flashbacks and whatnot here and there. But those flashbacks are mostly built into the structure I’ve already outlined, so I know roughly when a flashback is going to occur. And then basically I’ll write the flashback in sequential order to where it’s supposed to occur in the final narrative. Still, I’ve tried to leave myself wiggle-room in the structure to go back and make changes (for example: writing each scene rather than each chapter as a separate doc/file and numbering the scenes by 10s so that I can easily insert new scenes, if needed, in between the current scene-order). I’ve learned from recent experience that sometimes I may need to go back and add new material and new scenes here and there. Come to think of it… maybe this topic deserves its own separate post…

  2. June 5, 2012 12:08 pm

    Yup don’t worry, you’ll get a feel for the length. That’s one of the things that is easier to judge after you’ve completed a novel. 🙂

    No updates for me.

    • June 5, 2012 12:22 pm

      Yeah, the question of length is mainly of interest to me for purposes of setting my goals and targets. (Not that I’ve been terribly good at keeping those goals and targets, mind you.) But it’s hard to set those kinds of goals when you’re not even sure how long the finished work will be. I’m still developing my art of wordcount guesstimation

  3. June 6, 2012 8:06 am

    I’m still working through the writing I did last Thursday (I talked about this on my blog), when I wrote pretty much all of part six of my story Stevie One. I posted the second section on Sunday (roughly the second third of part six), and plan to post the rest this weekend. The entire part will be around 4,500 words, with about 1,500 words posted each week. Then, I’m pretty sure, there will be one more part and that will be it.

    And I agree that Martin’s question would make an interesting blog post of its own. For example, U-town (my second novel) is ~170,000 words long, and it was written pretty much from beginning to end (with a few bumps along the way), but the timeline within the novel circles around and around like a corkscrew.

    • June 6, 2012 9:32 am

      Yeah, I’m going to have to draft one up… although of course I’m really interested to understand people who don’t write from beginning to end (no matter whatever happens in the timeline of the story itself). How do they do it?

  4. June 7, 2012 10:55 am

    I dont write sequentially; actually, thinking about it that isn’t entirely true – I do sometimes, but not deliberately.
    Once I have an initial idea for a novel, I tend to let ideas about scenes I would like to include emerge and make note of them. I may get insights into a character, so I note this down too, and places, etc.
    Sooner or later (often much later), I get the sense of a plot and I scetch it out in terms of scenes. Then I write them up as a first draft in whatever order, choosing the one I’m drawn to writing at the time.
    Along the way I might get ideas for more scenes and if I can’t see exactly how they fit in, I put them at the end and decide later – often these random scenes lead to entire subplots.
    I know it sounds peculiar, but I really need to be ‘up for it’ to write a scene and if I attempt to be linear I more often that not get to a point that I just don’t feel like writing at that time and the project stalls.
    Incidentally, this is why I use scrivener – it is a godsend for us scatterbrains and the people who wrote it are all heroes in my book.

    • June 7, 2012 11:04 am

      Yeah, I was thinking when I wondered about those who write non-sequentially that tools like Scrivener would be really useful to folks in that group. I would think that it definitely empowers a writer to jump about in their plot to whatever point and better be able to track it all.

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