Writing Progress: Week Ending November 10, 2012

This past week was, I have to see, was a legitimately good week:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 219 words

Super Secret Project:

  • Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V :

  • Wordcount: 1,764 words

Grand Total: 1,983 words

I wasn’t going to start working on a new short story until I heard back about whether I’d be moving forward with the Super Secret Project.  I didn’t want to get involved in another creative project when I’ve already got more on my plate than I can legitimately spend any time focusing on.

Well, I didn’t hear back on Super Secret Project, though I’m comfortable guessing that my proposal didn’t make the cut.  Either way, I had time to write this past week… and I’ve been feeling creatively stuck on the Book of M.  I’ll get back to that in a bit, but first I’ll spend a little talking about the new short story.

Like the last short story I worked on, this one is based on an idea and flash fiction first posted here on this blog.  Like that one, this will expand upon the idea of the flash-length story, add new depth, new dimensions, and new characters, and re-examine the plot.  While my last story wasn’t successful in the sense that it did not accomplish my writing-career aims I still considered an artistic success – I felt it was better than the previous short story I had written.  Both of those turned out to be novelette-length stories: both were over ten thousand words in length.

This time, I feel more confident that I’m writing a true short story.  Unlike last time, I’m not taking the basic plot sketched in the flash short and running in a whole new direction: I’m keeping the same plot structure.  But I’d been unsatisfied with the flash short because I didn’t feel it accomplished what I’d wanted it to, mainly because it lacked some important development of the main characters.   So what I’m doing with this story is I’m mainly fleshing out the characters and filling in the plot to make the story complete.  But overall, it’ll have the same structural arc.

At just over seventeen hundred words, it’s already longer than the flash it was based on.  I expect it to be about 4,000 words when it’s done, give or take a little.

Past experience would suggest that when I say “I expect it to be about 4,000 words” that what I really mean is “It’ll probably be about 6-7,000 words”.  We’ll see, but in this case I don’t think so.  I really think it’ll stay fairly short.

When it’s done and polished, I’m sure I’ll send it off to Writers of the Future or something like that.  And I’m equally sure it won’t win any prizes.  But it’s the short story I feel like telling right now, and that’s that.

As for the Book of M… I’ve alluded to some frustrations I’ve been having with it, lately.  “Creatively stuck” is one way of putting it, but it’s not really an accurate way of putting it.  I don’t have writer’s block.  I know basically what happens next… I just need to write it.

Rather, two things have been bothering me about it.  First, there’s my progress, or lack thereof.  The past couple months have been painful in how slow it’s been.  It’s literally been fits and starts: a week with 500 words here.  A week with 200 words there.  And lots and lots of weeks of plain flat nothing in between.  The writing and progress has been so disjointed, there’s no continuity in my writing head.  Each time I sit down to write, I’m starting from scratch.  I expect that it’ll read the way it was written: very disjointed and incongruous and fidgety.  Which is to say: not very good at all.

I realize this stuff can be fixed in editing.  But it makes it harder to write in the first place, never mind editing, because I’m so disconnected from the story.

Maybe now’s just not a good time in my life to try to be working on this thing.  I don’t know.  But the thought of arresting my progress entirely, the thought of giving up – even with the promise of coming back to it later – it’s even more depressing than the ugly and slow progress I’ve had these past few months.

So I keep going as much as I can… and I resign myself to the realization that not only am I writing complete and utter crap, but I’m writing it slowly.

And that bothers me, too… because it’s not like I’d figured on finishing this any time soon, as it was.  Even at what I considered a modest and successful pace of 2,000 words a week, I knew this thing was going to take me years to finish.  But at the abysmally slow pace of… what… a few hundred words a week, on average?  I can’t say there’s any likelihood at all that I’ll ever finish.

Yes, I know, it wasn’t likely I’d ever be a published fantasy novelist in the real world as it was.  But it’s downright impossible to be a published fantasy novelist if you can’t finish a single fantasy novel.  I’m not getting any younger here… and, unfortunately, my novel mostly isn’t getting any more written, either.

Enough of my grumbling.  Maybe you’ve had a better week, in writing and/or in life, I hope?  Why don’t you tell me about it?