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Writing Progress: Week Ending November 10, 2012

November 13, 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?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2012 1:07 pm

    That sounds like a great week for you, and you’re probably more than 1/3 done that short story already. Sometimes a story just needs to be written and it won’t wait. They’re such unruly things!

    My week was also good. I finished the novel I was working on (first draft). I’m not sure how many words that was, but it doesn’t really matter since its done! hehe. Though, since then I’ve been a bump on a log and haven’t done anything writerly since last Friday. This break was earned though, I suppose.

    • November 15, 2012 12:03 pm

      And hey, congratulations on finishing that first draft! That’s a huge accomplishment. And a well-deserved break indeed.

  2. November 14, 2012 9:30 pm

    Yay for short story progress!

    I feel your pain with the novel-writing process. Takes a lot of endurance to finish one… Stick with it and we’ll get there eventually though, right? 😀

    Not much progress for me this week, I’m afraid. :/ My part-time job has been giving me full-time hours–something I’ve got to learn to readjust to, I’m realizing. I’d requested to work part-time so I’d have time to work on starting my own business. Now I’m kinda wracking my brains trying to figure out how to juggle that, the job and this novel-writing business when I feel my energy is so low by the time I get home… (New experience for me, tbh.) Though, it’s not like I couldn’t use the extra money!

    This past week I’ve just felt sooooo tired… o.O But the butt’s in the chair now and I’m taking another stab at editing, so we’ll see how much I get done tonight. 🙂

    • November 15, 2012 12:10 pm

      Yes, that’s something I never really understood before. How mentally exhausted you get from other stuff. From College to real-world day job, I saw a hit to my mental and creative capacities. From Day Job to Day Job And Also Fatherhood I saw another hit. (Didn’t help that Fatherhood came along while I was also in the midst of Day Job and Part Time Masters Degree Studenting; I saw a small creative and mental energy lift after the part-time MBA dropped off… but there’s still the day job and being a parent to contend with.)

      This has left me feeling pretty down lately… looking back and thinking: I had no idea how hard it would be to find time to write later in life. Why, oh why didn’t I spend more of my comparably freer time in earlier parts of my life focused on my writing? It leaves me feeling that, basically, I missed my boat.

      So, my advice to younger writers a few years behind me: You think you’re tired and mentally exhausted or creatively spent now? It gets worse. So make the most of the time you have now, because it will be a long time before you have it so good again.

      I don’t mean that negatively, and hope it doesn’t come out that way. It’s the voice of regret.

  3. November 15, 2012 8:02 am

    “But it’s the short story I feel like telling right now, and that’s that.” That’s the most important thing, I think.

    I agree with Tiyana; a novel is an endurance event. People sometimes say it’s a marathon rather than a sprint, but that’s not a good analogy since you finish a marathon in a single day. 🙂

    As I’ve said before, A Sane Woman took me 15 years, and it’s barely a novel. But it’s good (IMHO, and others have agreed) and it’s never going to make me rich or famous, but it’s the story I wanted to tell. That was worth waiting for.

    • November 15, 2012 12:15 pm

      Worth waiting for, yes. I just need to keep telling myself that. Because at this rate it’s going to take me 15 years, too…

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