This got a little long, so I’m putting it behind a cut.
I’m calling draft #1 complete. It needs a lot of work, but I’ve hit a good stopping point. I came about 10,000 words short of my goal. I may still hit it in revisions, but I just felt like I had reached my limit and anything more at this point would be nickel and diming the book to death.
The climax I chose probably needs some back fill to have it make sense outside of my head, and I also have some stuff I keep telling myself I’m going to remove. But otherwise, I think I’ve got the core structure done. I’ve sent it to a couple people, and want to see how leotarded it reads before going for a slightly broader critique audience.
I’m going to spend the next several days working on other projects. I’ve got a novella that’s been unfinished for nearly a year that I want to clean up. I also need to get cracking on a submission to Nathan Crowder for a POD anthology he wants to do. Hopefully I’ll be able to club CotRK a bit more before November hits, but I also need to get back on track with research for this year’s novel that does not have a cute name yet.
Got a good stretch done at lunch Friday. Saturday was kind of a bust for writing. No writing accomplished Saturday. In the morning it was just a meandering sprawl of doing other stuff. In the evening I mostly worked on trying to make sense of the rules I was using for the one-shot Sunday. Sunday morning involved me driving over to Bellevue and back. I was supposed to meet someone for coffee, but she never got back to me. I had meanwhile promised to drop something off while I was on that side of the water, so even though my coffee plans fell through, I still had to drive over there. Then I had to finish cleaning the apartment before people showed up. Got a good chunk written last night, though, due in large part to guilt over not writing Saturday. So that was good.
Not sure about the climax I’m working up for the book. There’s a certain amount of me in all the characters, but I see it most strongly in my main character. My decision was that I wanted to have the climax be very personal to the character instead of just a big actiony stab-things-in-face climax. But it feels like it’s cutting too close to home for me. The last thing I want to do is be the guy who writes himself as the protagonist for all his novels. =P But, this is also just the first draft. I can revise it heavily on the next pass. I’m also getting a little concerned that I might not be able to wring 70K out of this. Maybe in the second draft, but with my current writing plans I just don’t think it’s in the cards. Bah.
Got a big chunk of writing at lunch yesterday. Was depressed to find that I got twice as much written in half an hour than I did in two hours at the type and gripe. I don’t know why I hoped to be more productive there. I’m usually not. Overall making good progress to hit 70K by the end of the month. Assuming, of course, that I can manage to wring that much plot out of the book. =P
Got some good writing done at lunch yesterday. The girlfriend figures that, not counting writing at lunch, I have about 13 days that I’ll be able to get some writing in. If I don’t get in lunch writing, that pushes my daily goal up to over a thousand. I’m debating whether or not I want to curtail going to the gym until I finish this. Otherwise I could be hosed.
Due to a combination of events, I’ve failed to update this in a while. A big chunk of it is simply a cycle of “I forgot to note how many words I have” and “I know how many words I have, but don’t have time to update.
I’m not satisfied with my progress of late. 19 days, less than 3000 words. A thousand of that was written yesterday. Just nickel and diming this thing, when really I just want to club this down in a swift and brutal fashion. Bah. Most of my writing lately seems to be at work during lunch. Up until last week I still had something of a cough, so I skipped the gym. Now I stubbed my little toe and seem to have caused some lasting damage, so I’m waiting for that to heal.
What I’m utterly failing to do is write outside of work. My weekends have been full and I just haven’t been of a mind to focus on it. I think the girlfriend is right and I just need to keep up with this log so that I have a better sense of my progress instead of just ignoring it.
My current goal is to finish the first draft by the end of the month so I can shift my energy to a couple smaller projects. My target word count is about 70K. I should probably have more, since I have a couple big chunks I want to remove, but based off of current content I think 70K is viable. That’s a little over 700 words a day.
Any way you cut it, it’s been a month.
I tried the hail mary option, trying to solicit some advice, but the more I thought about why it was a dilema, the more I realized that I just had to face the facts and admit that I’d taken the wrong track.
My original motivation for taking the path I did was that as I drew up to 50K, I was realizing that this was just the first act. It had become a much larger story in the process of extracting it. I thought that I could just write a second act and be done with it, but the reality was that the book changed tone, perspective and pacing drastically when I tried to do that. It really just lost everything that I thought was good about the first act.
So I saved a backup of my previous version, trimmed away the act two I had started for use in later iterations, and pared it down to just the first act. I’m now reworking the end of that first act to have it wrap up with an opening for a sequel. Which galls me a little. I didn’t want to write a series. I wanted a self contained story. But I think it’s the only way it would really work at this point. I imagine this is how the Song of Ice and Fire or Wheel of Time series started out. “Really, it seemed like such a simple idea when I started…”
Really quick update before I start work.
I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks fighting off a bug. It got ugly, there were antibiotics eventually. I kept plugging away at writing. I’ve been mostly snatching time at lunch at work.
The words have not been coming well. I think part of it is an uncertainty of how to get from where I am to the end I have in mind. Which may be part of the problem. The goal of this book was to let my muse have full reign (rein?), but instead I’ve been trying to work towards a specific end at this point.
Another part of it is wondering if I’m taking this in the right direction. When I drew up to 50K, I came to realize that I had merely written a first act and that I needed to wrap it up with a second act. But the second act is a very different beast from the first act. I’ve mulled around ideas like being loose with the timeline, so that the second act is interwoven with the first act. But some of it could get really confusing.
The other option, which I’ve infrequently considered, is splitting it up into more than one book. Currently no single part is big enough to stand alone as a novel. But I could conceivably flesh out the first act and then draw out my current “second act” so that it could be a series of novels. I’m not sure if I want to do that. I don’t want to become the next George RR Martin…
I think, overall, my doubt is becoming overwhelming. I know of at least one person I could probably get a brutally honest opinion from, but I’m not sure I want to open that bag.