Well it’s been 2 years of boom and bust (but more bust).
I’m up to 36,000 words. I’ve checked my daily progress on yWriter and this time last year I had 18,000. At this rate I’m looking at another 3 years to a first draft of 90,000.
The PC slate is working well on the train, but to get the best from yWriter I find I need to be on my desktop. I need to have 2 monitors so I can bounce from the chapter I’m writing to my notes and to other scenes.
Here’s a bit of a break down of my output.
- 20,00 to 25,000 took about 2 months.
- 25 to 30,000 took nearly 6 months.
- 30 to 35,000 took a month and half
- My biggest day was 1300 words, but the next biggest was 600 words.
- My daily range when (when I actually start) is 100 to 250 – this is mainly on the train to and from work.
Given this will most likely be another ‘trunk’ novel I’m thinking I might lower my target to 60,000. I need to go through the process of polishing and completing an entire project. I don’t want to get into the same cycle of endlessly scratching for more words and fiddling about. I know 60,000 is in writing no-man’s land, too long to be a novella and too short to be a novel, but I think that might be how long the story is.
If I’m happy with it, and I get good feedback, I might dump it in the seething epub ocean so friends and family can access it. If I’m really happy with it I might do the Podiobook thing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I’m going to try for a minimum of 150 words a day for at least 5 days of the week, that potentially gives me 3000 words a month and potentially gets me to 60,000 words by November/December.
So let’s be realistically optimistic and aim for a first draft by the end of January.
I’m still at it.
I have abandoned the iPad (for writing). I picked up a Samsung Series 7 Slate. Core i5 runing Windows 7. The interface isn’t as slick as the iPad but I don’t have to fiddle around with a cobbled collection of apps that don’t work as well as one application on a PC.
I can now use Y writer on the train and at home. I have all the Ywriter files in Dropbox and it’s working well.
I have slowly crept up to 30,000 words and I’m thinking I might aim at making the story a novella rather than hunt around for extra sub plots. I suspect when I get the main arc done and start revisions they will make themselves known.
I have come to a compromise.
I finished my outline and created notional chapter headings using yWriter. When I was happy that the structure was pretty right I exported the lot and loaded it into Evernote. I have loaded Evernote on my computer and I use this when writing at home. It syncs up with my iPad which I use on the train.
It’s a clunky way to get started but it seems to be working well now.
I have stalled. I was skipping along until I had a mismatch of technology.
On the train (where I get a lot of writting done) I use Evernote on my iPad, but at home I use Ywriter (free- thank you Simon Hayes who has a YA Spacejock book out).
I got the structure right but transferring files and managing versions became a pain. I started looking for a different solution, then kind of just stopped.
What I am waiting for is a good cheap Win 7 tablet to replace the iPad
For me, characters and beginings seem to come fairly easily. At the moment I have some ideas for the middle.
But ends are always a struggle. I can get them into trouble, but how do I get them out of it. How does my hapless main character get strong enough to win without changing into something he’s not.
Today it came to me. I was looking at the main character and I thinking about his arc, and I suddenly realised that the main joke in his back story provided the answer. I have no idea how that happened.
I suppose that’s the trick, finding the balance between following process and trusting imagination.
Anyway back to the process.
- Formal planning takes time.
- I’m finding Ywriter very useful.
- I wonder if all the planning will suck the spontaneity out of the writing when I finally start.
- I have avoided numerous character dead ends and potential re-writes already.
- Going for a walk is a better way to sort out plot points than banging out stream of consciousness crap on the keyboard.
- Reading books that have almost, but not quite, got it right, is useful when I am plotting.
- Research can hijack my mind and turn a good simple story into a crappy tentacled plot.
- Selective re-listening to a range of writing podcasts has helped me make decisions about structure and characters.
Not an amusing list and possibly only helpful to me, but there you go.
I will constuct a list of podcast episodes I used to help me plan out the story. ”Cameron’s online guide to not f**king up before you start.”
I have finally abandoned the morass of text that is my manuscript.
I started using Ywriter to try to organize all the dud sub plots and orphaned jokes. Instead of pulling it together I started doing a whole new series of ‘what it’s. What if I gave the secondary character his own sub plot, what if the hero used a slingshot to win the final battle, what if the dog was psychic, what if…WTF.
The whole thing needs to be re-plotted and rewritten. It has become a writing exercise. A 10 year, 120,000 word writing exercise.
So it’s time to send it to the trunk and trot out the next story.
This time I’m plotting the whole thing out. I’m going to have a plan for the boring bits that I don’t want to write, and the jokes will align with the plot (rather than the other way around). I want to get the whole thing done in 12 months. I’ve had my play, it’s time to have a serious crack at it. I’m not expecting to produce anything publishable, just something structured and competent – and finished.
I don’t think the million words are supposed to be all rewrites of the one story. Most published writers knock out 3 or 4 (or 5) unpublished novels before they get it right.
So, time to start number 2.