Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A start, at least (at last)

Finally broke through and made some progress on the novel tonight, after struggling so much lately over the intro. I had less than 400 words earlier today, but now have zoomed to 3,500. I should pass the part of the plot I had initially reached in December by the end of the week.

I feel like it's starting to take shape and be the story I wanted to tell. I'm still way shy of my target, but a few more days like this and I'll feel pretty good about my progress.

Tomorrow I shall don the shirt I received from Ian and see what I can do about passing the 5,000 word mark.

I read about a site that's encouraging some sort of incremental novel writing project. It's called Word Count Journal and the idea is that you write one word your first day, two the second and so on for a year. By the time you're required to write 365 words in a day, you've got 66,795 words, which is pretty much novel-length. I thought about trying it, but don't think I can write like that. All the prose would be extremely, Hemmingwayishly terse at the beginning. It'd be weeks before I could write even a complete sentence all at once. No good for scatter-brained swoopers like me. Still, for any plodders out there daunted by the idea of writing a full length piece, this might be a way to achieve that, bit by bit.

I'm pretty sure Hemmingwayishly is a word. Still, it won't be one of the 100,000.

As much as I wanted to shift the tone of things and start over, it's also possible that I was blocking myself out of fear of moving forward. This isn't a book I can just chuck like the NaNo one. This one is important to me, and I think I've been worried that I'll ruin it.

So now that's the goal. "Try not to ruin it."

It's a little weird, still, the process of writing itself. I have gotten used to most of my creative output being collaborative through my years in theater and the band, and it feels strange to be creating something more or less alone.

I'm pressing on, though. I'm excited again, and ready to do the work. Once I build up some momentum, I should be all set.

Because I have a freakish side about certain public challenges, I am now declaring that I will finish the first draft by the middle or March. Done before St. Patrick's Day, that's my motto. Accomplishing this requires the same 1,667 word per day commitment that NaNo did, assuming 60 working days between now and then.

No sweat. Right? Right?!?


Unknown said...

You can do it. I did for my book last year. Somedays a fluid and more words come and other days well....

Well done on the start.


Rick said...

Ack! I haven't tried to write that much since my days at uni! In many ways I think university (completed MA) burned me out for serious writing. Having to publish once and a while (uni teacher) is an absolute curse to me. My blog is the only place I enjoy writing, and even there I'm clearly a lazy SOB of a writer (I am not, nor will I ever be, a "detail" person).
Anyway, I envy your spirit! Good luck with the novel.

Caroline said...

Sounds good to me. No sweat at all.
I'll be here to cheer you on.
St. Patrick's day ... no problem ... I was thinking more like Christmas for me!!!! Think I need to go faster. Have the novel racers set a deadline?

The Moon Topples said...

Liz: Thanks for the encouragement. I keep trying to remind myself that any day I write 3,000 words is technically buying me a day off later.

Kyklops: I suppose you've unearthed one of the advantages of having being a flighty dilettante for most of my life. Suddenly, dropping out of college to be an actor and ten years of writing little more than three-minute pop tunes feels like the calculated leaps of a genius avoiding burnout.

Caroline: It looks like most everyone is looking at the four-to-six months range for a first draft.

Caroline said...

OK I return with focus.
I have done 28,000 words.
5,000 words a week.
10 weeks.
First draft complete.
That takes me to weekend of St Patrick's Day! And we're off ...

Thank you ;-0

The Moon Topples said...

Caroline: Hmmm. I happen to know that you 28,000 words weren't all written since the race began.

Nonetheless, I wish you much success.

Liz Dwyer said...

Good for you to make so much progress. You can totally do it by March. We're cheering you on!

The Moon Topples said...

liz: Thanks. You warm my frozen, evil heart with your sentiments.

Nikki Neurotic said...

Good luck, I know that once you buckle down and get serious the writing will get easier and easier. Can't wait for the finished product!

Caroline said...

It's no secret.
28,000 words used to 42,000 words that were written in November. Kate was happy for me to have a staggered start.

The Moon Topples said...

Silver: Thanks for the supportive comment.

Caroline: No one is begrudging you your totally unfair advantage.