Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I did not meet my goal of 2,000 words a day for the month of June. Not even close. Word count-based goals are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, they are easily quantifiable, and it can be nice to have a goal which can be so easily measured. But in attempting to reach my goals, I began to write out of sequence and that tends to confuse me. Having three separate narrative threads which take place in different times, it was becoming harder and harder for me to see how the pieces fit together. The wheels came off of some of my stories, and in figuring out how to reattach them, the stories themselves have begun to change somewhat.

So later this month, I begin anew. I have decided to start over with my first draft. I have some new ideas I want to work in, and some of them need to appear at the beginning. I have been doing idea clouds on large sheets of newsprint, word clusters and such, and plan to spend the next couple of weeks working on those and maybe doing some legitimate outlining before I dive in again with page one. The large sheets of newsprint are going up on the wall near where I write.

Through the new work I have done on the overall shape of the book lately, I can see all sorts of new things. I have some new concepts to explore, while other ones are being simplified or removed. I really feel I am getting closer and closer, and was surprised how natural the decision to start over felt.

My friend Ian said that each time I talk to him about the book, the new ideas and such, he feels I am circling a target and getting closer each time. I only hope that the shape he is describing is not a spiral, that the target is not actually a drain.

I try to remind myself that Catch-22 took something like 11 years for Joseph Heller to write. Then I feel terrible for comparing my work with Catch-22.


I am going to a party today, Blogreader. How wonderfully out of character. Ostensibly, the party is based on the notion of American Independence, even though it's a day early and our current levels of independence are open to debate.

There will be people and food and such. I will not know many of the people, but I am hopeful that I will recognize some of the food.


Unknown said...

Deep Breath MT, you can do it. I did Canada day and thoroughly enjoyed the Quesadillas and Nachos!

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Mr. Moon. 2,000 a day is a lot of words. I did 1,500 the other day, and that was only a re-write but it took a big chunk of the day.

I have a writer friend who is struggling to get a hold on her novel. Her son makes computer games. The other day she watched him beginning the laborious work of creating a world - for a film, in his case. But a game-film. This work begins for him by taking close-up photos of textures, from the real world. Then playing with them, adapting them, changing them on screen - to painstakingly construct - this particular morning - a floor upon which the characters he has yet to create will be able to stand and walk. The laboriousness of it moved her - the willingness he was
displaying to work to so little immediate effect, to create something atom by atom. She was reminded that that was what she wanted to do, could
do, this ant-work, so humble and hard. and she went down to her room and began the synopsis.

My method is still to throw myself at the work with a few ideas and see what emerges. But I might have to re-think at some point, as per the above.

The Moon Topples said...

Ver: You should possibly be made aware that neither of those foods are Canadian in origin. Both are closer to Mexican, which is way the hell on the other side of our fair land.

RTS: I think I'm closer to your style than the painstaking process you've described. I'm getting a bit better at the "anti-work," but it's still not my natural inclination.

Unknown said...

Yeah, that was my point.

Pants said...

Hi Mr Topples

I admire you so much for having the courage to ditch a draft. I am on my third (unpublished) novel and I doggedly complete drafts for two reasons - 1) I get to the end and, no matter how bad the writing is - and it usually is pretty woeful in the early stages - I establish what happens and how long it takes. 2) I love rewriting and I do all rewrites from scratch just for the joy of doing it - I never cut and paste. I type like a genius, while not exactly writing like one, sadly.

I absolutely recommend that you invest your time in learning to touch type if you don't know how already. The reason being that you can get into a terrific rhythm and focus on what is happening on the screen rather than what your fingers are doing. I would say that though, I'm a piano player. I recognise that typing is only a technical skill, but for me at least, it's a pleasure to be able to type as fast as I can think.

I'm a method person too and I do keep an index box with chapter synopses and character profiles - but they're written in pencil and amenable to change. Most writers will say that characters evolve spontaneously and you have to give them space to do that. For me, it's drafts allow that to happen.

Good luck Mr Topples

I know you'll be great.



Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Beginnings are always good.

Glad you started again.

Good luck!

Scarlett & V.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

PS ~ It took Flaubert more than five years to write Madame Bovary.

You are in good company.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

The Moon Topples said...

TSP: Thanks for the nice words of encouragement.

I'm a weird touch-typing/hunt and peck hybrid. I can't type a letter off of a sheet of paper very well, but if I am composing something, I tend to get a pretty good rhythm going, where I don't really have to think about the mechanics of typing.

Scarlett: Thanks. Kind of hard to know if I'm in the Heller or Flaubert camp, or just another dude working too hard on a novel. I kind of suspect the latter, but I suppose only time will tell.