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On Reaching 50,000

posted Jan 30, 2016, 7:17 PM by Ben Kreucher   [ updated Jan 30, 2016, 7:20 PM ]
Okay, let's recap.  The rough draft of a magic, murder mystery started at 2,500 words.  The first draft of Damsels and Dinosaurs started at 1,500 words.

Week 1 Update:
After the first week, well a little more since the 1st was on a Friday, the mystery is at 4,800 words and the Dinosaur first draft is at 2,600 words.  I did, however, suffer through a cold that fogged my brain and kept me on the couch for much of the week.  But, yeah, there's a lot of ground to make up.  Not an auspicious start.
I also began a magical spoof...well, more like a look at the ordinary lives of wizards.  It currently sits at 3,200 words.  And, I wrote 300 words in an idea I had for a prologue to Within Shouting Distance.
Each should be closer to 18,000 words, if I was on track...

Things I learned in Week One:
  1. Being sick sucks (obviously) and impairs my cognitive functions
  2. Writing a new draft, from scratch, of a previously "finished" story is a lot harder for me than simply editing the first draft.  It's harder to get excited about the adventure and the discovery, harder to get drawn into the characters, it's more obvious (to me) that I'm writing and not exploring a new world.
  3. Before starting NaNoWriMo last November, I had a detailed outline and character profiles for each of my main characters, this time I decided to just wing it...much harder different.
  4. Dedicating all my time, thought, and effort to one project allowed my mind to focus on that and eliminate other distractions.  This time, I write one story and switch to another and, in my non-writing time, I dip into each world; it's interesting.
Total words written: 10,900

Week 2 Update:
Sunday and Monday, I was busy with the death of a great uncle (my Dad's uncle).  Thursday, Alan Rickman died.  The point is, life comes at you fast.  You need to make time for what you want.  It snowed, perhaps for the first time this winter...or was that last week?
I, unfortunately, didn't add much to the mystery.  Or the Dinosaur draft.  My mind kept wanting to play in the wizard world.  So, I kept myself there.  Or it [my mind] kept me there.  It's now at 14,400 words.  
I did have a few moments of distraction when I thought of a space story like Star Wars except every gender is swapped.  Like, 100% flipped, e.g. Darth Vader is a woman (Darth Mudder?), every stormtrooper is a lady because they're clones of Jango Fett, also a girl, etc.  So, I penned a few hundred words for that...about 500.
I also rewrote the prologue for Within Shouting Distance that I wrote last week.  I felt it gave too much away too early.  It's still short, only 600 words.

Things I learned in Week Two:
  1. My brain likes to focus more on one story above the others. Mostly, it's whichever one is newest.
  2. Make time for what you love.
  3. Don't self-edit, just write.  Revise later.
  4. I've begun to realize that writing almost 2,000 words a day in two different works requires a lot of mental heavy-lifting.  (And, way less video gaming than I first imagined. ;-) Same amount of naps, though).
Total words written: 22,900

Week 3 Update:
Well, since I decided to focus solely on the semester in the life of a college wizard, I've struggled along and added nearly 16,000 words.  It's now at 30,000.  Not bad for not starting with an outline, just a general sense of where to begin, what might happen in the middle, and how it might end.  Of course, a genie threw a wrench in those vague plans.
I did get the urge to jump into my dinosaur editing project on Saturday.  So, I nailed down a few more world building details to solidify the government more concretely in my notes.
I wrote about 1,200 words in a superhero adventure I hope to complete soon.

Things I learned in Week Three:
  1. Somewhere around the 25,000-27,000 word mark, my brain decides to completely hate the story.
  2. I start worrying that the story sucks.
  3. I realized that the middle is where I want to start over and rewrite everything instead of pushing onward to the end and discovering where the story and characters take me.
  4. When inspiration happens in the middle of the night, write it down.  It's better to lose a little sleep now than forget the idea and lose a lot of sleep later.
Total words written: 40,100

Week 4 Update:
I pretty much focused solely on my (hopefully humorous) wizard adventure.  It's now at 50,600 words.  Phew.  Is it done?  Are novels ever, truly, done?  Gosh, I hope not.  Even if it's the best thing I read all week, it's probably still really terrible and needs editing...or a good ending.  Or a good beginning.  Middle.  A new protagonist.  Crisper dialogue.  Funnier moments.  More intense passion.
If there's such a thing as a comedic tragedy, I just wrote it.  And, if that's not a glowing endorsement, I don't know what is.
But, seriously, no, it's not finished.  Not yet.  It is, however, near the end.  And then, the fun begins, i.e. the editing process.

Things I learned in Week Four:
  1. I push the save button, hoping it will inspire me.  (It's not the muse button.)
  2. I wonder if titling this post "On Reaching 50,000" hindered me.  Like, perhaps I should've titled it "On Reaching 150,000"?
  3. Writing 6,000 words a day feels like a lot, but it helped my brain grow...I think.  Maybe.  
    1. Either that or it's broken.
    2. (You're supposed to have a two, if you have a one.)
  4. Rules.  Make them up.  Break them anyway.  Except with magic.  Then things end badly.

Total words written*: 60,700

*Not including notes written or the 8 posts I wrote for Hilarity Is....

Overall, not a bad month for writing.  Still not at 10,000 words a day, but that's not necessarily the goal (though, it could be).  The goal is to write every day.  And so far, I've almost succeeded in that.  Sundays are hard.  Perhaps, one day off out of seven isn't such a bad thing.  Helps me marinate ideas and lets my brain rest.

Not too shabby for a month's work (of writing).  And there's still one more day left...technically.
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