Writing Update: May 24, 2011

Progress on my work in progress came in big chunks since my last post.  At the start of my writing day on May 15th, I had 48577 words. Today I ended the day at 62137 words. That’s 13560 words in 9 days or an average of 1506 words per day. My low was 428 words and my high was 2921. The 2921 words I wrote last Saturday while sitting in a perfect writing chair at The Bookery, a book store / coffee shop in Ephrata, Washington.  I was visiting my in-laws, and while Grandma and Papa were watching the kids, I snuck off for some serious writing time. Three hours of solid time at the keyboard, and the numbers to prove it.

I’ve completed the setup for the third act, and will begin writing towards the climax tomorrow (or later tonight if I don’t get get trapped on the couch watching Sons of Anarchy again.)

My gut tells me I have somewhere around 6 chapters left, at 2000 words each, which should bring me in around 75000 words, give or take a few. That’s about right.  Looks like the end of next week, if not earlier, figuring that this is a long weekend and I don’t have any major plans besides some outings with the kids. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I am going to have to completely rewrite the second act of the book. Probably 20000-25000 words. I’m not excited about that, but I know it’s the right thing to do. But I’m also not going to do it right away.  I’m going to do a quick read through edit after the first draft is done, then let my readers read it. Then it will sit on my shelf for a few months while I do edits on The Forgotten Road and Army Of The Risen

It’s important to let a book sit a while after the first draft is done to let it breathe. The time away creates the distance you need to look objectively at it. It’s crude, but I always say that time away gives you the ability to “Kill your babies.” – those sections you just love, but don’t contribute to the work as a whole.  You can’t see those sections when you are too close to it.  It also prevents you from deleting the sections you should keep that give the book the feel and the flow you originally intended.

Right now I’m ready to be done with this book. I’ve been working on it off and on since January 2, 2011 and five months is entirely too long for a first draft to take. Some people may work on a book for ten years, but that’s not me. I see the story unfold in front of me as I’m writing, and taking too long to write it makes it seem like the story is slower than it is. I would prefer no more than 90 days from Chapter One to The End. That’s under a thousand words a day, and totally achievable.  Keeping the flow going over five or six months is just too difficult, and it really starts to affect me personally to have it hanging over me like the Sword of Damocles day after day. 

And besides, I came up with a really cool new story idea over the weekend, and I really want to dive into that one!