Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 1: 11 Chapters / 19,323 Words

Autumn has officially begun and I've just completed my first full week of writing on my new WIP. I'd certainly call the first week a success. The novel has grown slightly: I'm now estimating 80 chapters and 100k words.

My goal is to complete 10 chapters per week for 8 weeks. I reached 11 chapters this first week. The chapters are running long, so the word count is higher than it should be. At 11 chapters, it should average out to 13,750 words. I completed 19,323 words, which means I'm hammering out about 40% more than I need to.

It's hard to keep it as short as I want it to be! Some of this can be edited away when I tighten the prose. However, in a few chapters I planned to abbreviate through narrative summary and I'm finding it hard to summarize and thereby "leave out" scenes. I tend to want to dramatize these steps since they are interesting in their own right and help flesh out the world and characters as well as advance the plot, so I end up with two or three scenes where I should have only one with some summary to move things along.

At first I was worrying about this but now I've decided to just go with it. This is the first draft and I would be better off having the extra scenes in case I decide to use them later. I can expand the word count as needed. Better to stay true to the story and these scenes seem vital enough to warrant inclusion as I'm writing them. Once I complete the draft then I can put my editor's cap back on and reorganize or cut out scenes as appropriate.

Today I'm starting the second week and looking forward to it. Hope it's as easy as the first week. I really breezed through the writing thanks to all the planning, and I feel the overall quality is pretty good for the first draft. I just have to keep my confidence up -- I realize all too well that I've left behind the logical planning stage and am now immersed in the creative phase, and I have to respect that. This is not the time to rethink things, or analyze the plot. I just need to write, to follow the blueprint, the map, the plan. Let it happen, and it will happen. Then, I can clean up the messes later. Overall, I'm doing really well with sticking to the plan and maintaining continuity.

Marching on,



Debra Young said...

Glad to hear it! I'm always wresting with re-thinking the plot while I write, and really, you just have to start writing and stick to it! I tell myself all the time--write it now; fix it later! Good going, Adrian!

Adrian Swift said...

Thanks for sharing your comment, Debra!

Yes, I can tell I'm in "create" mode right now. The chaos that comes with it is normal. I thoroughly enjoyed the "plan" mode where everything was logical and could be (and had to be) pinned down, made concrete and specific. I did a lot of work in that mode so I have a lot to draw from in creating, but now I must just "create" and let it become what it will become through this process.

In this WIP, I am only adding in scenes that I had planned to summarize in brief paragraphs of narrative summary. I'm not creating and adding entirely new, unforeseen scenes. I had explored the story pretty thoroughly so I'm not running into "those kind" of surprises (at least, not yet). I always did run into that in every other novel I've worked on -- this is a first for me to have such extensive planning on this scale. I like it whole lot. It really helps counter the confusion that I suffer from when creating.

So, now I just have to stay the course and keep writing. For seven more weeks. The word "marathon" comes to mind!

Best wishes for your current WIP,