Monday, February 28, 2011

The long haul. How many words...

The long haul. How many words...

Well now, it's monday evening, and i'm still frantically chasing the end of this book. It's an elusive beast. I'm getting tired of chasing it, and might have to wait until it comes to me, at this rate (I'm somewhere between 10 and 15 K off. Given that i can write 5K a day on a good day, and have been doing between 3-4 most days for the last 2 weeks, that really is getting close. I am, unfortunately, a very slow writer. 5K is a long day, around 14 hours of work, typically - as I get stuck, rewrite bits. I am also quite a 'dense'(well, it's a kinder worder than 'thick' don't you think) writer and typically a 'scene' runs to around 1.5K -2K, which makes me something like twice as terse as Eric, and about fifteen times as terse as your bodice-ripper paranormal vampire tale. I've tried not to be, but failed, so I've given up. That aspect of my style is consistant. So they're long complicated days, not leaving much room for life around them. It's why, if I had to finally give up chasing the writing dream, my output will drop a lot. I'd be lucky to do a book a year.

So about how much do you write a day, and just how do you keep going for the long haul?

Oh By the way - must apologise about CRAWLSPACE AND OTHER STORIES. I have no idea what is going on and no time to follow it up right now.

17 comments:

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Know the feeling Dave.

I've been chasing the end of my trilogy for about a month now. Had to go back tot he start of book three and rework it again.

MataPam said...

No, no, no! You published and accomplished and known authors can't possibly be having the same problems I have. I just a beginner. Was looking foreward to _not_ having these problems anymore.

For me, I can only force myself to write by not allowing myself to do anything else. I'm a lousey housekeeper, so when vacuuming starts sounding good I know I'm in trouble. I have to cut myself off from the internet, for starters. No, I don't really need to research more deeply, nor check my email. Fortunately the TV doesn't much interest me. But I could go bake something . . .

Five thousand words a day is a rare occurance. Bad days, I force myself to write at least a thousand.

Oh, the other time sink. Rereading and editing. Big No. Can't do it and make forward progress. Finish first, then edit.

And yes, I've completely rewritten and turned books around. I tell myself that that's just a matter of haveing learned a few things in the mean time. As the casually mentioned third party becomes both the main protagonist and the main antagonist. ::sigh::

Dave Freer said...

Thanks Rowena. And of course real life continues to intervene. onwards

Dave Freer said...

Nope, MataPam - it's still S.O.P. just like waiting for answers on books and proposals - which I thought might change.

twittertales said...

My writing "quota" is twenty hours a week, including research & blogging (so it's possible to go a week without "real" writing, but then I get cravings for it). Other people's novels count as one hour of research. I've filled my quota every week since 2006. When I'm waiting for publishers to reply, it makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere.

I can write a thousand words an hour fairly easily and consistently (I once wrote a 50,000 novel in three days), but at the moment I'm trying to walk the slow path and see if the writing is better as a result.

For my next book, I'm not going to let myself write more than a chapter a day, and if I don't feel excited by a chapter I'll put it off until I can believe in what I'm doing. Finishing the ---- thing is no longer my first priority. By now I know that I'll finish everything I start.

Louise Curtis

Kate Paulk said...

Writing goals? Damn, I just try to write something each day. That doesn't mean I succeed, either.

I'm totally in awe of people who can manage multiple novels plus a full time job.

Chris McMahon said...

At the moment - pretty close to zero. Life is not cooperating. Not a happy camper.

Kate Paulk said...

Chris M,

I hear you. There are times when one new word on the page is an achievement.

Mike said...

Matapam? Your third party became both the main protagonist and antagonist? One lonely character, where the great battle between good and evil is being fought across the lobes of a brain torn in two, with the prize a soul... in glory or in torment? Usually it takes two to tango, but I suppose you could turn one character into both sides of the tale. Sounds difficult... ah, wait, twins?

Kate Paulk said...

Mike,

It's much easier than that - he just gets in his own way. (Runs and hides)

MataPam said...

Mike,

It's not as bad as it sounds. Really. It was a mere three way spy war across dimensions. With the focus on two of the groups. The third polity, well, they were just supposed to be justification for for one side, sort of like if the USSR was there, then the US _had_ to jump in. But the nice guy I used as a brief POV got pushy and wanted more page time, and his companions really are as bad as advertized, so now he's got this moral dilemma and turned into the most interesting character.

If only I hadn't given them all weird names to make it obvious which group they belonged to.

Lucius said...

If the protagonist is the character who changes during the story, and the antagonist is the character who forces the change of the protagonist, it's quite possible to have both be the same character.

Writing is something I regard as an unusually frustrating hobby.
It'll take me longer to clock my 10,000 hours, but I sure don't envy those of you who are trying to make a living at it.

My goal is 6 hours a week of sitting at the keyboard, writing. What that averages word-wise depends on the day. As long as what I write doesn't totally suck, I'm pretty happy with the progress, however meager it may be.
When I make it, I tend to make it by large margins. But I'm shooting for a floor, not a ceiling.

Dave Freer said...

Louise, I'm envious. My best is 6K in a day. I'm usually quite excited by what I write though. It's also very satisfying to pull off hard chapters and make the implausible seem likely, and weaving ends together... that's good

Dave Freer said...

Kate, yeah. Been there, done that. Hope I can avoid it...

Dave Freer said...

Chris. Hang in. Life does this

Dave Freer said...

Lucius, I don't envy myself ;-). I do about 10 000 hours roughly every 2 years...
No, I am not very efficient.
But I am stubborn.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Dave,
I did that for a week, sent the mystery off and am now in the middle of a space opera that wants to be two books, neither of them will let me outline them PRECISELY. Which is a pain since the two books connect in the middle, and until I know that, I don't know which comes first.