“Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.”
It’s a great quote by Hemingway, and not altogether inaccurate. That’s what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks–bleeding. At the beginning of summer I looked at the pages that I had written over the past few years and the outline that I had to do for class and I estimated that my book would be about 100,000 words long (about 400 pages). It seemed to be a healthy estimate, considering the genres I’d be dabbling in and the amount of story that I wanted to cover. I set down a goal of 12,500 words a week (2,500 words a day, or around 10 pages). This was a little daunting, made more so when I read that Warren Ellis (author of comics, novels, television, etc) was also working on a novel over the summer of the same approximate length, except he started earlier and was battling his way to 5,000 words a week. Granted, he had a number of other projects that he was also working on, but when a professional, someone who has made a pretty decent living at this, is battling each week toward your two day goal … well, shit.
Here I am, several weeks on from my initial goals and estimates. I have not managed to do 12,500 words every week since the second to last week of June, but I’m coming along at a pretty fair clip. I’m now sitting at about 53,000 words (over halfway to goal) thanks to writing between 2500 and 5000 words a day, most days. I’ve continuously checked my progress against the increasingly fewer days remaining until the end of summer and that word count, and if I keep up pace of about 4000 words a day, I can hit 100,000 words in just under 15 days. That’s not too shabby. Of course, the word count is only part of the story.
Story would be the rest of the equation. I had my action divided into a rough Three Act Structure. I’m still working my way to the end of Act One of that structure. That’s not to say that each Act is going to be 75,000 words in length. In fact, Act Two and Act Three will be considerably shorter than Act One, but there is still story that needs to be told there. I’m doing well with words, but I’m also working on keeping the story moving as well.
I also need to write a prospectus very soon and meet with my thesis advisor so that I can sign up for thesis.
I think I’ll make my goals, both this summer and overall. Once I get a draft on paper, I will be able to refine the story, with will involve both removing words and adding them. My estimates had involved me working 5 days a week on this book, and most weeks that I’ve been writing I have been writing 6 days (my brain seems to pretty consistently crap out at least one day a week. I still have pretty far to go, but I’ll get there. I have to, there’s a deadline.
More later …