14,000 Words and Counting

by Mike Shea on 8 November 2007

The Seven Swords rolls on. This month is National Novel Writing Month and, since day one, I have met my goals and have written the first fourth of my novel, the Seven Swords.

I'm at 14,300 words right now. I just got in a page and a half before breakfast. My story is moving along well, but not so fast that I don't think I can fill out the full 50,000.

I write 2,000 words a day, ten pages of a large lined Moleskine. I'm writing at my dining room table mostly, with a few pages here and there at the local Panera during lunch. I've been writing it with my Pelikan M-1000 and my trusty Pilot Vanishing Point bold. The ink is Noodler's Black. The Moleskine is wrapped in a Renaissance Art leather cover without a fastener. It helps to have a novel that looks like something a monk carried around a thousand years ago.

I usually break the writing up in two to four page groups, in the morning, at lunch, and in the afternoon and early evening. I'm usually done with my quota before seven PM. On weekends it's sometimes faster. I never write more than a sentence or two over the 2,000 words each day. Consistency is more important to me than rushing ahead. I'd rather have twenty five good days in a row than twelve great days and twelve crappy days.

All of the same typical bullshit writing excuses flow through me. Am I ripping off Seven Samurai too much? Am I burning through all my good material too fast? Did I plot too much? Are my characters too unrealistic? Is there not enough fantasy in my fantasy novel? It's easy to get caught around all of this and restart the story or try to shift direction. But I'm not doing it. I ignore all of that and get on with the next scene. Work, Relax, Don't Think as Ray Bradbury likes to say. You Must Write, says Heinlein. You must finish what you start.

So yes, the writing is going very well. This is the most I have ever written in the shortest time. It's also the longest single writing I've ever done.