by Mike Shea on 12 November 2007
I hit 24,000 words today in my novel "Seven Swords", thats just five pages away from being halfway done. Here are a few things I've learned over writing 24,000 words in 12 days:
Ten pages, 2,000 words, a day is hard, but doable.
Break up writing into three or four sessions of two to four pages each. Tell yourself that you only have to write two pages and you often end up writing more.
End in the middle of a scene or the middle of a sentence. Don't end at a "good stopping point" because it makes it a lot harder to start again. End in the middle of a scene or conversation when it will be easy for you to continue again.
If you end at the end of a chapter, start the first few lines of the next chapter. It will prime you for a good time writing next time.
Isolate yourself. Pick a room far away from everybody and everything. I'm using a guest bedroom of ours with a small cheap ass desk I used to write stories in my old apartment.
I've tried the Pelikan M-1000, the Pilot Vanishing Point, and the Lamy 2000. Right now my favorite is the Lamy 2000. It holds the most ink and is the easiest to write with, probably due to its light weight.
Space out writing sessions to give yourself some time to figure out where its going next. Don't plot it all out but have an idea what is going to happen next. Let the story flow naturally but sometimes it needs a little kick. Ask yourself, "what would my characters do in that circumstance?" instead of "what do I want to happen next?". This is what makes good fiction.
Combat and action is a lot easier and more fun to write than travel and plodding. Conversation, unless its interesting, is usually also lame. When I get into a good action scene, I can write twenty pages of it. When I'm into a travel or discovery scene, I tend to tear through it so fast it scares me.
Like the book says, Week 2 really does suck. The magic of writing a novel is worn off, all of the big ideas you had in your head are likely already written so now you have to begin thinking about what's next (see 7), and you still have a long way to go to be done. The best way to get through week 2 is to have a clear goal every day and every hour. Meet those goals. Get two to four pages done in an hour and do that three to five times in the day.
Anyway, the writing is going very well. I expect to be finished well before the end of the month, likely on the 25th or soon thereafter. In case one has any interest, I took an egomaniacal novel writing nook picture with my wife's new Canon S3 to show where I've been writing.
Our new dog, Jebu, is awesome. We've taken him to his second week of obedience training. It's hard on all of us. We're trying to teach him how to walk behind us on a leash instead of running ahead. He was never much of a tugger, but he does want to be out front. "Sit" and "watch me" instructions are a lot easier. This guy sure does love tennis balls. I could throw until my arm fell off and he'd still want more. Check my photos for some pics of the big guy.
I ordered my largest set of D&D Miniatures that I've ever purchased in a single lot. I ordered a complete set of Desert of Desolation including four commons, two uncommons, and one rare of every figure. It wasn't cheap, maybe the single most money I've spent on a D&D purchase, but the minis for this set look really good. I am definitely addicted to these minis. They see a fair bit of use, though, given my two monthly D&D games and the occasional mini game with Shell. I'm really looking forward to the new mini rules coming out with the next set. That and 4th Edition, of course.