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: Writing a Novel (Part 1 of 1)
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Jun 25th 2010
I’m planning to write a novel.
Last year. December 1st. At the University.
Me and Miss ********* ***** are talking. Like students do. Through several hideous connectings of topics we end up talking about writing. Stephen King and Stephanie Meyer were definitely mentioned (the latter in quite a shocking negative tone! Even though I’ve never read any of her books and thus have no real say) but other than that. . .
Ok, well, the challenge was made. I would write a book, Miss STARS would write a play.
Deadline: December 1st 2010.
The luxury of a year was great then. it fuelled my pride and settled my fear. But now it is nearing the end of June 2010 and. . . well, that leaves only 5 months!
5 months. . .
In all the time beforehand I've managed to get a grasp on a VERY ROUGH SETTING for the novel. Also, it has caused me to get obsessed with getting a Daily Routine. I mean, flip, Googling “Writer author routine” and variations on that ate up a *lot* of my time these past few weeks. . .
So! Below is how I’m going to get that deadline sorted:
Start the book on July 1st.
Get a thousand words/scribbles in every weekday.
. . .
Jun 25th 2010
You'd be surprised at how easy 1000 words can come out. I have to write shitloads of essays for school, and when I see one that says 1500 words I smile - because I know 1500 words can be written in about 40 minutes or less.
A lot of the writer's routine stuff you read about is BS. You don't have to be in a perfect setting, a perfect state of mind to write. You just translate words from your mind onto paper or a screen. You can write anywhere, and should. You can do it in a coffeeshop, with children yelling in the background, at a park, on public transportation. It doesn't matter. Distractions are only distractions if you let yourself get distracted, ya dig?
Write when you're sick. Write when you're tired. If you don't feel like writing, write anyway. That's when your best work is going to come out.
Keep a small notebook or use a cell phone's voice memo function to jot down ideas on you at all times. How many times have you thought of something great, made a point to remember it, and promptly forgot what it was at a later time?
Also, don't feel the need to quote sources, revise, or edit while you're in the main process of putting words down. Do all the editing, prettying up, and fact checking later. One trick I learned from Cory Doctorow (not the man himself in person, but one of his blogposts) is to use "TK" whenever I need to come back and add a reference or bit of cleverness in later. Almost no words contain the letters TK, so when you're finished writing on whatever it is you're working on, simply ctrl+f (or whatever the Mac equivalent is) and you'll find all the blanks you need to fill in. This has saved my ass countless times by not letting myself get hung up on little stuff and allowing me to get on with it.
You can do it. Five months, from July to December, is 123 days. 123 days at 1000 words per day is 123,000 words. For new authors, publishers want around 80k to 120k words according to Dr. Internet. So you could easily write 90k words and use the remaining 33 days to edit. Just remember you have to write at least 1000 words a day - whether you like it or not. Think of writing those 1000 words as the most important thing you'll do everyday - like a job where your boss will fire your ass for being late even once.
Jun 26th 2010
Ah ha ha ha ha ha prepare to throw your life out the window, Raymond. Prepare for HELL.
Agentarsenic said several important things, but here's another one: you will be writing a first draft. How much editing will be required to turn it into a finished work, you will not know right away. So I suggest you write even more than a thousand words a day. Of course, a lot depends on the tone of the novel, the prose style, how much research is needed, how many characters there are, how many plot points, how many --
Are you crying yet? Don't be ashamed. It's perfectly normal.
Jun 26th 2010
All really great tips, thank you. I'll do my best to put them into action, the "TK" one especially. I guess my "boss" will have to be my tired, withered-with-fucking-stress face staring back from the mirror every night (or early morning) before bed.
Yeah, a first draft is just throwing it all up on the page, with the subsequent ones trying to piece it all together:
keep that in mind.
I will record my sobbing on a daily basis
to warn others of my disasterous undertaking
. A podcast called "Raymond Cries". Oh, it'll be a hit!
Jul 4th 2010
Hope you're still working on it. Just keep plugging on. You can do it!
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