Thursday 30 September 2010

Progress in Writing . . .

I had a pleasent surprise last night. Working away on my current piece, I decided to do a word count. I usually do this periodically to know how far I've got, and it gives me a rough idea how far I have to go.

I don't know how other people work, and there are so many other writers that I know with working formats that I can't get on with. One person writes a novel like a series of short stories and then pieces them together; works perfectly for them. Someone else may not have a plan at all and find it difficult to stick to one. Their characters drift from scene to scene, and both them and the writer have absolutely no idea what's coming around the corner. It can be an exciting way of writing, discovering what fate has in store for your characters, and it can have some amazing results.

But they're not for me. I'm a planner - of sorts. I know the beginning of my story; I know the end of my story; I know important turning points throughout my story, and the parts I have to drift across are the parts inbetween these. I know where my characters are going. I know where they've come from and I know what's in store for them, be it a happy ending or a tragedy. I know it all. I plan. And while I'm working on one piece, I'm planning the next, although most of the planning is done in my head. I actually have very few notes written down.

Oh yes, I have many novels planned for the future, and I know what one is coming next.

My last novel (my 14th...ish) was the first novel where I implented the skills of proper world building. I must have spent well over a year editing it, slowly bringing my world to life, layer by layer. I did spend a long time editing it and putting it through critiques, but I didn't mind this. All my stories are based in this fantasy world called the Lieflunds, and by spending so much time building it, my job has been made easier for my current work.

But because I spent so long in the editing stage as opposed to the writing stage, I found it quite difficult getting back into the swing of writing something new. Because of this I feel that my current novel has suffered somewhat in it's progress. It was never intended to be as long as my last piece, but it still feels like it's taken forever to struggle up to the point where I am now. I'm aiming for the 80k word limit for this piece (not an unreachable limit, by far), but for a long time the ending has seemed so far off.

Imagine my surprise when my word count told me I had reached the 60k mark. What?! Where did the last 30 thousand words come from??

I'm not complaining though, far from it. My 80k aim is now in reaching distance, and with the end climax to look forward to, I'm sure the last 20k words will appear with no hassle at all.

Just goes to show that persistant struggling pays off . . .

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