Wednesday, July 29, 2009

State of the Manuscript

I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but I always remember when I'm at home, and as I think I've previously said, I am currently an internetless hermit type. Anyway. About that novel.

Or Your Money Back currently stands at 27,136 words and 5 complete chapters. I'm expecting it to hit somewhere in the 70,000-80,000 words range, and after plotting, re-plotting, and ruining my aunt's 1994 nature calendar with a set of markers, I finally have a solid working outline that spans a total of 13 chapters.

This means the first draft is about 38% done as it stands. It needs to be all done by September, when I start an independent study course to revise it. I'm a little nervous about having less than half the draft done this late in the summer, but I've set myself some firm rules that will make sure I reach my goal. They're actually taken from an old set of rules I set for myself (and followed for six months successfully) in my first year of grad school.

The Rules:

1. Write 2,000 words a day, minimum. Keep a log of wordcounts in the back of current writing notebook. Only words in Scrivener count, but words written in a notebook and typed up will count the day they're typed.

2. Taking a day off is okay, but aim for no more than one a week. Two, if the week's wordcount has been extremely productive.

3. Days when less than 2,000 words are written count as a zero, but the words written can be counted toward the next day's 2,000.

There are lots of little footnotes to these rules, most of them involving caffeine and chocolate intake, but that's the gist. It works pretty well for me, especially on days when I hit the 2,000 early - then I start getting competitive with myself, pushing for a new record on daily wordcount. I think my personal best still stands at 5,500, from February 2008 when I spent a day plowing through the climactic chapters of Core powered by a one-liter of Dr. Pepper.

At any rate, I wrote 3,300 words last night and another 1,100 when I got up this morning, and I'm ridiculously happy with this draft so far. I just hit the point in the novel where it launches itself out of setup (which I don't much like) and into PLOT, so now every scene I get to write is something I've been looking forward to. I'm surprised cartoon hearts haven't been following me around all day.

Since I got my spinning wheel my brain has been defaulting to "Is it time to spin yet?" whenever it has idle time. As of this morning, the switch has flipped to "Is it time to write Seb yet?"

And yes, actually, it is!

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