The choppy 60,000 words

I have previously posted about other milestone word counts and their problems, and I have inevitably reached yet another phase in my writing that I feel everyone must encounter at some stage.

It occurred to me a few days later while I was hunting for jobs, that I could just write out that amazing scene.  Get it off my chest and unplug the flow of writing.

‘No!’ my inner planner shrieked.  ‘You’ll lose the flow, you’ll never come back to the filler.  Then your story is DOOMED.’

‘Do it,’ my muse whispered in my ear.  ‘You know you want to.  Because reasons.’

So, with that flawless reasoning, I turned off job searching mode and turned on furiously writing mode.  Within half an hour I had written a sloppy, but passable exciting scene.  I went back to where I had cut off and lo and behold, the story started to flow again, the characters woke up from their naps and got to action.

Whenever I’ve started to slow down since then because of a scene in the future that is nagging at my brain, I have skipped a few pages ahead and written it out, got it down before I lose my mind.  A new weapon to put in my writer’s arsenal.

And who said choppy writing was bad?

The questionable 50,000 words

I posted last month about the semi-writing block that seems to occur at 20,000 words and I have reached a new dilemma now that I have written 50,000 words of my novel. I have now reached the point in my writing where I am questioning every word that I put down.

This is entirely my own fault, of course.  I couldn’t be bothered writing too much last night so I decided to read through the first chapter, just out of interest.  Just out of interest.  Who was I kidding?  I did the stupidest thing I could have done at this point in the story.  I should have just contented myself with reading a book.  But no, I had to read some of my own writing.

It has awakened my inner editor.  I was reading through the chapter and screwing my nose up at almost every sentence, my fingers itching to change the whole thing.  At least I wasn’t that stupid.  I managed to throw myself from the computer and have since occupied myself with things that have nothing to do with writing on yet another beautiful day in Melbourne.

Until an hour ago, when I decided it was time to knuckle down and pump out the words.  I managed 1500 words, but it was at a cost.  Every piece of dialogue I wrote, every description, every action, I was comparing to the first chapter.  I was trying for consistency when that shouldn’t even be entering in my mind at this point.  I should be just letting the story flow out of me, not double checking what the name of that town was that I mentioned 45,000 words back so I don’t accidently get it wrong.  God forbid that I have to read an incorrect town name in my first edit.

I’m also now questioning whether the story is really any good anyway, and why should anyone read this if it horrified me to read it.  Silly Kate, you should know that you think everything you write is awful.

The confidence has taken a shot as I step over the halfway mark and even though it’s all downhill from here, I think I may be wearing stilettos while doing it.  Tottering down, anxious not to fall and smash my face into the pavement.  Taking a few side steps to recover my footing and taking triple the time to get down that damn hill.  This is why men wear sneakers out on the town.

I’m now going to take a day to separate myself from what I read of the first chapter and hopefully I can steal some sneakers to get down the hill.

Moral of the story is this: Don’t reread your manuscript until you’re ready to edit.

Where does the time go?

The last few weekends I have struggled not only to write posts for my blog, but also write my novel and do the essential reading. I’ve been having a social life, which is awesome, but the huge break in writing really slows me down.

I sat down today to continue on the novel writing and found that it took me almost an hour to write 500 words, half what I can usually manage. I picked up speed after that, but it’s a worry that only two days break from writing could slow me down that much. It makes me very concerned about what will happen when I return to work.

I’ve currently set out my writing schedule so that if I get a 9-5 job, I’ll still be able to get my writing in while keeping up with all the householderly duties. This past weekend has me doubting that I will be able to manage that however. Talk about burning the candle at both ends!

All you workers out there, how do you work around the miniscule hours left over for yourself to get time to write? I need some advice from the professionals!

A novel rewriting with experience

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a complete rewrite of a novel I wrote for my sister five years ago. I loved the characters, I loved the premise and I had great fun writing it, but in the end it was just a story for my sister. I wanted to create something that would reach out to a broader audience.

So I sat down, and with five more years of experience under my belt, I proceeded to start a story that I enjoy, and I would hope others would enjoy. A theme is already shining through after 20,000 words and the characters have become a lot more developed. It is no longer a simple fantastical adventure journey story, for when I thought about my character’s motives for their actions, I came up blank. In the rewrite I can confidently state that there is reason behind character decisions. They (hopefully) experience emotions that are realistic to the situation that they are in and act with heart as well as head.

When I wrote the first story all those years ago, I had the idea but I didn’t pull it off as well as I could. Why? Because it was the first full novel I had ever finished and I was too excited that I had achieved that rather than having written an especially good story. I didn’t understand people and their motivations as well as I do now and I didn’t read broadly enough to pick up other writing methods other then the typical epic fantasy.

Now, I believe I have sufficient knowledge to tackle the story anew. I’ve experienced more in my own life, travelled, studied and worked but I’ve also experienced more through my reading, opening myself up to other genres and different bodies of work. I still love my epic fantasy but now I read it with a critical eye, rather then a naïve one.

Have you decided to do a complete rewrite of a novel you finished years ago? Or even one you just finished and decided that it didn’t work? I’m interested to hear other people’s thoughts on how experience betters writing.

The dreaded 20,000 words

I just recently hit 20,000 words on my novel, and up until that point I was powering along, not able to write fast enough to keep up with my brain. Now, even though I’ve come to the point where I introduce my favourite character, it’s like a wall has slid up and I’ve smacked myself in the face.

It seems like the beginning of the novel has officially closed and I’ve reached that part that everyone despises: the middle. It doesn’t matter that for once I actually plotted out the basic storyline and what I want in each chapter, it still feels like my story has slipped through my fingers and is wandering our of control. It hasn’t departed from the original plotting, but I’m getting the feeling that soon my characters will be sticking a big middle finger up at me and walking straight into writers block territory.

The words are still coming, but they are doing so much more slowly and I have to work at making my characters believable now. And don’t get me started on dialogue! I’ll write some down and then look at it thinking, ‘Who the hell would ever in the entire world, nay, the entire universe say that unless they were a robot?’

I’ve managed to get past my internal editor and am now just moving on. If I don’t like it, too bad, future second draft me can deal with it.

What I would like to know is does anyone else encounter the same problem when they hit ‘the middle’, whether it be 20,000, 5,000 or 200 words? Or does it occur in another stage of writing?