Novella Diary, Claw, Day Three

The big plan for today: finish Chapter One and nail the sucker down. This’ll mean a lot of focus on the final scene in the chapter, plus some whole-of-chapter revision once that’s done to knock off the worst of the rough edges, take out the narrative tics that creep in (my characters spend a lot of time shrugging), and plug in any missing sensory/setting information.

This is so not the way you’re meant to write, according to all the conventional wisdom, but my process is what it is. I’ve learned the hard way, over the years, that the words-at-any-cost, you-can-edit-later isn’t the best approach for me. I do not edit well. Once I stop working on a draft, I cease carrying the story around in my head.

I remember seeing an old interview with Douglas Adams where he talked about the creation of the random improbability drive, which came about based on the judo principle on using an attacker’s momentum against them. After writing himself into a corner where every solution seemed improbable, he came up with a solution that attacked that head-on.

I can respect the elegance of that, and I keep looking at it as the perfect metaphor for the way this novella wants to start. *Everything* that I found vaguely frightening has found its way in. Anything I found myself struggling with has become the central focus. It may work. It may not. I won’t know that ’til I finish at the end of the month and give the manuscript out to some beta-readers.

Session 3.1 (9:11 PM – 9:37 AM)
Word Count: 581

Not a typo. Despite my best intentions, today has been one lazy-ass day on the writing front. Our neighbours were being somewhat raucous last night, so I stayed up later than normal. Which meant I more-or-less ignored the alarm and didn’t end up writing before I did a couple of hours of work-from-home stuff for the day-job (my trade-off, in general, for starting a half-hour later on the days I go into office).

My writing routine is like a house of cards that’s waiting to fall down if the smallest thing goes wrong. If I don’t write early in the day, even if it’s just a handful of words, things just keep distracting me. Today I got distracted by sourdough donuts, thinking about last night’s Mutants and Masterminds game, and re-reading my flatmate’s run of Invincible comics (I meant to read three and stop; I failed).

In some ways, tracking the word counts for this project has made my not-writing tendency even worse. Knowing I can cram a lot of words into twenty or thirty minutes only makes it easier to delay getting to the keyboard.

On the other hand, the same knowledge also made it easier to drag myself over to Odin the Desktop. Even if I’m revising plans and acknowledging the first chapter won’t get done: scenes have started stretching on me, getting longer as the characters settle into the story.

Plus, when I get to the end of Chapter One, somebody is going to die. I’m kinda…savouring that knowledge a little.

Session 3.2 (10:20 PM – 10:40)
Word Count: 260

Two scenes down for the first chapter, which is getting  kinda long at this point. Once scene left to right, so I’m giving myself an early mark and coming at it fresh tomorrow. There’s also some minor editing/addition to things I’ve written earlier, which will probably mean that the total Manuscript Word Count below will cease being an exact match to things listed in the diary.

Session 3.3 (10:45 – 10:49)
Word Count: 158

Started typing this entry up. Realised I was only a couple of hundred words from achieving my 1k a day goal. Figured, what the hell, and wrote the opening of the next scene. Chapter is now, officially, running slightly longer than I’d intended.

Total Daily Writing Time: 50 minutes
Daily Word Count Total: 999

Total Manuscript Writing Time: 4 hours, 14 minutes
Total Manuscript Word Count: 3,615

 

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