Four Thousand Words

Feb 24 2008

I’m four thousand words into a very rough draft of the next Giant Armors novel. I’m trying something different this time.

With my last novel, I wrote progressively longer summaries. I started with notes, then wrote a half-page summary, then a three-page summary, then a twelve-page summary, then the whole novel. I called this my shellac method, of adding flesh to skeletons.

With this one (randomly titled The Green Dawn), I started with notes, then wrote a three-page summary. Now, I’m writing a full-length draft that I plan to completely rewrite. I want to get this down, in detail, even though the details will all change as I identify themes and find apt descriptions. With this, I’m working out implications in real time. I can see a lot more at once, oddly, even though I’m working in the weeds.

This keeps my momentum going. I don’t worry about getting every word right; if a phrase bothers me, I add a footnote and forge ahead. So I’m creating a fairly complete body as I go, even though it’ll need extensive cosmetic surgery.

Well, I’m four thousand words in, and it’s working thus far. I’m about a third of the way through, which means I need to create some subplots in the middle of the book if I want to keep this from being a novella. But I can do that, I think, as I find themes.

The most important thing, I find, is to just keep going. Get in a few hundred words a day. I set a soft goal (an ideal that I measure myself against while knowing I probably won’t hit it, to see how close I’ll get) of 1,000 words a day this week, and obviously didn’t fulfill it. So I’ll aim for 500 words a day this week.

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