Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Train Keeps Rolling: Eighty Thousand Words & Counting...

     I have long since discovered how easy it is to over-estimate progress. When I attended the Surrey International Writer's Conference last year, even the agent I pitched to had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn't as close to the finish line as I thought I was.

     Fortunately for me, this little known reality didn't deter her from asking for my first three chapters by saying something along the lines of "Whenever you do get it completed, send it here." She requested it be around 80-85,000 words. I was hovering around 72,000 at the time, but already had an idea of what chapters were needed and what areas I needed to revisit (ie. quickly added scenes that needed reworking).

    At the start of the May, I joined the "Edit the Heck Out of it" 30-day intensive online course led by Beth Daniels. It's the first class I have taken since 2005, and first online class ever. The very first lectures were about checking for info gaps, info dumps and also checking over transitions; transitions between paragraphs, scenes, chapters. Being a self-defined 'scene-writer' I knew this would be an area that would require a lot of time. I was already aware that I needed to work in transitions so my scenes can be developed into chapters. Now was the time for me to get cracking!

     Time, you see, is still not on my side. It's nearly the end of the month and I am still ploughing my way through my manuscript. As you can rightly assume, many more lectures have come and gone. And yes, I have read each one as it has come about, remarking on just how much I can tell these editing steps, tips, suggestions will help improve my story. I am not even there yet and the information is invaluable.

     Early on I reasoned with myself, that as long as I am making progress, there's no reason to stress out that I am miles behind this editing process. I can't put the wagon before the horse. The fact that I am okay with this, says tons!

     I tend to be a busy-minded individual; I hardly get an reasonable amount of sleep because my mind is reeling. The same problem presents itself in my writing. I usually am working in multiple scenes of the book at the same time - whenever a scene would present itself, I had to write it. It's very distracting and can sometimes seem like less work is actually getting accomplished.

     By forcing myself to focus on going from the start of my story, through each scene, into the next, I have gained confidence in the process. And even in my more in my work itself.

     Today, I am at 82,000 words. That's a comfortable number because I still have a little ways to go until the end, which leaves me with room for the words needs for remaining transitions.

     The train not only has rolled out of the station, but is rolling along steadily toward it's final destination. I am so much more excited to get to the finish line, and more motivated than ever!


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