Sunday, May 2, 2010

April Summation

April is over. We're into May now. I started my second novel at the beginning of April, and now I'm just shy of the 60K mark, or about two thirds of the way through it. That's an average of pretty close to 2,000 words a day every day (though I didn't actually write every day). Not bad. If I maintain that pace, that would leave me the latter half of May to clean up the novel, get my first reader (aka my lovely and talented spouse) to read it and tell me what she thinks, and then make any fixes Spouse suggests that I think are sound.

This hasn't been the blazing pace of my NaNoWriMo effort, when I had 50,000 words done in eighteen days. But that was motivated by a) the lurking fear that if I didn't pound it out as soon as humanly possible, I wouldn't finish it at all, and b) wanting to have it done by the time Orycon started (again, fearing that if I stopped work on it during Orycon I wouldn't finish). If nothing else, that effort taught me that I can, in fact, finish a novel. As a result, this effort has been more measured. I still prefer to get as much done as I can as quickly as I can, but I'm not so worried about being able to produce enough words. Quality is still an issue, mind you, but I'm pretty sure now that I can achieve quantity.

As usual, I seesaw between thinking I'm writing something pretty good and the fear that I'm kidding myself, and that when I let Spouse read it, I'll learn that it's awful. Or worse, boring. And realistically, that is a possibility. The only way to assure that it doesn't happen is not to finish, which is not an option--the only way to get positive feedback is to finish it. So I write it as best I can, then let the chips fall where they may. Absolute worst case? I shelve this novel as unsalvageable nd start the next one (which might be a redraft* of this one). But as I plan to write another one anyhow....

I'm definitely trending toward higher word counts these days. What used to be a high (3,000-3,500 words) is more like a typical day's production now, with about 5,000 words as a new high. Which puts a 3,000-3,500 word story within range of a single day's work. I've heard it said that if you can't write a story in a day, it's not something you can really hope to make a living at. I don't know about that, but if I can produce 3.5K story in a day, it certainly won't hurt my chances. Writing is a skill like any other, and it requires practice. The faster you can write, the more practice you can get in a given period of time. I've gotten enough "close but no cigar" rejections over the last year that I think I'm close to figuring out what I'm doing that's not quite working**. So the more practice I can get, the sooner I hope I'll iron out some wrinkles.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I think I may try to do some one-day stories when I don't/can't make any headway on the novel for one reason or another. That's a very salable word count in a lot of markets, so if I can produce something readable, I can get that many more stories circulating.

In other news, we went to a gun show in Vancouver on Saturday. It was rather disappointing. Usually we attend the shows at the Portland Expo Center. Those gun shows are huge, filling the cavernous space to capacity. It's hard to really see the whole show; you get tired and overwhelmed before you've traversed all the aisles. The Vancouver show was tiny by comparison, and we wandered through the whole thing pretty quickly. But we'd wanted to see a show soon and discovered that one was happening this weekend, so we went. There'll be one of the big shows in June, and we'll go that.

I cut the grass this afternoon. Didn't really feel like it, but today was the first really dry day all week around here, and the forecast is more rain all week, so...I cut the grass. I don't dare let it get too long for the reel mower or I have to use the weedwacker to hack it into submission, which is a pain in the butt.

Tomorrow: Laundry. A donut run. (My lovely and talented spouse has a yen for donuts from Helen Bernhardt's Bakery, and Spouse's whim is my command.) Back to work on the novel.

*Not a rewrite, where I try to "fix" this one. A redraft: I round file this manuscript and start over from scratch, hopefully having learned something from the first attempt.

**Well, except on those days when I think I'm wasting my time.

Stories in Circulation: 11
Rejections: 36
Stories Accepted: SEVEN
Stories to Resubmit: 0

Novel Queries: 1 Novel, 5 queries out
Novel Rejections: 5

Project 1: Space Opera (Title TBD)
Words Written: 58,555

Project 2: Urban Fantasy (Title TBD)
Words Written: 0