Friday, March 4, 2011

20,000 Words and a Good (but difficult) Start

Monday I declared I would make of March my Butt-in-Chair month. I wanted to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month, which involved a thousand a day.

So far, so good.

The first days it was horribly hard to get through my scenes. Not only had I lost the rhythm of my novel, but I was entering a series of high-tension scenes. The kind that are easier to write when your so full of your novel you can hardly think of anything else. I love when that happens. I wish it had earlier this week, too!

What do I do when I have to fight for every word? When I'm uncertain about what my characters should say and do? I power through. Write something. Move on. Most of the time I have an idea but I'm uncertain how to phrase it. This week was different. I realised my idea was wrong and did not know how to replace it.

What then? I put music that inspires me. I grabbed a piece of paper. On each side of it I put the two characters in the scene. I scribbled what each of them felt. I wrote dialogue they'd think but never say. I poured out a few hundred words in first person for each of them. I played around with this scene and their head. 

Half a hour later, with the same track still playing in the background, I knew where to go. The words didn't come out easily, but they were the right words. They said what had to be said, not what I thought to say at first. I expect the first edit will take them away, but the idea will remain.

I now stand at 20,000 words. I'm further along the story than expected at this point, but as I find my beat again, my scenes get longer. The pacing gets better. Starting again was hard, but I have my cruising speed. And everything is about to go BOOM! Fun times ahead!

(For the record, I realised I needed more than one thousand a day. I can't write on most Saturdays, and only a bit on Sundays. I'm not nervous about it. I expect my daily number to increase as I really get into the story.)


  1. Music seems to play such a huge role in inspiration for stories. All the best with your writing this month!

  2. Indeed, music is an essential part of my writing process. Thanks for the good wishes!