In today’s Journal
* The Mentorships
* Topic: The Novel (and Cycling)
* Of Interest
Well, the mentorships are definitely a go. I’ve already had a good response. (Thanks to those who responded so quickly.) If this is something that interests you, please email me at email@example.com to let me know.
I also decided against including the mentorships on the Patronage page. Instead, over the next few days I’ll develop a new page strictly for the Mentorships (I’ve decided now there probably will be two levels). I’ll also create a new PayPal subscription button specifically for the mentorships.
More on all this once everything’s ready.
You’ll remember I started Blackwell Ops 8 around 2 months ago. Maybe longer. This might be the longest in calendar days it’s ever taken me to write a novel. In writing days alone, today will be Day 23.
Which, frankly, I find ludicrous. Writing 48,820 publishable words of fiction in 22 days means, on average, I wrote almost exactly 2 hours (2219 words) per day. I mean, if you write at a very slow 1000 words per hour (that’s only 17 words per minute) and if you spend even three hours in the chair per day, that’s a 90,000 word novel in a month.
Not everyone can do that. Some folks have jobs, a problem with which I am no longer encumbered. But if you can spend even ONE hour per day in the chair, that’s still a 60,000 word novel in two months. Productivity really does all boil down to math.
Of course, I could plead that I’m out of shape for writing after a layoff of almost a year, but that doesn’t cut it. Yesterday I wrote almost 3300 words and I hardly broke a sweat. I did other things through the day too. So if I can write over 3000 words on one day, then I can do it every day. The truth is, I’ve just been lazy.
With four days left in the month, partly to snap me out of my funk, I finally writered-up and set myself a mini-challenge to finish the novel this month. That might or might not happen, and that’s fine. It doesn’t matter.
But to give myself a fair chance, I went back to the beginning and started cycling through the entire novel. Something didn’t feel right about the last bit I wrote, and when that happens, cycling is always the answer.
For anyone who doesn’t know, “cycling” in this context means reading through the manuscript, but strictly as a reader. That mean reading with the creative subconscious and with all disbelief suspended, just as you would read anyone else’s work.
Or in the alternative, that means NOT reading as a writer or critic, with the conscious, critical mind engaged. When you cycle, you don’t “look for” anything. You just enjoy the story.
But you also allow your fingers to rest on the keyboard. And if your creative subconscious (the characters) want to add something, you let them use your fingers to type it in.
I did that for three days. As you can see below, on the first day, my characters added 2025 words. All that while doing nothing but cycling and allowing my characters to add things that I (as my characters’ recorder) inadvertently left out the first time through.
On the second day, same thing, but my characters added only 1770 words. But on the third day, yesterday, they added maybe 500 words cycling but they also happened on the place where the story was broken. The place where it had taken the wrong turn that left me with that gritty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I took a break. But when I came back, I let the characters take over and start telling the story again. At the end of the day, they’d added 3296 new words, most of which were in three scenes that hadn’t existed previously but obviously should have.
There is no rational alternative to trusting your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living.
I have a little more cycling to do today, and then it will be a race to the end. I can’t see it yet, but I can feel it lurking just off-screen. Of course, I won’t “force” the ending just to finish the book today. If it finishes today and I successfully complete my mini-challenge, that’s fine. If it takes another day or two, that’s also fine. Again, it’s the characters’ story. I’m just intelligent and rational enough to let them tell it.
Talk with you again later.
See “What Happens to Your Books When You Die?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/07/what-happens-to-your-books-when-you-die.html. Think about your heirs.
See “The Building Blocks of Scene” at https://www.janefriedman.com/the-fundamentals-of-scene-writing-making-a-scene-on-the-page/. Part 1 of a 3-part series. I haven’t read this yet, but I bookmarked it to read later. It feels right.
See “Good Scenes Require Specifics” at https://www.janefriedman.com/scene-prep-and-scene-sequences/. Part 2.
See “Moving Between Scenes with Summary and Spacers” at https://www.janefriedman.com/moving-between-scenes-with-summary-and-spacers/. Part 3.
The Journal…………………………………… 780 words
Writing of Blackwell Ops 8 (tentative title, novel)
Day 19… 2117 words. Total words to date…… 41729
Day 20… 2025 words. Total words to date…… 43754
Day 21… 1770 words. Total words to date…… 45524
Day 22… 3296 words. Total words to date…… 48820
Total fiction words for July……… 7091
Total fiction words for the year………… 52496
Total nonfiction words for July… 12110
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 106240
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 158736
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. I’ve never said WITD is “the only way” to write, nor will I ever. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among other topics.