No, not running. 1,159 words on Tuesday and 863 today, for a total of 9824.
I have been trying to work up something other than pics and word counts for you all to read, and it should happen soonish, but this week has been exceptionally full of scampering around, falling behind, madly catching up and then falling into a coma at the end of the day. In the meantime, here’s a pipe and some grass to keep you occupied.
Mmm, that didn’t sound quite right.
Yesterday’s count: 1186
First, an exciting contest announcement: Favorite Thing Ever is giving away a copy of Indigo Springs. Entering is easy: surf here, leave a comment, and you’ll be in the running to win. No skill testing questions are involved.
Speaking of skill-testing, I am embarking on a new novel this morning.
I had been thinking to write a couple more squid stories, to go with the three already published and the two that are about to hit the market. However, after a couple of weeks of thrashing around the Battle of Las Vegas, I’ve conclusively determined that my head’s not currently in the Proxy War. So, as an experiment, I switched over to detailed planning on THE RAIN GARDEN, my next mystery project. Things clicked immediately. Presto, plotto, kazam!–I have an outline.
My plan as of two weeks ago had been to blast through a very rough draft of this book in November, as a Nanowrimo thing. Barring fire, flood and the common cold, I find that two thousand words a day for thirty days (less a couple days off) is a pretty sustainable pace for me. But since I’m ready now I’m darnwell gonna start now, keeping the end-of-November finish date but moving at more of a 900-word daily target. That will leave time for days off, a visit to Alberta, and Orycon.
I like the sustained push-push-focus of Nanowrimo, but it does tend to leave me bug-eyed and gibbering well into December. And there’s no reason to hold off if I’m ready to write the book now.
So, hey! What are all of you working on this autumn?
I am uploading holiday pictures of a fjord, glacier and various icefloes today, which is tempting me to make puns about to-do lists as long as Tracy’s Arm Fjord, or the tip of the To Do iceberg. What’s true is that while I’m physically back at the desk, my brain seems to be coming online in very small pieces. This makes the pile seem bigger than it is. (I am really hoping this is true.)
One of the more interesting items on the list has to do with the fact that the mass market paperback edition of Indigo Springs will be coming out in November. This is another first for me. It reminds me of all the times, as a reader, that I had to weigh the agony of waiting for a paperback against the cost of shelling out for the hardcover. It’s a strangely romantic feeling, believe it or not.
In any case, Tor has asked me to write an article for their e-mail newsletter, to tie into the release. This would be a sort of behind-the-scenes DVD extra type of thing: what kind of research went into the book, for example, or something about the experiences was I drawing on. Given that it’s been all of a day since this came up, I haven’t narrowed the topic down, and I thought that before I did commit to something, I’d see if there was anything all of you might like to know about the book.
Is there? Any brilliant ideas that don’t get scooped up for the article (or questions that aren’t quite related, because you can ask me anything) will be answered here in a later post.
A long time ago (1994, I think) in an apartment just a few blocks away, I took it into my head to participate in the Three Day Novel contest. It was a great experience: over a long weekend, I wrote something like 65,000 words of dystopian, after-the-eco-apocalypse SF, and duly mailed it in to Arsenal Pulp Press. I didn’t win–nobody won that year–but I was a better writer at the end of the weekend, and I had a finished novel in hand and ready to revise.
The one flaw in my otherwise cunning plan was that I had chosen to write something based on one of my oft-started, utterly frustrating, would-not-gel-for-friggin-love-or-money novella starts. Over multiple failed attempts to make it come together, I’d come to heartily dislike the whole project. But, somehow, I decided the solution was to bust the thing out to novel length. Good plan, right?
As it turns out, no. At the end of three days, I had gone from having an unworkable thirty-page story to revise to having an unworkable 220 page book to fight with.
Oops. It’s trunked now, and good riddance.
In 2004 or thereabouts, I formed a pact to do National Novel Writing Month with a few of my beloveds. The goal this time around was to draft up a literary novel I’d proposed to the Canadian Grant Deities a few months earlier; I’d written that proposal while fully aware that I was hoping to have a contract for Blue Magic by then and I was a little scared of ending up on the hook for two books at once. I know, we should all have such problems, right? But I figured that if I had a draft of the grant novel in hand, I could revise one while drafting the other. (This worst-case-scenario, timingwise, never came about, as it happened.)
This time I picked a novel I was in love with, something I was excited about writing. Much better plan. The biggest concern I had with the whole scheme was that, for several years running, my writerbrain had stopped dead in its tracks each November. This was, actually, another reason for doing it. Losing a whole month out of one’s working year… it’s a lot. I could have usefully allocated the time to research, but I simply didn’t wanna.
For me, Nanowrimo worked out pretty well. I tried to write 2,000 words a day–that put me ahead of the game whenever I needed a day off. I took those days, and still finished a bit early. The month was exhausting, and the book pushed many other commitments to the wayside, but I got the book written as planned. That first draft of The Wintergirls was certainly messy, but my drafts are all messy; that didn’t scare me. The cameraderie and public accountability also worked for me. I posted word counts, was encouraged by blog readers as well as my nearest and dearest, encouraged other… Nanites? Nanners? Nannies? … in their turn, and came out of it with a draft that’s now very polished indeed. This is now my go-to strategy when I’m potentially double-booking myself: get one of the books well underway in November, and hope the rest falls together. I did it again in 2009, and am very pleased with the current state of the resulting book, which I’ve now revised about three times.
Unless other contracts start falling around here like hail, I’m planning to write The Rain Garden this coming November.
What about all of you? Yes? No? Why or why not? Your Nano tales would be very welcome.