Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Only 500 words today. Not quite blister-to-my-eye territory, but moving in that direction. That's only two standard manuscript pages. Also, if one extrapolates from yesterday, tomorrow I'll do 250 words, then 125, etc. Finally the day will come when I'll manage only a puncutation mark.

Actually, it was a good day because I plunged into a scene which is pivotal, both in terms of plot and the moral/philosophical crux of the story, which is what the working title, Time and the Soldier, refers to. I'm feeling involved again with the story and the characters, which is certainly a good thing. I had been away from the book for too long, and I had lost that connection.

I have an absurdly long and detailed outline for this book. I tend to do that with my novels. That lets me write different scenes or sections independently, in theory whittling away at the unwritten parts bit by bit until - behold! - the first draft is done. Sometimes, in practice, the unwritten bits prove to be very difficult to whittle away at, so it's always nice to start working on one of them and find that it's alive and real and begging me to flesh it out and put into words something that, in some sense, already exists in some other place.

A while ago, I wrote an essay on my Web site, here, trying to pin that phenomenon (the concept becoming real through words) down for myself. Writing that essay was interesting, but it doesn't compare to doing the thing itself, making the idea or concept into a story and characters embodied in words. Nifty!

Not really relevant, but I just remembered that years ago I was telling a friend that I had just signed a contract to write a vampire novel, and the contract specified that the book would be approximately 100,000 words. His eyes widened. "100,000 words!" "Oh," I said, "they don't have to be 100,000 different words. I'm allowed to reuse them."

I get a lot of mileage out of he and she and said and and . . .

2 comments:

Helen said...

I had a really similar experience about a decade ago. A friend of mine asked if I ever ran out of words. I said, 'I ran out years ago. Don't tell anyone, but I've been using the ones I've already used before but in a different order.'

About your word count, look on the bright side; tomorrow, you only have to beat 250 words to have broken the curse.

Good luck!

David said...

helen, that's a great line. I like it much better than mine.

Yes, it's moving along! Maybe it reall will become another book, instead of that monstrous thing glaring at me from a corner of my mind.

Oh, wait, that sounds more like a horror novel than a science-fiction one. Never mind.