Good intentions tend to turn sour if you don’t commit to them. Take this blog for instance. Once I had told myself to commit to posting here at least once a weak.
Once upon a time. It felt like such a reasonable idea, but then other things happen. Stuff always happens and distracts you from the things you want to do. My other good intention was to write daily. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep it up, but considering my goals, I had no choice but to do so. I am planning to release a full sized novel by september. And darn it! I’m committing to it.
It’s like every month is NaNoWriMo and maybe that’s how it should be. The idea that you should write every day for one month is a good one. Because if you do, you’ll realize that many small ones make a big. A novel is around 75 000 words. Mine will probably be a bit bigger. That number sounds huge, but I can tell you that every writer worth his name, can commit to writing a 1000 words per day. 75 days equals approximatily two and a half months; It is not impossible to write a novel in two and a half months. I’m not counting editing and cleaning it up so it is publisheable. But a first draft: should be very possible.
So that’s what I have been doing for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying and struggling to write daily. There have been days where I couldn’t even get beyond 200 and there are other days where I ended up zooming through the first 1000 in 30 minute and ended up writing 7000 that day. My amounts are thus very uneven and I think part of the reason is that my writing is equallly uneven. There are parts that are as clear as day in my stories and there are bits and pieces of the novel that still need to have their details defined. I end up spending way more time defining those details than I do actually writing. Then there are times where I can’t even bother to write this scene and end up skipping it.
This is advice I think every writer needs to know and it is so face-smacking obvious that I probably seem like a fool to only have recently figured it out. If a scene is boring to write, it is boring to read. So the problem isn’t always your state of mind, but the state of the scene. If you zoom through writing exciting scenes, make sure all of them are exciting.
I started by redefining the way I wrote chapters Usually I found myself writing scenes that only had as a purpose to set up a scene at a later point. And more often than not there were entire chapters like that. So I started to look at every chapter like I would to a short story. I made sure that the characters in this chapter actually go through something signficant by the end of it. This had two results: the first one is that all my chapters became a hell-of-a-lot longer. I didn’t think that was anything to cry about. The second result was that they actually were better storywise as well. See to me a chapter has to be important enough to exist. There has to be a plot happening. If you leave a character the same way you join him at the start of a chapter, don’t bother writing that chapter. Characters are in a constant state of change. The location they are in can change, their physical state, but mostly their emotions change. How they look at things. I wrote an entire chapter yesterday about a character staying in the same place and very little things changing, but this character went from being hopeless to hopeful and that’s a journey, that’s plot.
I think I’ve become a better writer in the last few months. I hope I am. It’s frightening not to know whether or not you are good until you actually show it to people and get reviews. But I’m too far into it now not to keep going. I will finish this, I will reach my goal. So, keep your eyes open for a large novel coming up.