So in October this year I made a post about reaching 10,000 words of my work-in-progress book. At the time that was very exciting to me, and I was surprised that I had even managed it.
In the first few months of writing, I kind of hovered around at 4000-5000 words, then out of nowhere, I just had a burst of speed, and within a few days I was at 10,000.
Then almost the exact same thing happened again.
I talked (complained) about it a few times on the blog already, but shortly after that first milestone, in November, I got very much stuck at the 14,000-15,000 word mark. I was struggling to come up with a plan for the next chapter, and since I was dragging my feet with it, it took a good few weeks just to come up with some scene ideas. I was worrying a lot about continuity and the technical aspects of things, like:
Has this character not been featured enough given their relevance to the story?
Or, if I don’t make this character feel a certain way, does it convey their personality wrong?
It was all getting confusing and I was stressing about it way too much. What I probably should’ve done was just write something down in the moment, and deal with all the technicalities later.
Eventually, that’s exactly what I did, and as of Tuesday the 7th of December, I reached just over 20,000 words!
To be honest, before I started trying to write a book, the most I’d ever written was 1000 words for school essays! At the time, that seemed like a huge amount, so now seeing the number 20,000 on my word document, just leaves me in disbelief. I’m not sure if this counts as a large number to most people, but I’m just really, really happy about it.
I’d been getting comfortable doing some other writing stuff, like the blog posts, or naming all my characters, or writing down summaries for my other ideas. I’d taken the pressure off of my current story, which was the best feeling.
So on Tuesday evening this week, just like the last time, I sat down with my Word Document, read over the last few paragraphs that I’d done, and just got to it.
I started off with the scene that I had planned out for the beginning of Chapter 4. It came to mind pretty easily, which was a pleasant surprise, and I managed 1000 ish words to start off. As I kept going though, I actually moved away from the plan, and ended up on a complete tangent, which I think will hopefully make the chapter better in the long run.
By the time my writing detour was over, I looked down at the word count and saw it had crossed over into 20,000! I was completely shocked, having not realised quite how big of a detour I had taken. I had done about 5000 words in one day, which I’ve never managed before. I’d been writing non stop for a couple of hours, and so despite only having actually done a tiny fraction of my planned scene, I was satisfied, and took a rest.
Thankfully, unlike the first milestone, I haven’t felt that crash after the burst of progress yet, and I’m still very eager to continue the chapter. I’ve got a clear vision of it in my mind, and it’s quite a casual, light portion of the story, which is a relief. I can’t say for sure how long it would’ve taken me to get that writing boost if it had been a more intense or conflict heavy part, since I sometimes feel bad for making characters be mean or fight with each other!
While this is very exciting for me, it also brings up a little concern. It’s not a big deal, and it won’t interfere with anything really, but it’s something I’m unsure of.
My current story is overall quite light hearted and small scale. There are little fights and fallings out, but the world isn’t in danger of ending, there’s no war or battling, there’s emotional stakes, but perhaps they’re not all that dramatic most of the time.
I always wanted this particular story to feel (hopefully) cozy, or sweet, or just be light fun in some way, instead of epic or grand. I love epic and grand things too, and I’ve got other ideas that fit in those categories, but this current one just isn’t like that at all.
My concern comes in, when I think about my word count in comparison to my progress through the actual plot. 20,000 words isn’t nearly the finished amount, but it’s a reasonable little chunk of writing. But somehow despite that, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the plot summary! It makes me wonder how long this book is going to end up, and whether it might be waaaaaaaaay too long to be interesting.
Naturally, there’s a huge variety of word counts when it comes to different novels. I don’t know how true this is, but when I tried to search it up, a few websites said that 90,000 was roughly the average. If that is the case, then I’d be around 1/5 of the way through, and I’ve barely reached the real meat of the story. Am I going to end up with some boring behemoth of a book that’s way too drawn out? Is there any way I could keep somebody’s attention for that long?
I’m sure that there are probably plenty of long books that are about small scale events, but I’m also sure they’re written by people with a lot more practice and skill at making good stories than me. My concern is that the story might be fun or at least slightly amusing for a short burst, but that I’ll lose the reader’s interest pretty fast due to the fairly low-key plot. Will I be able to keep someone’s attention if this story becomes as long as I think it might? Words such as ‘boring’ ‘pointless’ and ‘banal’ specifically come to mind. There are people with the skill to make mundane things very entertaining. I’d love to be one of them, but at the moment, I’m just not sure if I will be.
Well, that got a bit sad for a minute. It’s not really something I worry about too much, but it just crosses my mind now and again. At the moment, I’m not going to restrict the amount that I write, I’ll just let it be as long as it needs to be to fit everything in. After all, from what I’ve heard, chopping chunks out of our beloved stories is a pain usually saved for the end of the process!
Christmas Acrostic – No.2 & No.3
So for my last post, the short story, I had planned to do my little Christmas poem at the end, but the story went on for a very long time. I thought I’d already made the post far too long, so I saved that poem for today instead for a double feature!
As the year comes close to ending,
December is the prettiest month of all.
Vibrant Winter scenery is complimented by
Every lovely decoration.
Nimbly falling snow would complete the picture
Though it never seems to happen where I live.
Seeing the snow is my wish every year,
Neat, fresh and crisp before feet interfere.
Only last week we were promised a shower,
Which would become a blizzard during the night hours.
Flakes did not fall though, we only got rain,
Leaving me hoping and waiting in vain.
Accepting the weather was not on my side,
Knowledge of paper crafts was how I got by.
Even if snow never cascades here on Crimbo,
Snowflakes now fall on my very own window!
So this week I found two photos while on my travels. There was supposed to be 3, but one of the pictures (A road sign snapped in half) turned out really badly since I was taking it on a moving bus, so I had to scrap that one!
Why has a single breaded mushroom been hidden amongst the yogurts? Why was this little old house in the forest? Who used to live in it?
And, this was the sign that was snapped in half, but as you can see, I was way too slow getting the picture and it’s almost impossible to even tell what it is! Maybe I’ll try to take it again, but when I’m not in a moving vehicle next time!