Name and Shame

There is clearly nothing for it but to name and shame. Time over time, it is made clear to me, that if I don’t have some kind of stick poking me I’m (1) never going to get back into the blogging groove and, perhaps more importantly, (2) I’m never going to knuckle down and finish the story I’ve been yabbering about for so long now.

So here goes.

Words written this week = 300 (total word count = 300 approx).
I’m starting from the beginning again. I’ve written a lot more over the last six months, but it’s all in the way of prep work. There’s nothing like discovering 20,000 words in, that your main character is a douche bag you would cheerfully push off the Clifton Suspension bridge to really put a spanner in the works! Still, at least I’ve worked through that particular problem now.

Because I work best with a deadline, RugbyLass has given me one: she wants to read a first draft (or 80% of one at least) by the end of October. I’ll give it a go… Which means:
Days till the end of October = 50.
Eek! If I’m ball-parking 100K words, that’s 2000 words a day!?!!??!?!?!!! Or if I’m going for 80%, that’s 1,600 words a day. Sigh. I wish I hadn’t just worked that out. So I am perfectly capable of bashing out 5,000 word blog posts in an evening, but doing that night after night? Even if I’m going to settle for giving RugbyLass just half a book, I still need to be spewing out 1,000 words a day. More to the point, those 1,000 words need to be well written words.

I’m stopping working it out now, because it is just depressing me. A little while back, I had a goal of 500 words a day. That seems a little bit more doable? But if I am supposed to be hitting this deadline, what am I doing wasting time blogging?!

Characters in the book who are fully fleshed out with back story = 6.
That is, six I am sure of right now. The way things are going, their back stories are sure to shift some over the coming months. You think you’ve given them cast iron motivation and then, they rebel.

Characters still to fully give a back story to = 4
Though this number will grow I am sure. Characters keep popping in to say “hello!” and never end up leaving, like the house-guests from hell. There’s one in particular who was only meant to be a name in a back story, but all of a sudden I have had to rewrite the entire introduction just to give him a chapter in which to shine. The blonde sod (I love him to bits and pieces, he deserves a book all of his own!)

Characters who have changed their name = 3
And counting. I expect all of them will have changed their name at least once more by the time I’m finished. Right now, our cast of characters includes Ishabel, Thaniel Bengiaric, Pirael Giacomo, Nahen, Jariel, Kriss, Rofan, Kirk and Artosi. There’s more, but they’re the main suspects. Where’s Luk in all of this? He took a swan dive off a high bridge, sorry.

Place names fixed = er, 1.
I have place-holder names for all the main locations, but they are going to need some major tweaking before I am happy. I am fairly fixed on the actual geography though, even going so far as to have drawn a map to help keep it all straight.

Lost siblings to give the plot drive and focus = 1.
I’d be quite happy to have this number at zero, because lost-sibling is a bit of a fantasy cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason I suppose.

And to have some non-writing counting:

Times got the bus this week = 10.
The aim is for it to be no more than 4. I’ve fallen off the exercise/healthy eating wagon BIG time and I’ve got less than a year till the Big Bruv’s wedding, so it’s time to kick some flabby butt. My flabby butt.

Muffins from the staff canteen had for breakfast = 2.
This should be ZERO (or one at the outside). Followed by…

Flapjacks had from the staff canteen = 3.
This should ALSO be zero (or one if it’s been a really tough week).

Books read this week = 6
Aren’t local libraries just great?

Which brings us to the end of our counting spree. For the purposes of the blog, the ‘week’ will run Friday-Thursday. You can expect one of these recap posts at the end of each week. I’m also going to aim for a few other posts scattered throughout the week. We’ll see what happens. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Bright Meadow just yet, but there’s no denying it is getting harder and harder to stay fresh and interesting. Jump into the comments, peeps, help me bring back the magic! BM was always more than just me – we can’t all have decamped to Twitter!


3 thoughts on “Name and Shame

  1. Hooray for you, for getting back to work on your novel! (I’ve been thinking lately that I need to do the same. Soon… hopefully.) 1000 words a day is a lot, though, even if you have everything mapped out, so don’t get discouraged if the numbers aren’t adding up. It’s much better to have a goal of simply putting out some good, worthwhile writing every day and not worry about the word count. After all, it’s no good doing lots of words every day if they aren’t good ones! Tell RugbyLass she can have her first draft for Christmas. 🙂

  2. Thank you Cheryl, and I’m sending good writing juju in your direction (as much as I can spare that is!)

    I’m not tied totally into my goals – I wrote bugger all yesterday, for example – but I do know I need *something* or else I will never get done. The most productive I’ve been all year is the two months where I had “writing lunches”. Most lunchtimes I would take the netbook to the library at work and write. I had a goal of 500 words a day, and most days I actually turned in more like 600 or 700. Some days, of course, there was nothing to show for it, but I liked the focus and the structure. I’m still feeling my way through the whole writing ‘process’, but long experience with the whole blogging and thesis-writing thing has shown me that, whilst I need a long time to get the ideas straight in my head, I also need to finally just sit down and bash at the keyboard. The end result isn’t always (rarely) what I was expecting, but it does tend to be good. I faff around making notes and charts and maps and drafting chunks, but that is all wasting time really. Displacement activity. In a way, all those notes actually stifle me because I feel the need to constantly refer to them and somehow that blocks the flow.

    Right now, for instance, even though I have to start over, a large part of me is held back because of the 20,000 words I’ve written already. I feel the NEED to pull them into the new version, even though they don’t fit. I know if I do try and rewrite them in, it is going to backfire, because the new lead character is so different to the previous guy, but… It’s hard to let go.

    So today I have given myself leave to read over what I’ve done already, just to refresh myself. And then, starting on Monday, it is Writing Lunch time again. I’m allowed the notebook which lists the character names and their salient points (eye colour, weapon of choice, siblings etc) and the map of the area, but that is it for ‘notes’. Fresh start. The old draft is being archived on a totally different machine so I won’t be tempted.

    Let’s see what happens…

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