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Day 21 of Novel – Word count getting back on track, but the pacing…uh…

July 21, 2013

First of all: it came to my attention today that almost all of my comments on other blogs recently have been consigned to said blogs’ spam folders.  Needless to say, I’m a little miffed about this.  A big thanks to magicandwriting583 for confirming the problem for me.  Now I’m simply waiting on Akismet to sort it out; I hope to start being able to comment again in a day or so.

Now, I realized today that it’s been a while since I posted a proper update on how my novel is coming along; time to fix that, methinks.

I’m still a little behind on my original target, but nonetheless I’m pleased with my current wordcount.  After today’s session, in which I managed to hammer out nearly 1.4 thousand words, my total stands at just over 17.4k.  Contrary to what I originally predicted, however, my parasitic character has yet to…well, be parasitic.  I’m now expecting it to happen in another 1 to 2 thousand words, but even that won’t necessarily come to pass.

In case you couldn’t tell from the above, I seem to be having some issues pacing my story properly.

Essentially, everything seems to be happening slower than I want it to.  Various scenes have run on for longer than I intended and I’ve already managed to write one scene which serves no clear purpose at the moment; said scene, incidentally, was not in the plan.  Already, I predict that my first draft will come out rather bloated.  Even so, I intend to simply keep on plowing through at this point.  I’m going to give my plan the once-over after my parasite character has done his thing, but I don’t expect to change all that much.

I’m sure that some would argue that all of the excess words in my draft are tantamount to wasted time.  Frankly,  I would disagree with such people.  Whenever a writer manages to write something, they’re practicing their craft.  Everything we write, whether we end up using it or not, constitutes just a little bit of experience which, over time, should allow all of us to grow into better writers. I like to imagine that there’s a little EXP bar over my head whenever I write something; on bad days that bar will only go up by a tiny amount, whereas on good days it may fill significantly.  But the point is that it’s always, always rising.

…wow, that last bit came out sounding even geekier than I thought it would.

So, what are your experiences when it comes to pacing a novel?  Or any kind of writing, for that matter? I’d love to hear your thoughts below 🙂

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10 Comments
  1. I really do think you just have to keep plowing ahead. If you go back now, there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in the minutia and never get your flow back.

    You can chop out a ton, later, if need be. That’s what final edits are for. And final final edits. And final final final . . .

    • That’s the plan, more or less :). I’m making a couple of notes as to what changes I already want to make, both on paper and in my head, but I won’t actually re-write anything until much later. As you’ve said, I’d rather not wreck my momentum without a (very) good reason.

      And I dread to think how many “final”s there usually are by the end of any given project 😛

  2. “I’m sure that some would argue that all of the excess words in my draft are tantamount to wasted time.”

    How do you know if they’re excess until you’ve seen the whole story and know what you need and what you don’t? Somebody famous (probably a Russian author) once said that the most important thing you do is cut– but that comes after the draft is complete.

    • Well, if a scene contributes precisely nothing to the plot and is never referenced again once it’s happened, then I’d argue that some excess words are involved :P. Still, I see what you mean; there’s a reason why I’m determinedly not deleting or rewriting anything at this point.

      I pretty sure I recall seeing such quotes a few times, actually, though I don’t recall the names of the authors in question. I guess that just proves what good advice it is.

  3. First, thanks for the link! 🙂

    17 thousand. That’s pretty good!

    Don’t worry about the pacing. Save that for later (though, you should be saving the cutting for later, not the worrying. No need to worry.) I might or might not have said this before, but my first draft came out as about 84k and I cut it down to 56k in the second draft. I’m planning on adding more to it in my next edit, but the point is that I cut down a lot and the plot and pacing have (I think) improved quite a bit.

    It was, I believe, Stephen King who said you should write ten pages each day, even if they’re just “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write” over and over again. Sometimes it doesn’t matter *what* you write, it’s just the act of writing *something*. And hopefully, if you’re just writing “I don’t know what to write” over again, it’ll turn into something actually productive. Perhaps it’ll turn it into a story about how you don’t know what to write. There. Problem solved.

    Haha, I like that imagery. I’ll have to remember that. 😀

    • No prob at all 😀

      That’s a lot of cutting, but I’m glad to hear it worked out for the best. Guess I’m not the only one with this particular issue, then.

      That certainly sounds like something King would say; come to think of it, I remember reading elsewhere that he used to try to write a minimum of 2000 words each day. You ever read any of his stuff, out of interest?

      • It was a lot of cutting… I’m really happy with the changes, though.

        Yeah, something like that. I’ve only read one of his novels, which was I think Through the Eyes of the Dragon, and it was pretty good. 🙂

  4. Kate is permalink

    Don’t go back. Keep going forward and the pacing will come to you. I tweaked some things in the editing process by using coloured pencils, using a different colour for each emotion, and that way I could see how it went up and down, how got the most time etc.

    • I can guarantee that I won’t be going back any time soon :).

      I’ve never considered using any type of color coding when proofreading and editing, to be honest. I might just have to try that when I next get to the point of editing something (which, admittedly, is unlikely to be anytime soon).

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. I ❤ the exp bar analogy.

    It's funny, I'm frequently shifty on how I feel about the length of a chapter. Sometimes I feel like something isn't necessary, then I'll go back and read it and think "ok…that isn't half bad and i actually achieve a few things with it. But more often than not I feel like my story moves way too fast. I think part of that is due to my bare bones writing style (I don't really have any opinions on my writing style personally, this comes from my editor / girlfriend.)

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