Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Revised Writing Goal

For the last month or so, my writing goal has been to complete 80 standard pages per month (20,000 words per month) at a rate not less than 4 pages per night on 20 nights out of the month. This rate served me well when I was doing a lot of revising/expanding, and I knew the scenes and material so well that there were few decision points -- every night, I could just sit down and write, and that would be it.

But now that I'm into my later chapters, there is more expanding/rewriting than there is revising, and that's really slowing me down. Moreover, it should slow me down. Some things just require a good amount of thought process. So, my new goal is going be to complete only 60 standard pages per month (15,000 words per month), at a rate not less than 4 pages per might on 15 nights out of the month. The rest of that time will be spent plotting, characterizing, mulling, and revising. It will be time well spent.

Also, some of it will be time spent on other things -- like relaxing, the holidays, that sort of thing. My stories are always in the back of my mind, being worked on, but really I can't spend every waking moment actively working on them. Hopefully that just makes me well-rounded, not a "bad" writer. I mean, I love writing, but that's not the only thing in my life. Some aspiring writers seem to have a rather limited way of looking at this particular subject.

I know that Stephen King reputedly used to write 3,000 words per day, and while I respect that he can do that, I don't think that will ever be my goal for several reasons. First, he's way more verbose than I am -- his books are long and include a lot of background detail that doesn't fit with my own writing style (though I enjoy reading him). Secondly, writing is his only job. Sure, if I someday make it big and can afford to quit my day job, then perhaps I'll write more like 8 pages every day. If my plotting and characterizing and musing can keep up.

If writing were my only job, I don't think it would be a stretch for me to finish two books a year. However, as it stands, my rate is more like a book every nine months (assuming I don't hit any snags). I've been trying to push it to four months, and that's just too aggressive. Since I'm so far in, I think I can still make it in five months total, but I'll just have to see how things go. I'm more concerned with doing things right than I am fast (and, come on, five months is still darn speedy, for most people).

On the plus side, I've been doing a lot of that musing and plotting and characterizing and revising for the past few days, and that's been going really well. I realized that I didn't like how one of my characters (Masa Uraya) was shaping up, so I've re-characterized him. I'm really happy with the result. Very soon, I should be ready to finish off chapter six, and move on with the next chapter. The next chapter is going to be all-new, and I have a feeling it's going to be a slow one because of its subject matter. At any rate, my prior goal served me well for the first part of this book, and my new goal should serve me well for the next leg of it.

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