MOPNoWriMo Day 13: A “Day Off” (11/2/2012)

Day thirteen: Target wordcount: Still 60000. Words written: 59100

This is why we all have days off, right? So we can catch up with all the work we were supposed to do on our days on? Right? Right?

One easy chapter today, essentially the story of a character from the first book in the series who hasn’t shown up yet. I’ve know for a while (for a few days at any rate) that he was coming in and what he’d be doing for the rest of the story, but it wasn’t planned from the start so at the moment, it sort of happens out of nothing. When the rewrites are done, his appearance will be telegraphed from a mile away.

I see I’m saying “but that’ll be sorted out in the rewrites” rather a lot. Truth is, a lot of it will. Truth is, the first draft isn’t quite the incoherent mess I might be making out to be either, but it usually has some quite jarring shifts in it – character relationships that suddenly change, revelations about the world or people or events that come out of nowhere. Rewrites make all that go away, and I rarely go back to change any earlier parts of a first draft because who’s to say that some still-unforseen shift won’t make me change them again. It’s wasteful. What I end up with are a page of notes that say things like ‘Maybe you should say something about the world being flat instead of round a little earlier than page 320″ and “If Square-Jawed Bob is going to make out with the Cthuloid alien later, maybe we should see some hint of his tentacle fetish beforehand, eh?”

Makes me think I should probably say something more about rewrites before the end of the month, but not today. Today I’m worrying about final word-length. See, Chromium is supposed to be around 100k words. I have a nasty feeling it might grow. There was a time when this didn’t matter too much, but these days it does. Another five thousand words doesn’t just mean another day writing the first draft, it means another day writing the second draft and the third and the fourth too. Another fifty thousand words ends up adding two months work to the whole process. In business terms, that’s like watching your own hourly pay-rate slowly dropping day by day thanks entirely to your own incompetence. OK, so I maybe don’t think of it like that except once a month when I do the accounts, but taking twice as long as an was intended to write one book means that another never gets to be born. There’s probably something to be said for keeping things as lean as possible in the first draft and fleshing them out a bit in the revisions, but I don’t seem to have mastered that.

Ho hum.


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