MOPNoWriMo Day 5: Beating the OCD dragon (3/2/2012)

Day five: Target wordcount: 5000. Words written: 5500

Finished yesterday’s chapter and did two more. Thought I’d got rid of yesterday’s intruder, but like a bad penny, he shows up again. This is close to the end of the first act now and oddly, although much of the detail is now very unlike the original synopsis, it’s come round with all the pieces in roughly the right place, and even the second act looks it has some chance of running roughly according to outline, despite a conversation with the chief antagonist roughly along the lines of this:

Chief antagonist: Oi! Author! That plot token you wanted to have me spend the whole first half of the book chasing after – it’s right there in chapter 3.

Author: Yes I know, but. . .

Chief antagonist: Well I’m having it then.

Author: Er . . . actually I need you to . . .

Chief antagonist: (with menace) Yeeeess?

Author: Well you see in the synopsis . . .

Chief antagonist: Look, it’s right there. I can see it. Well sort of. I mean, I could if I just happened to torture a few people. And the thing is, I’m going to look like a right plonker if I walk past it.

Author: Weeeell . . .

Chief antagonist: And you wouldn’t want your Chief Antagonist to look a plonker. That’s pretty limp isn’t it? Doesn’t that undermine the whole square-jawed hero thing?

Author: I suppose.

Chief antagonist: Good, I’m glad that’s sorted then.

Author: But . . .

Chief antagonist: I know, I know.  Was supposed to spend half of act two chasing after it and then the other half chasing after Captain Square-Jaw. How about I spend the whole of act two chasing him instead?

Author: Well . . .

Chief antagonist: Good. Glad that’s settled. If it helps, I’ll eat or maim a few Significant Characters along the way.

Author: Not really.

Chief antagonist: I could start with that one that gatecrashed in chapter six and won’t go away. Shall we talk about the ending you had in mind now or later, by the way. Because to be frank there’s one or two changes I wish to discuss.

Author: (weakly) Later?

Chief antagonist: Don’t think I won’t remember.

So anyway, beating the OCD dragon: See, wordcounts work fairly well for me on account of being mildly obsessive-compulsive; thus if there’s a wordcount set for the day, I will try very hard to hit it.  However, there can be days when it’s really very necessary to simply let go and accept that it’s not going to happen. For those like me who find it a bit hard to let go, I have a couple of tricks I can recommend. First is to give yourself some days off. I you have a bad day, you can declare that to be your day off instead. Second is to cheat. If you’ve been keeping count, you’d have Chromium at 21,500 words by now, but it’s not, it’s at 29,500. I write a few thousand words of my opening chapters before I officially start. Then when I have a bad day, I already made up for it in advance. How cool is that?


Leave a Reply