June: A Naughty Boy

Ben Wilson's Progress in June is dismal.

Category: diary

label_outline tag Writing Progress

So in the past I’ve been able to cite technical difficulties for why my production is down. I’ve throughly lost momentum, but I shall soldier on.

My last blog entry was on the 27th, and this is on the 21st. I’m posting this a full week before the end of the month, more because I have difficulty believing I’ll get back on track. Overall, I am a tad under 20,000 words behind my overall writing goal for the year.

My goal would have had me finish Lucation by 27 May. I’m essentially a month behind schedule. I started this last cycle at the beginning of Act Four. I am now three scenes from completing the novel, about 5,000 words. Jonaldy is at the climatic scene.

Things that contributed to the slowdown include volunteer work, Civilization IV, and that pesky time with the wife. Actually, I can point to when I re-installed Civilization IV and my slowdown. So, my obsession with the series, which goes back 25 years, may be the greatest contributer to my slack. (After a quarter-century, it’s a game I play when I don’t want to think.)

However, one thing I’ve learned about my writing is that the novel can start with great speed, but somewhere around the middle of the Third Act things start to slow. Now at the Climax I go days between writes. There are few options left for the characters. I may plot out the novel, but the characters have a mind of their own and start monkeying with the outcome. That has happened here, and I give a little time for them to tell me what to write. In this case, the turn of the scene depends on a character I’ve not spent much time getting to know, and she’s not talking very much. She’s been neglected.

I’ve been giving thought to my next series. I’ve been thinking about my writing style in the Postmaster series, and what I would like to change for the next one. I’m still at the concept phase.

The table below shows my progress this year. I started the year with a simple nag when writing. Last week I decided to flesh it out. The “Year” row puts in text what my graph shows, with my actual progress deficit. The “Today” row sets a goal based on what I would have to do over the next two weeks to get back on track. Honestly, that’s a little intimidating. The “Book” row shows the word goal for the book, the actual, and how far I am from finishing. Honestly, I tend to have a light first draft and add later, so I think the book will be somewhere in the mid-70s when finished. This afternoon I hope to get one or two more scenes done, then finish it on Sunday.

The “Get Well” row is the one that offers hope. My net defect is only about 90 words/day, which doesn’t sound too bad. I’d like to set a daily writing goal between now and end July somewhere between the fortnight (1800) and month (1100) goal. Actually, my goal now is to catch up, so I’ll set the goal at 1100 words/day.

  Goal Actual Progress
Year 65728 49240 -19816
Today 1800 0 -1800
Book 70000 66379 -3621 3 days left
Get Well 630 740 1070 512
  90d 60d 30d EOY

What are impediments to that goal? A week-long vacation is in order. I should find a way to write, but that can throw the numbers. A greater one is that I will likely finish Luctation by Monday. That means I’ll be starting on Imbroglio. That’s the novel that started it all, and the plot is off track with the rest of the series. I need to re-plot the novel. There are words in the current draft added that may be cut out. I expect some negative word count days. However, I’m giving myself 41 days to reach a 30-day goal. I think I can do that.

What do you think?

Update, Independence Day

It’s Independence Day (or nearly). I finished Luctation on 30 June, about two weeks after I wanted to. I’m now starting to pick my way through Imbroglio. I am continually inspired by Jamie Rubin. I threw away the speedometer on the Progress Page, changed the average to a seven-day moving average, and a few other little tweaks.

BellicoseNeed to read proof.
LuctationFirst Draft Done; with Alpha Readers.
ImbroglioPicking through the old draft.
ScintillaPublished 2011.

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Photo Credit: Graphiti of a Naughty Boy. (missfitzphotos/Flickr under CC BY 2.0.)