Saturday, June 8, 2013

And Then Write Another

Scott D. Parker

I finally got to “The End” last Sunday. That would be the first completed story in...well, I’m a bit ashamed to admit just how long it’s been. Suffice it to say that I’m a great “Once upon a time” guy, but have been having difficulties getting to “The End.”

But I have now. My ‘little’ short story ballooned into an 18,000-word whatever (novella?). Chances are I’ll review it, trim it down, tighten up the prose, but all that mattered to me was “The End.” Whew. It’s a great feeling, and every writer here knows the feeling. True, it’s not the true exhilaration of typing “The End” on a novel, but it still counts.

In the past when I’ve gotten to “The End,” I’ve sat back on my butt and proudly gazed upon the creation. I even told folks about it, not bragging, just pointing out that I did, indeed, complete a story. It’s a bit like the husband who jabbers on about emptying the dishwasher on Monday...and never gives a thought to who empties the rest of the week.

I was determined not to do that. I printed that story out, put the outline on top of it, and, this past Monday, started the next story. I didn’t even read that 18,000-pager. I’ll get to it later this summer. I was much more interested in starting the next story. I remembered the advice James Patterson gave his own father when the sire showed the son a completed novel: Write another one.

Just like the novella started it’s life from an image I had in my head for awhile, this current story is also something I’ve been toying with for a bit. This time, however, I already had some text. I had to review it, excise out the words that no longer belonged, and forge ahead. It has a completely different tone to it as well as setting. No matter. Ahead I went, breaking the tale down into its constituent parts. As of right now, it sits at 7,200 and I have the last part or two to complete. Either I’m destined to write a bunch of novellas or I’m just too dang wordy. Probably the later.

I’ve been keeping statistics and metrics, too. Since I started this renewed effort, I have written over 22,500 *new* words (don’t forget that the 7,200-word new effort already had some words typed in). My May average was only 420 words out of 13,017. That’s a tad low, but I don’t give myself grief because I’m just getting back into the swing of things. An easily reached goal is, to me, at least 500 words. Of the 23 days in which I have written since 1 May, I’ve only missed the 500-word mark twice. But, the most important thing I’ve got going is 12. That would be the number of consecutive days I’ve written. That includes 15 out of the last 16, and 18 out of the last 20. I count all those tallies as wins in my book.
Sunday will be time to start the next story. It’s a little scary right now thinking I have to write something on Sunday but I don’t know what yet. I think on those days when I story isn’t mapped out, I’ll revert back to the novel I left sitting in my Mac.

Best of all, the flow is coming back, the fingers are moving in sync, and I’m *wanting* to write versus having to write. That’s the best takeaway so far.

Update: I finished this story a little before 9:00am. It helps to get up at 6am every day and write. I needed a bit over 2,200 words to complete this story, which ended up being 9,500 words.  Guess I'm just too wordy. Will work on that. Now, to echo the title of this piece: tomorrow, I start another.

1 comment:

Dana King said...

What Patterson's father actually said was: "Write another one. Or get someone else to do it and pout your name on it. Either way."

Congratulations. The more I learn from successful writers, the more I am convinced the "secret" is to keep plugging away.