Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reaching THE END

Scott D. Parker

For those of y’all following my progress this summer as I kickstart my writing back into gear, the last day of July 2013 brought not only the end of the month’s writing but also the completion of my second novel.

Yes! I reached THE END.

Here are the monthly stats for July 2013

  • Minimum threshold: 18,600 (600/day for 31 days) Up from 500 in June
  • Total words: 72,361
  • Difference: 53,761 words above the minimum
  • Average: 2,334/day (I topped 1,000 words for 27 straight days starting 4 July)
  • Best day: 6,108 (21 July)
  • Worst: 864 (2 July)
  • Items worked on: chapters 19-48 of the current book. And Finished!
  • Number of consecutive days writing: 66 (as of Wednesday; 68 as of today)

In the month of July, all 72,361 words went into that novel. Adding to the number I wrote in June (21,254) and the number I started with (approx. 13,000), my final word count is 106,800. It’s bloated because I have not re-read a single page, so the final word count will shrink, but that’s where I stand with draft one. The amount of new words to the book is 93,615.

Here’s another number: 2,556. That is the total number of days since I last wrote THE END on a novel. 1 June 2006 to be exact. That was the date I finished my first book. It now shares space with 31 July 2013. It is a glorious feeling.

As the years dragged on for me as I struggled with completing that sophomore book, I developed a saying: “It has taken me longer NOT to write the second book than it did to write the first.” [BTW, actual writing time for Book 1: 10 months.] Now, since the number of new words I wrote to finish the book (93,615) is basically novel-length, I’m adding a new sentence: “It actually took me LESS time to write my second novel than it did to write my first.” Since I first picked up the novel again on 9 June, I have wrote on it everyday (minus one) for 52 straight days. So, basically, I wrote a book in 52 days.


On Wednesday night, I perused some of my old comp books where I laid out, in pen and ink, all my frustrations over the year, most of that pain seems so distant, but I can still remember it. I can still remember all the struggles, all the anguish.

But something happened this summer. All that stuff from the past few years just sloughed off and, somewhere inside of me, I decided I wanted to finish the book. I set my mind to it, and did it. Timing is everything, and this summer there were two main things that influenced me from the outside. Coincidentally, they both came on the same day. Joelle’s 7 July post, “I am the world’s worst writer,” had a nice list of 5 things writers can use to get to THE END. Two of them really struck home with me at just the right time: #2 and #3. You can read them yourself, but they boil down to this: Don’t show anyone your pages until you have reached THE END; and, like a mantra, keep repeating “I will get to THE END.” It was a great boost. In the comments on that same post, Dana King wrote something so obvious that I never even thought of it: “Writers are often terrible judges of their own work, if only because they are the only person who knows what they wanted the book to be; everyone else takes the book at face value.” Boom! Daylight burst into my eyes and I saw the light. To Joelle and Dana, thanks for the boost.

Speaking of seeing the light, the talent I have is God-given, and I thank Him everyday for it.

So, I have reached the end of my second novel. It was a long time coming, but more the sweeter because of it. On Wednesday morning, I wrote the final two scenes, heart and stomach all a’flutter. It was fantastic. That night, my wife and I started a new celebration: we popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and toasted to the completed novel. There they are up in the picture.

Then, Thursday morning, I did the thing I need to do to prove that this second novel wasn’t a blessed fluke: I started my third.


Dana King said...

Congratulations. getting to the end of Draft 1 is the hard part. (At least it is for me.) Now you have all you need to shape it however you want it.

Well done.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Congrats. I am so thrilled for you and honored that I was even a small part of the process. I envy you the revision is the part where I always feel the joy in seeing a story turn into a real book. Congrats, my friend!

Scott D. Parker said...

Dana: agreed on Draft One being the hardest. This one took me years to write (even though it only took me 52 days to write). My next goal for third book: write third book in same number of days. I want to reach 100 consecutive days of writing and then consider taking a break.

Joelle: Isn't that a good thing: that you helped but didn't even know it. Y'all both did. My only decision now is whether or not to read the 2nd book while I write the first. The neat thing for book three is that is the expanded version of a sub-plot for book two that I abandoned. I looked up on Thursday, realized I had about 20 scenes mapped out and said why not?