30 Day Writing Meme: Unwritten Words

July 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

Day 22 → Tell us about one scene between your char­ac­ters that you’ve never written.

I’m going to go with this question as asking about a scene I haven’t written yet, as opposed to something I would never write.

In Lolo, there is a scene that may or may not get used. Louie, the stern and reserved angel, hides out in a cute plushie unicorn as a false form. Magic Girl Lolo keeps her stuffed animals in her room. Her best friend, Fong, picks up the plushie, innocently snuggling it to her chest while she and Lolo are talking. Lolo hasn’t told Fong yet about her new role (saving the world). Louie’s consternation grows until he can’t bear the cuddling anymore. He is unable to continue pretending to be a stuffed animal and begins squirming and protesting about the indignity of being snuggled and complaining about Lolo’s obvious need to share secrets with her friend.

Day 23 → How long does it usu­ally take you to com­plete an entire story?

I am a slooooow writer. Even if I sit down every day and devote several hours to writing, in a good month I can produce 20,000 words of readable stuff. A more realistic production is 4,000-5,000 words on ongoing projects. Finishing something like a short story, which has to be structured and tight, may take a month… if I’m having a good month. (I’ve been working on a particular short story on and off for a couple of years already. In contrast, I had a draft "A Theft of Teapots" in about a week, then spent a few more weeks revising and rewriting it.)

One completed novel project took ten years. I felt the achievement going back to it and bringing it to a close. A current novel has been going for over two and a half years; I had targeted completion of the first pass at about two years, but in recent months I’ve only been able to add about 4K a month, sometime only a few hundred words at a time. It’s a long one (over 138,000 words), but I’m close to the ending. (I procrastinate writing endings, I do.) When I’m done, it will be the longest work I’ve finished, and one I’ve been most steady on.

The idea of spending three years on a first draft used to be daunting and disheartening. Now, I know that I am a slow writer, physically slow to put the words down even when diligent. That helps. I’m in a different place from a decade ago. I’m more patient with myself.

I believe that I will become faster as I progress as a writer. A few years ago, when I got back on the horse, pulling the words out felt like a physical act, like pulling up dandelions by the root. It was like walking through jello up to my shoulders. I fought for every single word.

I’m happy to say it’s much easier again. I’m hearing the narrative as well as seeing the scene. Now, if only I could keyboard faster than 35wpm!

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