Friday, March 14, 2008

Over halfway there...

I hit 20k words in my middle grade novel today.  It's very exciting to me, because I've never written anything this long before.  When I first started, I had an idea for the plot and an idea of the characters, but the thought of actually completing this book was overwhelming.  Little by little I've plugged away-it goes pretty slowly for me since I revise each chapter before I go on to the next.  In fact I revise each paragraph that way too.  Then I let my critique group rip it apart and I revise again based on their suggestions.  I check the word count constantly because I am still not confident about being able to write 25-30k words.  But I'm already at 20k, so I guess I can do another 10k.  Watch, I'll probably end up writing another 30k and have to cut, cut, cut.
So, what are you working on and where are you at in your project now?

7 comments:

david elzey said...

Hey, Dawn!

To answer your question about where I am requires a bit of explanation. I am starting over after almost 60 pages -- about 15k words in.

I'm in my first semester at Vermont and in working on a new project with my advisor he has carefully, skillfully steered me to the realization that... my story, my characters, have no conflict! All my careful outlining and planning, everything I thought I knew about my characters... a ruse from my muse!

It's good, though. It's a process, and I can already see from all the reorganization I'm forced to do that the story is going to be that much stronger as a result. Without the program, and my advisor, I might have gotten a lot farther along before suddenly realizing "something" was wrong, perhaps even abandoning the manuscript for failure to understand what or why.

Don't take this as a call to quit what you're doing! NO! By all means finish that story because there is nothing more satisfying, because no matter how much work it may or may not need in revision you can still hold it up, feel it's heft, and say "I wrote this!" You can't do that with a partial manuscript (at least not without feeling a bit like you're cheating) and having something to work from is always preferable to having the hope of an idea.

Keep on it. We can talk when we meet in July. You can also watch my thought processes in action at my other blog

http://fomagrams.wordpress.com

Ciao!

Dawn Buthorn said...

David,
Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to meet you in July. I am concerned because everyone who's gone through an mfa writing program says that looking back, the stuff they wrote before the program was awful. I'd hate to think that all the work I've done was awful and a waste of time. Still, I'd like to finish the draft and go back to revise after I complete the program. That's my plan for now, anyway.
Glad to hear your work is back on track before you got too far into it (although 60 pages is far enough!)
It was that damn muse! Never trust her!

PJ Hoover said...

Isn't it great to look at all those pretty words on the screen. Pages after pages after pages. I love it!

Sheri said...

Congrats on reaching this mile stone. It always feels great to see that you are capable of somethign even if you thought otherwise.

Sheri said...

Oh I'm up to 15,733 words in my MG novel. I don't usually check word count. The last time I did was because PJ was so happy about reaching her magic number. It is always such a thrill. And then on the other hand I have a picture book that is 1,000 I need to cut in half! I think that is so much harder!

Dawn Buthorn said...

Sheri, I wish I could not look at the word count, but I'm obsessive about it. This is the longest thing I've ever written, and when I first set out to write it I had no idea if I'd be able to come up with 25-30k words! I remember being excited when I'd hit 2k, and thinking only 23k to go. And crying. (not really, but I was overwhelmed by the thought.) Now that I'm up to 20k, I'm very excited at the possibility of finishing this novel with the "right" number of words. Of course, then the revision begins. Ugh.

Sheri said...

See, I've never really concerned myself with word count, but with page count. I am on page 60 but I think when I am done, it will be around 120 - 200 pages, which probably translates to the same thing. If I am on page 60 and almost 16,000 words, then page 120 should be about 32,000 words... So I guess we are both counting in our own obsessive ways... :)