Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A to Z of Things Writers Should Know About Writing: New

See? I told you I'd actually write about things not related to the two books I'm about to release into the wild. Can't help it, honestly. I know posting only about my books makes me a bore. Heck, it bores me to be so boring.

BUT! This is my shameless marketing plug for those of you who've missed recent events. Firstly, I'm still looking for people who'll spread the word, so if you'd like to help, please click here. Then, The Vanished Knight is back on Goodreads and available for pre-order. Click here for more info. 

Right. Now that's done. Time for the proper post.

New


If you're still new to the writing gig, you're probably approaching the whole thing with stars in your eyes. It's a wonderful feeling, that liberal sense of endless possibility mixed with the delusion that your muse is actually your friend.

In this time, you're going to find that you're very productive. You'll be able to churn out hundreds or thousands of words every day while you're exploring the characters, world and story.

If you're a veteran to the fiction writing gig, you'll be writing like a madman-or woman, trying to get as many words down as possible while the going is good.

Why? Because for most of us, the feeling of "newness" wears off around the time we hit the middle of the story. (The exception to this being those writers who can write 10k words per day, every day, for a week. I know exactly one such writer.)

The sucky thing about the newness wearing off at this particular point is that usually, the middles are the hardest parts to get right. Because the middle will usually be where you discover plot holes. The middle is where you'll find that your goal is too weak to sustain a story. Where you'll find that the stakes aren't what they should be. Where other characters start clamoring for the title of "Main Character".

So exactly when the newness fades (and perhaps because of it), we're faced with the harsh realities of our story. Mainly, those realities circle around the fact that the story really isn't as good as we thought. (More on this later.)

Either way, the middle is arguably the place where most people lose steam and give up.

Don't. Be. That. Person. 

Remember when I said that you need discipline more than inspiration? This is where the change happens. Once the newness is gone, you need to find it within yourself to keep going.

But while the story is new, get as much writing done as possible. The more you get done, the more momentum you have. Which in plain English means that the more you've written, the less intimidating the rest of the required word count will look.

So whatever you do, don't procrastinate while your story's new.

Because newness has a fixed expiry date. And your time's ticking.

Anyone here capable of huge word counts in a day? Do you also have your writing slump when the newness wears off? By how much? 

20 comments:

Sarah Foster said...

I wish I could write that much in one day! Even when I'm feeling inspired, it's hard to get out the words. I don't always take advantage of that newness and get out as many words as possible. So basically I'm in a permanent slump, but trying to fix that.

M.J. Fifield said...

I have had days where I've produced thousands of words a day. Once it wears off, though, I'm down to maybe 100 words per writing session.

I try to take advantage of newness as much as I can.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

The middle of anything is always the toughest spot. But that's also where the growth and good stuff happen. Baby step your way through middle if you have to , but never give up!

Cherie Reich said...

The most I've written in one day was 8,000 words, which took me eight hours to write. It took me days to write again after that marathon of words. Of course, that's when I was counting words. It's possible I've written more in one day before I got serious about writing. I can't say much about newness. I dwell on ideas for months/years before I sit down to write, so by then, it's not very new anymore.

Rachel Pattinson said...

I wroter 7,000 - 8,000 words a day when I was writing the first draft of my novel, as I gave myself a pretty tight deadline. But that's definitely not the norm!! I think with my current projects I'm definitely going to have to seize the 'newness' while I can, or they'll never get finished!

J.H. Moncrieff said...

My word count record is about 12K in a day, but that was to "win" NaNoWriMo. It wasn't fun, and I don't recommend it.

I'm not an outliner, so I often go through a "What now?" slump when I hit the middle of a book. The worst thing I can do is stop writing. If I keep going, the answers come to me. If I stop, well...they don't.

Robin said...

Hey Misha,

I've not been feeling well for about a month now and my writing has been stuck on the back burner. When I feel this crappy the last thing I want to do is go in and revise (that's where I'm at) while feeling incoherent and lousy.

I really need to get over this so that my life (and writing) falls back into place.

The middle is the hardest. Makes me think that those folks who outline might be on to something!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I hit two thousand in one day once.
Oddly enough, the middle is where I pick up steam. Beginning is hardest for me.

Spacerguy said...

I know what its like to write a good novella. The thing is my story has a beginning, a middle but the end is rubbish. I keep meaning to get back to it, for years "it" ranked high among scholarly articles, so I figure the science is good. That at least makes me smile.

blogoratti said...

Great of you to share that, I hope to re-start writing again, I was writing a novel many years back and put it on hold. Life happens, and its not always easy to stick to the script!

shelly said...

Boy, you're so right! Good post!

dolorah said...

Perpetual word slump for me, lol. I do love those moments of extreme creativity though. I have so many story starts I'm afraid to just open one.

Christine Rains said...

I know way too many folks who gave up in the middle. It's that slump, but all you can do is push forward. Anything can be fixed in the revisions. I used to be able to do 5000 words a day, but I haven't had a day to myself in years to try it again! :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, we all battle to keep going, don't we Misha. And as people have commented, life happens. Having read other authors' accounts of their work processes, it always appears to be the men who are able to keep writing, despite a family crisis, or whatever.... I wonder why... :0)

Patsy said...

It depends on the story. Sometimes I just keep on going and it's all fine, but more often I find I need a break from a project for a while. Ifit's feeling like hard work, I'm better off working on something else and coming back to it.

Click said...

I often get that burst of 'new writingness' which then tapers off. When I take part in NaNoWriMo I can churn out lots and lots of words in a short space of time but then I'll inevitably hit a slump and struggle to get past it.

My only way to keep going is to just follow the routine I make for myself and just keep plugging on, even if I can only manage one or two paragraphs, so long as I get something until I pick it back up again.

And having typed out this, it's making me want to go play with my current work in progress. ;-)

Cait @ Click's Clan

Click said...

I often get that burst of 'new writingness' which then tapers off. When I take part in NaNoWriMo I can churn out lots and lots of words in a short space of time but then I'll inevitably hit a slump and struggle to get past it.

My only way to keep going is to just follow the routine I make for myself and just keep plugging on, even if I can only manage one or two paragraphs, so long as I get something until I pick it back up again.

And having typed out this, it's making me want to go play with my current work in progress. ;-)

Cait @ Click's Clan

Loni Townsend said...

Never give up! Never surrender!

I am thankful that, though it's taken me a while and the newness has worn off for me, I still love my story. Now if only I could figure it out. :)

Somali K Chakrabarti said...

Writing 10K words each day for a week is awesome! Discipline I agree is the key.

Somali K Chakrabarti said...

Writing 10K words each day for a week is awesome! Discipline I agree is the key.