100k

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I have reached a milestone. Winds now stands at 100,000 words. I’m very psyched, not only for the word count, which to me holds a certain significance, but also because I can now, finally, see the end of the novel. I don’t yet know the exact details, but I know pretty well the events that lead up to the climax; I know the outcome of the climax; and I know where this all heads in the next novel. I’ve left the ending a little open ended because I want it to be as organic as possible. That is, I want to reach it and have it sprout directly from the events that lead up to it and the attitude of the characters who have lived through the book up to that point. I didn’t want to shoehorn the characters into a pre-determined ending, which has sometimes given me problems in the past. That’s not to say that I’ll let anything happen – I already confessed that I know what happens in very general terms – but I do want to be as open to new avenues as possible. That, at least for me in the writing of this book, has been my modus operandi, and it has worked incredibly well.

At least, it feels like it’s worked incredibly well. A while back, I read a post on (IIRC) Tobias Buckell’s site. He was talking about how now that he has more books under his belt he is more willing to allow a book to take him where it will. He grew more confident as time went on and he learned his chops and was able with that confidence to let his instincts run and trust that they wouldn’t steer him wrong. I feel like I’m reaching a similar place – not that I’m at the same place in my writing that Toby is, only that I’m feeling more comfortable in my skin, and that I’m able to trust that my sense of direction will guide me back to the right path even when a divergence shows up across my chosen trail.

Here’s something weird. I have had trouble reading other people’s blogs lately – writers in particular. I still scan them, but I do so quickly, and I haven’t commented much where I might have a year ago. It has to do with writing, both mine and others’. Writers talk a lot about their writing – their successes, failures, obstacles, progress. For some reason it creates noise, like if I absorb everything that everyone’s saying, my own writing would suffer. I think it has to do with the novel, and maybe it has to do with reading so many feelings, like if I internalized all that stuff that I would begin to become too conscious of the writing process instead of just writing. I feel sort of like I have to put blinders on; I have to prevent myself from getting distracted.

Anyone ever feel like this during a project? (And I recognize the irony: that if anyone did feel that way that they might not even read this…)

15 Comments

  1. Mary Robinette Kowal

    April 4, 2008 at 7:16 am

    First of all, congratulations on 100k. That’s an awesome achievement.

    Second, yes, I skim my friend’s writing posts now as well. I think it’s because I’m more confident in my writing and don’t feel like I need to pry every bit of information out of another writer. I also have a better understanding that everyone’s process is quite different. So what works for one writer may not work for me.

    So, I’ve pulled back on process posts myself. I still do them occasionally figuring that it might help someone, (Well, that and I’m a verbal processor.) but I no longer do rejection and submission posts.

  2. Robert Levy

    April 4, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Yay for 100K!!! That is a big milestone. Congrats.

    I also have gotten a little tired of all the writing “noise”– I feel like I’m full up, at least for now, with all the voices online.

    I’m also just completely busy with my own work now, trying to get a zero draft of a book down before the baby drops in two months. My email inbox is a horrorshow…

  3. Greg Byrne

    April 4, 2008 at 8:54 am

    100K! Well done, that’s a norful lot of words. Tolkien thought he had written a million with the whole LOTR mythology, but I think someone worked it out as 800K.

    Greg

  4. Shveta

    April 4, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I definitely get sucked into LJ way too much and have to watch that. I might have to ban myself for a bit!

    And I wanted to congratulate you on your story in Realms of Fantasy! I just saw it yesterday and mentally cheered for you. :) (That was my favorite story of yours at Clarion, too!)

  5. Brad

    April 4, 2008 at 10:52 am

    < < I think it’s because I’m more confident in my writing and don’t feel like I need to pry every bit of information out of another writer. I also have a better understanding that everyone’s process is quite different. So what works for one writer may not work for me. >>

    I feel much the same way, Mary. It’s comforting, in a way, knowing that I’m not alone. And the thought about recognizing differences in writing styles is important. I used to try to glean everything from other writers, esp. the pros. But now, I’m able to recognize whether something will work for me or not, and I’ve more or less filled in all the holes in my writing. Not that I’m perfect everywhere, just that I feel like I don’t have glaring weaknesses like I did years ago.

  6. Brad

    April 4, 2008 at 10:54 am

    < < I’m also just completely busy with my own work now, trying to get a zero draft of a book down before the baby drops in two months. My email inbox is a horrorshow… >>

    Hurry Robert. hurry! You ever watch Run Lola Run? Maybe if you bear down and scream you’ll be able to go back in time and write more, or differently, or better, or whatever. And if it doesn’t work out, you can just scream and do it all over again. That’s your new nickname. I’m going to call you Lola from now on…

  7. Brad

    April 4, 2008 at 11:02 am

    < < And I wanted to congratulate you on your story in Realms of Fantasy! I just saw it yesterday and mentally cheered for you. :) (That was my favorite story of yours at Clarion, too!) >>

    Thanks, Shveta! I need to write a post about it, but I wanted to get back home (I’m in Orange County on business, currently) and snap some pictures of it. I’m totally psyched about it coming out in the magazine. I love the artwork, too. Did you take a look at it?

  8. Kelly Swails

    April 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Dude! Congrats on the 100K! You are definitely The Man.

    I completely understand about the blog “noise.” I think sometimes it’s best to not even turn on the internet browser so I can keep my head down and work.

    Also, big congrats on the RoF! I got my copy in the mail the other day and I can’t wait to read it. I am so frickin’ proud of you! :)

  9. Shveta

    April 5, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I did, and it’s beautiful. Congratulations again!

  10. Brad

    April 5, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Thanks, Kelly! Totally, totally psyched about that sale…

  11. Vince

    April 5, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I feel like that right now, and felt that way for a long time. It might explain why I seldom post to my own blog (and especially why I never write about writing-related angst). I’m glad I read Felice’s post and checked in with you. Congrats on the nearly-finished novel, and also for RoF.

  12. Brad

    April 5, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks, Vince! It’s difficult for me, too, regarding the whole blog thing. I don’t really care to write a lot about my personal life. It feels too, I don’t know, every day to me. Like who cares? And, like you, I don’t really want to post much about the process of writing. Once in a while I will, when I feel like I have something to say, but most often I just feel like I’m too much of a student of writing to be posting about it with any sense of authority, so I generally just don’t. So, it boils down to writing announcements and occasionally status reports like this one.

  13. Felice

    April 6, 2008 at 9:10 am

    omg the artwork…on the one hand, it was beautiful, but on the other hand, it totally ignored the Western-Eastern dress that you threw in there and that intrigued many of us before. No matter, the whole looks gorgeous and grandiose. Congrats again!

  14. Brad

    April 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Yeah, I agree with you, Felice. That’s one of my favorite things about the story, the mixing up of things, but it is a gorgeous piece, so I will certainly take it. It’s a small thing, though. Most people probably won’t catch it.

  15. Sarah K

    April 7, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Congrats on the 100K!  You’re so close, now.I agree about reading up on other people’s work processes.  I have a couple books on writing that I’ll dip into when I’m feeling stuck or unmotivated, but I don’t want to read, in detail, about too many writer’s working habits.  It’d be overwhelming.

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