Sunday, February 25, 2007

When writing is like pulling teeth...

...all you can do is hope for the best, stockpile chocolate, and promise yourself an episode of fluff afterward.

Last night, before Ladette to Lady (an interesting British TV show involving the scum of female society and a 50's-style finishing school), I was at 27,500 words. That's 50 single-spaced 12-point pages. Not too shabby.

The only problem here is that I'd been sitting there for two days, wanting to get to 30k (slightly over a third of the way through, I think) but unable to sit down and write my way there.

Finally, after Ladette to Lady (and then Numb3rs, my geeky crime show of choice), I found some inspiration and sat down with the view of hitting 30k. (I tend to hit my writing stride around 11:30. It was 11:15 at this point.) The writing was coming, but I was fading. At 12:01 this morning, I stopped writing at 29,400 words with the idea of getting up early before church to top it off to 30k. (I must be crazy.) After turning off the computer, going to bed, getting back up, turning the computer back on, and saving the newest version of the novel to my jump drive in a slightly compulsive sudden need to back up, I got to sleep pretty easily.

I did not get up very easily. I only just managed to get dressed and fire up the computer, and peck out a hundred words or so before it was time to leave. In my defense, I wrote myself to a point where I really needed to figure out what was going on - an acquaintance of my MC's family burst into their suites demanding an explanation for why both their sons had run off the night, and I had no idea how Lady Freaked-Out knew to connect it to my MC's family - but it was still pretty lackluster. Total wordcount at this point: 29,500.

After church, we came home and ate lunch, and I sat at the computer with my laser focus set on 30k. I was going to get those last 500 words if it killed me, and I had four Hershey's Nuggets to help me along. I also promised myself that once I saw those wonderful digits, I could go upstairs and watch an episode of my fluff of choice, Ouran High School Host Club. (It's an adorable show. Extremely silly...most of the time.)

I figured out where I was going and wrote for about 20 minutes. I rounded off a section nicely, finished off my chocolate, and pressed the 'Recount' button.

29,992.

That's not a nice feeling.

Some people might say it's close enough, but I was raised on NaNoWriMo wordcount constraints. (Well, not raised, but...) 49,994 and 50,000 aren't the same thing, so neither are 29.992 and 30k.

Eventually I found where the next section started and wrote the first paragraph, and I've set myself up for a nice night of writing tonight. (First line of the section: "The best thing that could be said about that evening's private audience with the monarchs was that it was short." This'll be fun.) But that last paragraph this afternoon was like pulling teeth. Sometimes I really do resent the little wordcounter, but it's how I learned to think of progress, so I'll take it.

And as a postscript: My novel abruptly took a turn for the "coming of age" brand of story, but I don't mind that too horribly. Makes it easier to place.

4 comments:

Carrie said...

Hey! Finally responded to your tag - sorry to take so long but I had a terrible week at work and had to travel. Been a mess!

This post is so funny to me because I'm the same way! I know I've said it before but I was ruled by word count and this is the first WIP I've worked on where I've had to take a deep breath and throw out the idea of word count. I don't post the progress on my blog - I don't even know how long the book is supposed to be! But getting so close to a goal? I've definately been one to toss in an extra paragraph just to get there. That's why I've been trying so hard recently to forget word count and work on story progress.

Carrie said...

Oh, and congrats on hitting 30k!!

Patrick said...

When Pulling Teeth is Like Writing

Sometimes, the patient is lying there in the cold grey pleather dental chair and I feel the stir of the gentle air-conditioner, taking me to another world where the plaque demon is drilling holes in the castle walls. When the demon has such a firm grip in the wall, there is nothing left to do but reach in with a pair of pliers like the Hand of the Gods and tear out that section of castle wall.

Another demon thrashes around in the chair as I wrestle the one who holds the castle walls firmly in the ground. I take a hit on the laughing gas, inhaling deeply and resume the heroes quest against the demon in the castle wall.

It struggles.

A hideous shreik is accompanied by the noxious breath of the chair demon. I squirt water across its face and then slap at it with the rough, water-resistant bib. Again the Hand of the Gods reaches in, this time with a hammer to crush the demon in the walls--

Every dentist has a fantasy. Every dentist has a story to tell.

Ariella said...

Hey, Miri! This be's Ariella from NiH.

We're all sort of wondering where you disappeared to :/ come back, duckygirl!

...And, yeah, that feeling of getting just under your wordcount sucks. Usually I try to stick in 'ands' or a small description somewhere to round it off. Don't worry, though; I'm sure your story will come out wondefully, however lack-lustre or whatever you think it is.

(Also, Ouran is awesome! I haven't watched the last few eps 'cause I'm lazy but still, Ouran yay.)