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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

I'm not a fan of first drafts. I only have a little snippet of time each night after my daughter goes to bed to write so it's a long slog from when I open that shiny new Word document until I type "The End."

But you know what?

I'm really enjoying this new project.

(Shhh! Don't tell anyone!)

I've written 30,000 words in the last month and half. I know that's small potatoes to you NaNoers, but it's a record for me.

My last project was like stabbing knitting needles (very dull ones) in my eyes every time I sat down to write--I decided to take Stephen King's advice and not outline the story.

Stephen King was wrong!

I NEED an outline. And I have one for my current project. Plus, I'm researching as I go. Just as I finish a piece, I have more non-fiction about this amazing woman to read. Then I get inspired to go write more. It's a good system.

I'm not sure if I'll keep this pace up--my first book took one year and nine months to write. (Yes, you read that right.) If I keep this up, Book #3 will be done in four months.

I want a parade if that happens. Seriously. And an extra large bag of chocolate pretzels.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Gary Corby said...

Good luck! At your current rate, I'm pretty sure you'll be finished before I am.

This outline versus seat-of-the-pants thing is pure psychology, if you ask me. Whatever gets quality words onto the page fastest is all good.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Gary- Hmmm... Isn't your Book #3 supposed to be done today? I certainly hope you finish before me!

And I agree- I don't think it matters whether a writer outlines or not. But I did feel taken to task when reading King's On Writing last year. He's got his tent firmly pitched in the no-outlines camp. My brain just doesn't work that way.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What works for one writer doesn't necessarily work for another. If outlining works for you, then do what makes the words and muse flow.

Focus on the moment, keep an eye where you want the novel to end, and go from there. Congrats on the word count, Roland

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm like you, most of my writing happens after the kids are in bed. Sometimes I'm writing even though I'm not in the mood and you can definitely see the difference in the first draft. Some parts sparkle and others, not so much.

Glad you've found a methodology that's working for you!

Anne Gallagher said...

It took me 19 months to finish my first book. 10 for my second. I had no outlines for either.

For my current wip, I recently did a major outline and have been working steadily with it. I'm probably two months in. I'm hoping to finish by Feb. We'll see if an outline helps me.

Natalie said...

That. Is. Awesome! I'm seriously impressed by 30,000 words in a month and a half. I the motivation keeps up and you love what you write.

Laurel Garver said...

Wow, I'm impressed! It sounds like you're making awesome progresss and have found the perfect approach for you.

L. T. Host said...

Yay :) Glad you're having such fun with this one. Did book #2 ever draft out for you?

Amalia T. said...

Research does the same for me! I don't outline, but if I'm researching things and looking stuff up, I am always more excited to get back into my story and write on!

Way to go! You're making great progress!

As for NaNo-ers, I'll tell you-- I wrote 65,000 words, and I'm only keeping 15K of them. That's a lot of garbage to throw out and wasted words. Slow and Steady words you can KEEP are the best :)

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck! And, I think you're doing awesome on the word count! And, you are so right. Outlines are useful. I don't work without them for novels anymore.

Nate Wilson said...

Well done so far, Stephanie! I'd be lucky to have half your output in the same time frame.

Oh, and just because Stephen King can write without outlines doesn't mean the rest of us should do the same. Without an outline, my novel would be a rambling, incoherent mess. (Instead, it's rambling and incoherent, but with structure!)

Here's hoping for that extra large bag of chocolate pretzels!

Susan R. Mills said...

Fingers crossed! But I think I agree with Stephen King. I'm trying to use an outline with my current project, and I'm struggling a bit. I'm not ready to give up on the outline just yet, but it is slow going for me.

Mark Noce said...

Fingers crossed, sounds great!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

I'm thrilled for you that you are 30,000 in and still super excited about both writing and research. That mid-ish point is where I start to feel bogged down. Sounds like you are on a roll!

Paul Greci said...

Hi Stephanie, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. 30,000 words in 45 days is awesome!!!!

VR Barkowski said...

Well done. Awesome word count! Every writer's process is different. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Stephen should realize that. :)

Vince M. said...

I think King's preference not to outline is so he can focus on writing the story. I know people who have dozens of outlines, but no stories to show for them. King's point is to write the story, even if it's just a bare-bones draft--which in its own way, is an outline. You just fill in the blanks during rewrites.

Ultimately, of course, you should use whatever techniques work best for you, whatever helps you get the story written.

Congrats on your progress, Stephanie.

Amanda Sablan said...

Stephen King wrong, WHAAAT? ;]

30,000 words in one month is way more than I've ever accomplished so kudos! Keep it up!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Steph - Did I see a 25 page request for Hatshepsut on Miss Snark's auction!?! I didn't submit anything (not ready for that yet!) but I just saw the winning bids message!


Stephanie Thornton said...

Lindsey- That was indeed me at Miss Snarks. :) Thanks for keeping your fingers crossed for me!

Kittie Howard said...

You go, girl! You're on a roll! If an outline works for you, go for it!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Fingers are crossed for you!

Jemi Fraser said...

Definitely go for the parade - they're so much fun :)

I can't outline.. or at least I can't yet. I keep thinking I should because so many people do, but it seems to suck the joy out of the writing for me. I want to find out what happens as I write. :)

Kittie Howard said...

Steph, before I forget, I've a little something for you at my place.

We enjoy the same books...the John Adams book is FANTASTIC, ditto for Teddy (hey, let's share, I'll take MWF!)

You gotta gotta read Dearest Friend by Abigail Adams!!!

Put Tyldesley's book on my TBR list!