On Saturday, I had an enlightenment. I thought, if other writers can write to a word count, so can I. I’ll write 1,000 words a day and get this new novel done.
Today is Friday. I have about 2,000 words on the first draft, with an opening sentence and a first scene that I’m still working on. I think I have the first sentence of the new novel. Maybe. It felt like a fine opening sentence on Sunday afternoon, but Monday not so much, and I’ve tweaked it a bit every day since. I think it’s getting better.
This morning I thought I had the first scene mostly ready, but then the protagonist, Dan Stark, told X Beidler that there is no statute of limitations on murder and the Vigilantes’ enemies could bring murder charges for the hangings. I spent the rest of my writing time this morning figuring out what to do about that statement.
As usual, I have more words in my “pieces” file than I do in the novel. As I go along, I put most of what I delete from the draft into that file in case I want to come back and use it later. I almost never do, but just in case…. Typically for me, all my books’ “pieces” files have more words than the books do. I can’t imagine writing the way I’ve been told to write. Dan’s statement about the statute of limitations is in there.
The typical advice is to write a complete first draft, then go back and revise it maybe 3 more times. That doesn’t work for me. I tried it in 2008 during NaNoWriMo. The “novel” I finished then was more than 50,000 words, but I wound up throwing the whole thing out and starting over. It set me back at least two months. It became Gold Under Ice. I revised some scenes three times; some about 22. The process is very uneven. But somehow the first three novels got done, so I have faith this one will, too.
You’re probably thinking that Dan’s statement seems fairly significant. I think so, too, but it doesn’t belong in this novel. As things stand, it’s slated now to be a separate story of its own.
In a couple of years, I’ll have a novel for you. By then, it’ll even have a title.