I wrote the first draft of the last chapter three days ago, but ohmygosh, I’ve slowed down to a crawl trying to edit it. I… just… wanna… finish!!!
Chapters 9 and 10 are finished. Only one more chapter to go, and it’s a short one. I just need to tie up the loose ends and secure the “happily ever after.” I’m so close to being done, I can almost taste it.
Total manuscript count = 47,038 words
I chose not to go to the RWA national conference this year. Between the ever-rising cost of attending, my schedule, and other commitments, it just wasn’t an option. I knew I wasn’t going, but I nearly missed it entirely. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m deep into writing a book right now. And that makes me a head case. I haven’t checked Twitter in, like, forever. (Between politics and never-ending promotions, it’s just blehhh anymore.) Yet, I stumbled across it today. Not only has RWA National apparently been happening this week, they’ve already awarded the RITAs? On a Thursday? When did that start?
So yeah, I’m totally out of it. I’m happy for the people who won and hope everyone had a good time. I’ll just go back to my book and be happy I’m not facing the chaos of getting a cab to the airport and hoping that my flights happen on time. Yay me. I think.
I’ve written about the stages of writing before. When I start a book, I’m on a high. I think I’ve got a really cool concept and awesome characters. Then somewhere (the evil Chapter 4), things start to become difficult. I’m past the setup portion of the story. I’m beginning to learn that my characters aren’t perfect and, usually, aren’t cooperative. I’ve usually got clear ideas for later sections of the book, but getting there is a problem. Somewhere along the line, though, things become brighter again. After thinking the book is a total piece of doodoo, I begin thinking it’s okay. Maybe even pretty good. And then, the words really start coming and it’s a a mad dash to the wonderful ending I’ve envisioned since I wrote the words “Chapter One.”
Something different is happening with this book, though. I was coming out of the middle portion and thinking that things were gelling together nicely. I had a path plotted out to the finish line. The words should be flowing, and in some ways, they are. I’m getting words. A lot of them, actually, and they’re coming quickly. It’s just such an effort right now. It feels mechanical instead of exciting. I’m nearing the ending, but gaaaahhhh. I just wish it was over.
That’s not a good feeling when you’ve put so much time into a book. I’m confident that things will get better. I’m just facing the blank page syndrome. I hate the actual process of getting words onto paper (or the screen). Chapter Nine’s first draft is complete, but it’s very rough. I think all the components are there, but it needs a lot of editing. Fortunately, that’s what I do best. I can add in the descriptions and the emotions and all the little things that make a chapter go smoothly.
I just wish I could be more excited about it. Maybe I just need sleep.
Chapter 8 is done. I began this project saying I was going to be sprinting, but it’s been more of a slog. Until this chapter! Things always go better when I have the story line plotted out in detail. I’m gathering all the different threads of the story and joining them back together. The story is coming together to the climax, but little do our characters know that there’s still a bit more trouble ahead.
Chapter 8 word count = 4100
Total word count = 39,450
Story is 79% complete
Chapter Seven is in the can, and it’s got one of the hottest love scenes I’ve written in a long time. Woohoo. The closer I get to the end, the happier I’m getting with this story.
Chapter word count = 4890
Total word count = 35317
Percent completed = 70%
Yes, I like statistics. Do you track progress on your big projects? How?
I still have more than a quarter of the book left to write, but I know how I’m going to get to the ending. I’ve mapped out what happens in each of the remaining chapters, and now I just need to follow that path. I’ve got about a thousand words already in Chapter Seven, and I’m feeling pretty good about the story. I wasn’t sure in the mid-portion, when I was struggling. I think I’ve finally got a handle on my characters and their motivations. Things are going well for them right now, but a dark moment is coming up!
Chapter 6 is finished, but it was another trip into the valley and a hard chug out. I think I’m struggling with my hero. I like him a lot, but he’s unconventional . That’s challenging me. He’s not an alpha male, so when situations arise, I need him to react differently. Yet still be sexy and appealing and heart-melting, etc. I think he’s all those things. Unfortunately, it’s just taking me longer to write his story, because I want to do it justice.
Current word count = 30,458
It’s always Chapter 4. It doesn’t matter what story I’m writing, Chapter 4 is always a bear. It’s the natural breaking point between the introduction of the characters and the set-up of the story and the middle of the book. For some reason, that transition is hard — even if I know how I want it to go. In this case, I jinxed myself, because I said I said it should go fast.
It so didn’t.
According to my time log, it took 14.5 hours to edit! Aggggg. (Yes, I log how much time I spend writing. It appeals to the geeky side of me.) The chapter just didn’t flow. The first half is written from the heroine’s point-of-view (POV), while the second half is from the hero’s. For the longest time, I couldn’t even get to the hero’s half, because I was stuck on the heroine’s scene like a needle stuck on a record. I kept going over it and over it, trying to fix it. After a couple of days, I finally realized I had an info dump. An info dump is when there’s not much going on, but you’re just spewing information all over the reader. It could be backstory, or it could be a character’s thoughts. In this case, I’d jumped forward in time, but was explaining what had happened in the interim. Not good.
The problem was how to fix it? And that was a pain. I brought in another character so the heroine could have somebody to talk to, instead of just running through things in her head. That helped. Then I switched the sequence of events. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. Finally, I had to step away from it.
When I got to the hero’s POV, I again thought it would be smooth sailing. That’s where the love scene begins, but not even it went smoothly. And that’s a problem!
Anyway, I’m now considering Chapter Four in good enough shape to move on to Chapter Five. Never again will I assume that a Chapter Four will be easy — because Chapter Fours are evil.
Current word count, 20, 200.