Wondrous Wiarton Writing Retreat Log | Day 5:
Saturday February 17, 2018
Time Spent Writing: ~1 hour
Number of Words: 939
As James keeps saying, “I could write more—but I don’t need to!” I understand the sentiment. We have both agreed that the speed at which we have barrelled through our remaining sections this week has kept our usual verbosity when writing prose to a minimum. Which has forced us to get to the point. How will that compare to our early sections when it comes time to Edit? We shall see!
There wasn’t much left to do today, though they were still important: Charlotte helping Raul reconcile his experiences (written by James) and the epilogue (written by me), which shows us where Charlotte ends up (and provides some info on what happened to Blue).
Today was less daunting, even though we’re talking about the last words of the story (which are super important, in some ways just as much as anything that came before). But writing them was easy. Maybe because we’re talking about one sentence versus an entire climax… It could also be that wonderful momentum we built up. As Mike Rugnetta says:
“In order to make things, you must start making things. And if you’d like to keep making things, once you’ve started, don’t stop.”
All told, I wrote 11,319 words in five days. It both feels like a lot (I exclaimed, “Damn!” when James called out the final total on the calculator) and very little. James writes by hand, so we won’t know word count until it’s typed, but he wrote 21 pages longhand this week (at ~500 words a page as a rough estimate, that’s about 10,000 words, give or take). So say 20,000 words rounded. Is that a lot for five days? Is that a lot when it comes to writing a book?
Spider Robinson, in a forward to one of his earlier books, talked about pulling said book together (I think it was Time Traveller’s Strictly Cash) and noted “80,000 words; that’s a good sized book.” Going by that standard, we wrote a quarter of a book this week. I don’t know how long the first draft is, but if it’s less than 80,000 words (I doubt so, but for argument’s sake) that means we’ve actually written a higher percentage of the total this week. Which, either way, I consider an impressive success.
It does not feel real (yet?). But I am excited. We chatted about how we’re going to tackle the editing process, and I’m looking forward to setting that up and diving in. Also—reading through everything we’ve got, start to finish. There’s a pretty good story in there, folks. I’m super-excited to share a final draft with y’all.
Before heading out to bring in some firewood for the stove, James and I talked about the energy we pulled from each other, sitting here writing together. I said to him, “I don’t think I would have been able to pull this off at home.” He agreed for himself. Any time I felt Resistance pull at me hard, I would look up and there was James hunched over his papers, pen scratching away; anytime he had to lean back and stare out the window, the click-clack of my keys urged him to return to the paper.
There’s something about sharing a task, about encouraging the creative process in another person; being and receiving a support. It’s pretty powerful, and can help you do wonderful things.
I am very pleased with how this week turned out. My one goal: finish Charlotte’s first draft. Done. A bonus goal: talk about Did You Like It? and get that project on its new feet. With one day left before I leave—it looks like we’ll have time for that, too. (Plus some X-Wing Miniatures tonight, perhaps…)
This adventure has been wildly helpful, incredibly encouraging, (just a little daunting and scary), but overall a power experience. My next task is to carry this momentum home and keep it up. That quote from Rugnetta came into my email through Kickstarter’s Drip email listserv, and I intend to write it out and hang it on my office wall. Start making and don’t stop.
Not every week can be a Wondrous Wiarton Writing Week. I have to learn to write like this at home, when it’s real hard to do and very easy to stop. The career I want to have is on the other side of doing, so do I must.
Thanks for following along, Dear Reader. You’re emotional support (from the present, past, or future) was cherished. I do not believe there will be an instalment tomorrow, as Charlotte’s task was completed. But there’s always another project, always more to tinker. In the immortal words of the perennial villain, “You haven’t heard the last of me!”