Q and A

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Anthony Rapino 9 Comments

Steve, from Blog From the Darkside asked an interesting question on my comments page, and I thought it deserved it’s own post.

Steve asked the following:

“I see that the novel’s word count is still rising. It doesn’t look like it will be to much longer before you have reached your target of 50,000 words.

I’m curious to know if you still have the same amount of enthusiasm for the project now as you did when you started it?”

Reading this, I immediately thought of Steven King’s book, On Writing, where he explains the need to sit down and get that first draft written before anyone else ever reads it.

Here, I did want to use some direct quotes from the master, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to sift through his book. But, the gist was this: If you give other people a chance to read your unfinished work, and they say something bad about it, you might be deterred from finishing.

Further, if you stop writing for too long in between, you might lose interest in the novel.

You may or may not have noticed that as time has gone on, my novel’s word count has been slower to rise. In fact, it’s been close to a week since my last word count update.

And here, I’ll finally answer Steve’s question: No. I do not have the same amount of enthusiasm as when I started. It’s been a real up and down movement throughout the process, and it’s my own fault.

Despite my knowledge of how to go about writing a novel, and the expert advice given in the many books, including On Writing, that I have read over the years, I still broke cardinal rules.

I let people read chapters before I was finished.

I took time off between chapters.

I discussed plot and character with people.

And on top of all these problems, I have become more of a short story writer. I’m used to starting and finishing a work withing two weeks, at most. Working on this novel for over three months with very little feedback has been tough. I keep thinking about when I can finally send it out to agents and publishing houses. I spend more time thinking about submitting it than I do working on it. It’s a bad habit.

So, yes, my enthusiasm has wavered. But not enough to threaten the work. I will finish this novel. I am very, very close to having my first draft.

A month ago I said I was three days away to being done. So I was a little off. But I do have less than 10,000 left to the first draft.

So it should be any week now.

Any week now…

9 Responses

  1. anita marie says:

    Just don’t do what King did when he wrote ” The Stand “. He got stuck on the first half…so he nuked the characters.

    I think it’s funny…but geeze all that work-
    anita marie

  2. Ally says:

    I like King, but even he admits that everyone works differently. Some writers are constantly hitting their peers up for ideas, bouncing plot twists off them when they come to a blocks, giving them chapters before the ink has dried on the pages–it’s a matter of comfort level. I’ve read more On Writing books than I care to admit, and from Bradbury, to Orwell, to King, they all say that the most important things were the desire to write and the persistence to get that writing published. Everything else was minutia.

    Have faith

  3. Bhaswati says:

    Finish it, Oni! Currently, I am having to take a forced break from my WIP, and I am not liking that one bit. I can relate to what King says in that regard. However, like you, I won’t let this project get shelved. I will see its end; that’s how close it is to my heart.

    So I hope your next post announces the novel’s completion. GOOD LUCK!

  4. onipar says:

    Anita:
    Yeah, that’s one of the down sides to working without an outline or plan. It happens…

    Ally:
    You’re right. Everyone does work differently. Many novelists like to outline and have a clear and precise direction. I’m not one of those however. I really connected with King’s book, and had been working that way from before ever reading it.

    The only difference is possibly my urge to show people what I’m working on.

    Sury:
    I will! 🙂 Thanks, and good luck with your work as well.

  5. Steve says:

    I’m glad to know that I am not the only one who has a problem keeping up the enthusiasm on longer projects. The thing is, though, even if your enthusiasm isn’t what it once was, your word count is still rising. To me, that shows that you have a professional attitude.

  6. Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) says:

    I hope you get it finished soon. Race to the finish line and you’ll feel great! I work like King suggests but not because he suggests it – it’s just the way I have to write. I tear through the first draft, I don’t talk about it to anyone, mostly because I don’t plot and I don’t know where the novel is going myself. I don’t let anyone see the first draft. I first clean it up to my standard, then the second draft goes out for crits. But this is what works for me, and every writer works differently – there is no right or wrong way – only the way which is right for you.

  7. onipar says:

    Steve:
    Thanks. I’m extremely committed to this novel. Plus, to be honest, the half-way point, for me, is the point of no return. I refuse to scrap months of work based on a little wavering enthusiasm.

    AbV:
    (hope you don’t mind the nickname :-P)
    I think I’ll take your advice, and race to the finish. I like that.

    Honestly, the way you work, it’s the same way I work. Everything you said struck deep, and I could have written the exact words describing my writing.

    Thanks again for your support, everyone. It really does make a difference.

  8. Scott says:

    I can see why he would advise against it, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with letting people read chapters. I do it all the time, or I did when I was writing more frequently. Now I’m totally plotting from start to finish–and I think that is what will work best for me. Plan ahead and don’t get stuck. When I finish the outlining phase, I’ll post a word meter. That will be fun to actually put one up.

  9. onipar says:

    Hey, Scott. Yes, definitely post a word meter. I think that has actually been a bit of a positive influence in its own way. Plus, as you said, it’s fun!

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