Time for a quick celebration. . . and then back to the grindstone
If you haven’t visited my site in the last few days, well I have some good news for you: The draft has been completed. But there isn’t much time to rest, there are still other things to do. But first, the stats:
Word Count for the week: 6,697 words. Not too bad, considering I did that in about four days. Those final scenes were pretty exciting and I had the time and the words were flowing and I really wanted to be finished before today’s update. It all just kind of clicked.
Total Word Count: 107,973. Phew. That’s a lot higher than I had initially aimed for, but it’s in the ball park. I’m not complaining, but that will make it a pretty decent sized book. (~430 pages once published). Of course I have a lot of editing to do between now and then and I expect that number to ultimately go down.
107,973 / 105,000 (102.8%)
Quote du jour:
Brown studied the door’s armour. “Four core. I’m sure I’ll have something on the Explorer for that.” He turned to leave but Robert called out “Wait.” He stepped forward and gingerly brushed the handle with his fingertips. No electric shock. Feeling bolder he clenched it tight and wrenched it down.
He opened it wide as his stomach squirmed. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Commander’s Log Podcast
The cover art for the Commander’s Log podcast
Episode 4 was released last week. If you had had a listen I hope you enjoyed it. All the feedback so far has been positive. My best so far, I’ve been told. Which is nice, I’m always learning, getting better at the audio mixing and improving the ‘role playing’ aspects and the foley layering. I like to think my podcast fills its own niche, a blend of drama, a bit of news, but mainly my take on my story and Elite community events. If you have any suggestions or what you would like me to cover please let me know.
Oh, and watch out for Episode 5, coming out next week.
The Draft – By The Numbers
OK, time for a bit of analysis.
Throughout this year I have been harping on about the ‘four part story structure’ that I write my fiction to. I designed my novel to fit this structure, which means that I need:
- A ‘First Plot Point’ – where the real story begins. The narrative changes and a course of action is laid before the protagonist. This should be around the 25% mark of the story
- A ‘Pinch Point 1′ – a moment/scene/whatever which reminds the reader and/or the protagonist of the danger of the antagonist. It reminds us that the bad guy is still there, lurking and that they are very powerful. This should be around the 37.5% mark of the story
- A ‘Mid Point Contextural Shift’ – a point where the ‘curtain of knowledge’ is parted. New knowledge is gained and it clarifies and energises the protagonist and takes him from his ‘Wanderer’ stage, flailing around and making things worse, to his ‘Attacker’ stage. He knows what he has to do and its time to go and do it. This should be bag in the middle, 50% of the way through the story
- A ‘Pinch Point 2′ – the same as the Pinch Point 1, but occuring around the 62.5% mark of the story.
- A ‘Plot Point 2′ – this is the final galvanising point where the protagonist puts aside all fears and self doubts and marches straight toward the climax. They are ready to do whatever has to be done. They became the hero and they go ahead and be heroic. This should occur at the 75% mark of the story.
The table below shows how the draft stacks up:
All in all, not too bad. A bit off on all points, but not far off. These percentages will naturally change with editing, but if I add more before the first plot point and bump that up to 20%, then the other percentages will also move up, bringing them pretty much in line with where they should be.
This is the situation I thought I would be in when planning the novel. It felt a bit light at the start, and I have confirmed that. There is a fix, but I need to put it through some rigourous contemplation before adding it the story.
This graph shows my word count from when I started the draft to when I finished. Its quite a lovely looking graph. Some high numbers, and a few low numbers I had forgotten about. But on the whole there is a clear line that shows an average word count a tad under 1500 words a day slowly dropping toward, but not crossing, the 1000 words a day line. It looks like I couldn’t keep up my initial bluster but I did have real life issues that affected me between days 60 and 70 as well. If not for this low point the average would probably have been a lot flatter.
This graph kind of confirms my last statement. Things started with a hiss and a roar and then tapered away. This graph doesn’t account for the fact that the last week of writing was only four days which is why it looks quite bad near the end.
I probably shouldn’t be suprised. The idea of writing 1,000 words in a day does not sound terribly hard, as its only 17 words per minute and I can do 50 on a good day when I’m copying something word for word. But several other factors are involved, life being one of them, and there is probably some fatigue in there. To sustain that much intensity over three months was probably asking a bit too much. I was always clear of my 7,000 words a week goal, far surpassing it normally, which is maybe where the fatigue came in.
This final graph clearly shows that March was my most productive month. But that isn’t really a fair claim. I only wrote for 22 days in February and 26 days in April, while March had a full 31. I guess that’s the problem when you finish your draft so quick
So hopefully that has given you a bit of insight into the draft writing process. Next week I’ll talk a bit more about it, as I expect it to be a very slow news week.
I have put together a plan to carry ‘And Here The Wheel’ forward from now until March 2014 when it launches alongside Elite:Dangerous. You can find it on ‘The Plan’ tab at the top of the screen or click here. Its a simple plan with some allowance for adjustability.
For the rest of the year I have not set myself daily goals. Instead I have gone for weekly goals, so I can give myself a day off if needed, knowing I can make it up later on.
This week we have been talking tech in the writers forum. What does an iPad look like in the 34th century? Do we care? Does it matter to the story? Its interesting that once again there is a wide spectrum of opinions on this topic (as well as every other topic). I think we can all agree though that the writer still needs to be able to picture the tech in their heads when they are writing, even if the reader doesn’t get burduned with all that detail.
Thanks to everyone who comes here and visits the site and thanks for your comments and well wishes. We’ve still got a long way to go so hopefully you’ll stick with me on this journey.