Posted by: Casey Lybrand | June 7, 2010

Two 5,000 word days and a theme

So I’m having a bit of a good run right now.

Three days ago day, I wrote 5,000 words in one day, and I topped 5,000 again today. [1] This follows a couple of weeks of a only a few hundred words a day. Something is different and better this week. These are the first 5,000+ days I have had so far on this novel. [2]

In possibly related news, I think I found my theme. [3]

That’s . . . big. When I started writing several years ago, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what a theme was, much less what I would want with one. Since then, I’ve done a lot of reading and writing, and reading about writing, and writing some more.

By the time I started this WIP, I was pretty sure I knew what a theme was and why I needed one. What I was less sure of was whether or not I would work one out for this novel — because I had no idea how to go about doing that.

What I’ve read is that theme often emerges during the writing process. So I continued writing the draft and kept my eyes opened for the elusive theme, should it ever make itself known. And while I was writing yesterday morning, it popped its little head up out of the writing and looked right at me. [4]

I paused in my writing and took a few minutes to bang out some notes on the concept that had popped up. I did not recognize that it was the theme right away — I thought I was making story notes at first. When I had written a few paragraphs, I realized what it really was. I wrote at the bottom: “This is my theme.”

Because I have a theme!

I think. I think I have a theme. I need to let a sit awhile, and think about it — and I’m not ready to share it yet. [5] I think the theme might be why I am having good word count days, though. The story feels coherent, I have a theme, I’m following an outline. And I’m writing.

I’m writing this thing.

1: Here’s when I hit 4242. I noticed that particular set of numbers when I saved because I am super geeky. At this moment, I’m at 5,400 for today. I hit my word count goals over the weekend, too (not 5,000).

2: So I tell my family about my amazing word count the other day, right? 5,000 words is a lot. Well, they know I have put in the odd 10,000 word day. A very few times! Fewer than 5 times, I’m sure of it. And maybe another dozen days have been over 5,000 (but below 10,000). On those previous mega-word days, I was writing novels that will never see the light of day, so far are they shoved under the bed. This WIP is a keeper, and it feels different to have a mega-word day writing it. It feels great! So. I say to my family, “Guess how many words I wrote today?” and they say, “10,000? No, more?” and I say, “No! 5,000! Also, yay!” and they scoff and say, “Talk to me when it’s 15,000.” Nice. I’ll do just that.

3: Yesterday in the morning, even though I did not tweet it until late evening. RL.

4: Okay, so now I’ve anthropomorphized my theme. There is something wrong with me. You know, if the excessive footnotes were not evidence enough of that.

5: Because it’s so elusive, I’m concerned it might also be wily. I don’t want it to run away!


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