Posted by: Casey Lybrand | July 23, 2010

State of the WIP

Ten days into the 1,000 Words a Day Challenge, and what is the state of my work in progress? Not too bad, actually. (And look for that progress bar on the sidebar to go up before the end of the day.) This week I have uncovered things about my story I did not know were there: a motivation for one character I’d been a bit fuzzy on, a motif that had been trying to emerge, a new character who was hovering in the wings just waiting for me to realize she needed to step on stage. It’s been something of an amazing week, when I stop to think about it.

I’ve stepped away from thinking in terms of a final word count for the first draft. I’m well into novel-length territory at this point, but the end seems to be farther and farther away as I continue writing. I know I have a lot to cut from the beginning, and I’m comfortable with the roughness of the first draft, so I’m not too worried about length at this point. I’m just going to keep writing, a thousand words at a time if that’s what it takes, until the story is done. I’ll worry about total word count in the second and subsequent drafts.

Keyboard Cress 06

Keyboard Cress 06 by Dirk Gently, on Flickr

I went through a slump shortly before starting the 1,000 Words a Day Challenge, but it passed as I just kept writing. Accountability is a big help – even just ten days in, and there have been several days when the only reason I wrote is because I said I would. I took my notepaper out with me one particularly busy day so I could squeeze in words for my WIP — and I’m a hardcore computer writer. Handwriting was … interesting. But at least it got done. (This is in addition to roughing out Wednesday’s blog post by hand. I’m dedicated, I tell you!)


Now that the story is progressing again, I’m glad I wrote on those days when I would not have otherwise. This is not the first time I’ve hit a slump and come out of it. I can’t imagine it will be the last. The same thing seems to work every time: figure out a way keep writing.

I’m off to write now. Happy writing to you all!


Responses

  1. Sounds like the challenge has really helped you kick start your writing again. Best of luck with the WIP and the challenge.

  2. You’re doing really well Casey. When frustrated I tend to have temper tantrums where I throw things around, then go for a walk and usually come back to continue writing but there were also times I did NOT write because it helped me to take one step back from my novel. It just goes to show you every writer has a different coping mechanism. I don’t advice getting angry and throwing things around though :-) (my friends will testify that it looks scary when they’ve seen me lose it)

  3. Thank you, Cassandra! Kick start is a good way of putting it. I had stalled, but now I’m moving again. Best of luck to you as well, with your work!

    Alannah, thank you. I find walking helps as well, though sometimes it’s not enough. No substitute for writing! I didn’t mention in the post, but some of what I’ve written over the past ten days has been for short stories (not the novel WIP). On those days I also did an hour of work on my plot problems (re-outlining, brainstorming, etc.). I think that little micro-break, while doing other creative writing, helped a lot.

    I lol’d at your “coping mechanism” comment. Oh, Alannah! I couldn’t throw things if I wanted to — there are people modeling their behavior on mine to consider. ;) I have been known to say things along the lines of “I am very frustrated. I need space right now.” (That means “skedaddle”! Works, too.)

  4. I wish I could find the exact quote…I remember reading somewhere (I believe it was on Orson Scott Card’s website – http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/index.shtml – this great description of writing a novel. How at first it seems doable, then part way through the end seems to far away, then it seems like there’s way too much to write in so few words, then it’s moving along nicely, and then it’s done. (Again, wish I had the exact quote – sure I’m messing it up.)
    Thanks for sharing your progress! I’m finding similar effects of the 1000WordsADay challenge.

  5. That’s great Casey, 1000 words a day is really impressive and you’re doing an excellent job! Don’t worry about the ending being so far away, just keep on writing and keep in mind that word by word you’re getting closer to your goal. Cutting, polishing and all that stuff comes much later, just enjoy the liberty of the first draft :)

  6. You’re so dedicated, Casey. I can’t write on paper. I need my lap top. As long as the words are coming keep writing. I love reading back my work and wondering where the words came from.

    I’m really enjoying reading about your progress – I’m supporting you all the way :0)

    My next challenge is going to be writing with a pen!

  7. Janice – Re: “I love reading back my work and wondering where the words came from.” I love that too.

  8. Layla, I’ve heard something like that before, as well. That “the end seems far away” part seems to repeat a bit though! But that’s okay, so does the “moving along nicely” part. The challenge is awesome! Thank you so much.

    Lua, thank you! Yes, word by word and scene by scene. I had an expectation to be there already, but I am taking a big step away from expectations. (That can help in many areas of life.) I’m loving the liberty of it, especially now that the words are flowing again. Thank you for the encouragement!

    Janice, thank you for your support! That means a lot to me. And like Layla, I love that where did all those words come from feeling, too!

    And oh, a pen. I sat there looking at the thing and thinking, You know how to do this — remember middle school? Just write! And I did. You should take up the pen challenge!

  9. I saw your comment on Agatha82 and came around for a look. I am a writer unpublished at this point. I have completed one novel and now must market it. Writing it was easier that this next step. I appreciate reading the posts and comments of other writers. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Thank you, Carol Ann. I’m glad you stopped by. It’s strangely comforting to hear that writing it is the easy part. Congratulations on completing your novel, and best of luck with it now!


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