This was a pretty poor week for fiction-writing. On only one day–yesterday–did I get any writing done. Combined with last week, that makes for 9 consecutive days of no new fiction-writing. Not a very auspicious start. But I did learn a few things. Given my schedule, and how full my days are, it just isn’t possible for me to write new fiction and work on second or third draft material in the same day. My primary writing slot is early in the morning and I’ve got to use that slot to its fullest. That means that when I work on the second or third draft of a story, I need to take a break on the new fiction, if only because I need the time slot. This means, that it will be nearly impossible to achieve my goal of 500 words every day, but it might help with greater consistency going forward.
In that sense, this week wasn’t a total loss. I worked received additional feedback on the second draft of story #1 and it is clear that a third draft will be required. I already have ideas for this but I still need some more time away from it. I also got a second draft of story #2 completed this week. The draft came in at 4,500 words and I’m waiting to get Kelly’s feedback on it. It’s a seasonal story–a Christmas story set a few hundred years in the future. Once I’ve gotten her feedback I’ll move forward with it.
Yesterday was the only day that I did new fiction writing. But I think it is the start of something good. I started story #3 which I intend to be a novella. At present, I estimate the story to come in around 16,000 words. At 500 words/day, that will keep me busy for the next 32 days and I’d wrap up the first draft on February 22. If I write 500 words a day. Yesterday I did 750 and today I did 850. And I like the direction the story is going so far.
Incidentally, I’ve struggled with novella length stories before but I’m approaching this one a bit differently. I’ve recently been reading quite a few novellas in order to get a better idea about how they are handled. In this one, I’ve broken the story into four parts and an epilogue, and am writing each of those parts as stories in themselves. It makes the overall story more manageable in my head. It might make for more tenuous connections between each of the four parts, but I’ve decided that those connections can be tightened during the second draft. This is an example, by the way, of how reading lots of science fiction helps me learn to improve my craft.
I plan on really plugging away at this story in hopes of having a draft complete by February 22. For reasons I will explain sometime in the future, I’d like to send this story out no later than mid-March. In the meantime, I do think I’m only a week or so away from submitting story #2. Story #1 still requires some work.
All told, I’ve written 10,759 words of new fiction this year. At 500 words a day, that puts me 241 words below par. Not too bad overall, but that’s only because I’m writing significantly more than 500 words on the days that I actually do write. There are still far too many days when I don’t write at all. I’m hoping my work on this novella will help change that.