Setting new goals

Well, September is upon us, and the deadline for Dragon Keeper is December 1.    Which means that actually the publishers want it by December 31st, so I set my personal deadline a month early.  That allows me that final month to do all my ‘go backs’ and fixes after I let it cool for a week or so.

The pace I’ve been setting up to now is 1000 words a day.  That’s every day, no exceptions.  IF I were actually faithful to that, I’d have 365,000 words by the end of a year. But I’m human, and sometimes I’m sick or lazy or the computer goes to the shop or whatever.  Nonetheless, I’ve actually done a pretty good job of keeping up with that this year.

One prompter I use is a pocket sized notebook on my desk.  It has the date, the page numbers I wrote that day, and a word count for the day.  It helps me on those nights when I really want to push back from the desk and go to bed. 

But now it’s time to turn on the steam.  As of tomorrow, when the grandkids are back in school for full days, I’m going to be going for 2000 words a day.  I’m putting this out in public as a good way to make me grit my teeth and stay up until that is what I get each night. 

1000 words works out to about 3 manucript pages a day.  Now I’ll be going for 6.  I think that 20 manuscript pages makea pretty good chapter, so this is going to also increase the pace at which I’m writing the book.  Chapters will go by faster.

I’m doing something a bit different in the way I’m telling this story.  Farseer and Tawny Man were very linear and chronological, with few gaps in time.  Dragon Keeper will have leaps, some of days, a few of years.  It lets me go, for example, from a courtship to the character as someone in an established relationship a few years later.  But I already think that I’m going to be doing a number of ‘go backs’ to insert more bridges in those gaps.

I’m already looking forward to 2009.  In my mind, it’s The Year of the Short Story.  I’ve got so many ideas stacked up.  I’m trying to decide how to undertake creating new works for the collection.  Spend the first months just writing stories, and the next six months tweaking and improving them?  Write, polish, and move on to the next one? It’s going to be a very different year, unlike anything I’ve ever done before.

So, wish me luck on wrapping up this book, and on plunging into shorter works next year.


5 Responses to Setting new goals

  1. ooooh, more stories soon?


    Phillip Pullman apparently has some disciplined habit where he makes himself spend a solid x uninterrupted hours writing every day, and must have at least y pages written, even if revisions, to outlines. (I’m not sure what the values were for x and y, and… it’s better that you pick values that don’t make you shudder at the mere thought.)

  2. Re: ooooh, more stories soon?

    Pages or a word count works best for me as a measurement of work accomplished. Hours spent writing would never do: I’m interrupted so often, and I procrastinate so much that I could spend the entire day at my desk and not get six words.

    But then, about ten o’clock, I realize that I have to buckle down and start filling those pages. And the surprising part is that I do!