I told a lie. I did. But I was told to, if that makes it any better. It was all a part of the Crusader Challenge #1
(see post on 2/18/2011).
-Scratch until I bleed: Truth
-Talk in my sleep: Truth
-Walk in my sleep: Truth
-Dressed up as Bugs Bunny: Truth
-Friend named Amy dressed as an angel: Truth
-Father collects ducks/birds: Truth. He has several wooden ducks on display. Various sizes.
-Mother does collect thimbles and blown glass: Truth
-Peanut butter and mustard sandwiches: Truth (Weird I know, but I prefer the mustard to jelly).
-Snorkel in Hawaii: Truth (I’m going back this April. Can’t wait)
I do NOT collect vintage purses or costume jewelry. I do own some, what I inherited from my grandmother when she passed, but otherwise I’m not a collector—just sentimental. The one thing that makes me less weird is actually the lie. How about that? Good guesses everybody. Well done.
Now on to Stephen King, the really good stuff.
“I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months…Any longer and — for me, at least — the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel, like a dispatch from the Romanian Department of Public Affairs, or something broadcast on high-band shortwave during a period of severe sunspot activity.” –Excerpt from On Writing, by Stephen King
I tend to agree. The first draft shouldn’t take more than a few months to write. That’s good solid advice there. But (tossing out a big BUT here), sometimes it does take longer. Why?
This is my problem: I can start a novel fine enough. I don’t tend to have too much trouble finding my beginning point. I can even build the story to the climax portion of my novel (near 50-60K), tossing in twists and turns here and there. No problem.
It’s the gosh darn ending that kills me every time. It’s all the wrapping it up, tying the loose ends together, and filling in the plot holes that just about makes me pull my hair out. I’m horrible at endings. I think they tend to sound corny and contrived. I hate that.
So I started my last WIP (The zombie western romance—not in that order. No one wants to be romantic with a zombie. That's weird.) this past November during the National Novel Writing Month and got heck of a start going. I now sit at 77K and all that’s left to do is wrap it up and finish the sucker.
But I can’t. I worry the ending I have thought out in my head (I’m not a plotter) isn’t good enough. So I stall. I’m at the end of my fourth month, and by Stephen King’s rules, I should have been done with my first draft by now. I actually should’ve been done last month. But I’m not. I’m also starting to feel a disconnect with my characters, a “something broadcast on high-band shortwave during a period of severe sunspot activity”.
I get it. I do. I screwed up.
Now I’m blogging instead of writing and the divide between me and my characters is becoming larger and larger with each passing day.
Realistically, is writing a first draft in three months doable? Well, I checked out a website with a post called: How long should it take to write a novel? By Scott Marlowe and the graph/figure he uses to break down the process is excellent. For instance, if you wrote one word every single day it would take you exactly 273.97 years to complete your novel. Now that’s just crazy. No one would do that—you would die before you completed it. But now let’s take a look at something realistic. What would you think of writing 1,000 words a day? That’s not too bad, right? That’s doable. So how long would it take then? Just a little over three months. Three months! Just like Stephen King said. Man, that guy’s smart.
So why does it take some of us years then to finish the first draft of a novel? Mr. Marlowe suggests several things ranging from procrastination, to life getting in the way, sometimes we write ourselves into dead ends, or we starting the editing process while in the midst of writing. I want to toss out an excuse myself—fear. Fear of writing it wrong. I have Plan A for an ending. If it doesn’t work, if my Ideal Reader, Diana, says it’s horrible, I have no Plan B. Na-da.
So tonight, after my kiddos are tucked into bed, sleeping peacefully, I’m going to write about zombies. I’m going to fight through the fear and try and kick out this next chapter by the end of this week (I only have two chapters left). That is my goal. That is my plan. I'm going to fill that red bar up there at the top.
Or maybe I'll just go to bed. Who knows? I'm awful. Just plain awful. I know.
So how about you? How long does it take you to write you your first draft?