Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Stats! So Far...

Why not a little something about writing today? It's been awhile! And it seems appropriate, considering that today is Stephen King's birthday! (Just thought I'd throw that one out there...) I was just thinking about numbers a few days ago, and this is how things stand so far in my time as a still-unpublished writer. It's amazing what little details you remember about every project!

- I've written four books in the past three years. That's about one book every sixteen months! The average time for finishing a novel is about six to eight months, but I'd say my current average isn't that bad considering I get about two and a half hours of writing time a day, and that's on a GOOD day.

- My first book was written in one year exactly, starting on Halloween and ending on the very next Halloween. It was about 303 pages long from start to finish, with twelve chapters plus one epilogue. There was a move during that time, so my memories are of writing the first chapter sitting on the washing machine in the utility room of one house looking out onto the backyard and writing the last chapter sitting at the foot of my bed in another house looking out onto a different backyard. The fall season had a huge influence on this one (the action takes place between August and October), and even now autumn makes me want to get back to that story and those characters.  Unfortunately, I can't count this as a finished product because it needs drastic revision. Surprise! It's the Gargantuan Novel Re-Write! I'll get it right one of these days, I swear I will!

- Second book, written in eighteen months and finished on my sister's twentieth birthday. She started reading this one as I wrote it, then I took it over to finish it and wouldn't let her have it until I was done. In that time, she got sidetracked from it and STILL hasn't finished reading it! This one was 350 pages long and called for extensive research on medieval methods of smithing. I hit the 100-page mark about six months into it, the second Christmas after I started it. This was the first thing I ever stayed up late to write, and that's a practice I haven't let go of. It's also the first time I tried writing in first person and actually stuck to it, though I alternated the perspectives between chapters. I first got into Phantom of the Opera in the process of writing this one, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't have a tiny bit of influence on it.

- My third book was written in a whopping eight months! To the day! Started February 7 (after a false start on chapter one) and ended October 7, at seven-fifteen in the morning! The hand-written draft ended up being 403 pages long, and I reached 100 pages three months into the project, cutting the old record in half! I used third person limited perspective in this one (and I'm only just returning to that POV) to give myself a challenge, and while I started using music as a point of inspiration during my second book, it was only while writing this one that I adopted the idea of playlists to keep the inspiration going. I stayed up late writing this one as well, and got through writer's block by the use of lucid dreaming. At this point in my writing, I was searching for tips anywhere I could find them and I came across the idea of character interviews to flesh out the people in the story, so I spent a solid two weeks getting to know the people I was going to be spending the next few months with. And guess what? Those three characters are still rattling around in my head! *wink wink*

- The fourth book was started in July about halfway through the third book, and I have no stats for this one. I typed it as I wrote it and I didn't track the progress. It's definitely my best writing, especially since I spent this summer on a second draft (ending with a page count of 337), and without a doubt my favorite project so far!

- The fifth book...ouch. It was finished in six months, but it's only 102 pages long--if that even counts as a about novella? And it took every last bit of those six months to write those one hundred pages! That was the absolute WORST time I've ever had writing, and if I didn't have fantastic support from my audience and a beyond-excellent beta reader, I wouldn't have finished it! The usual blood, sweat and tears went into writing it, along with anxiety, depression, insomnia, stubbornness, anger, misery, and a few manic episodes when I broke down into hysterical laughter before falling down in exhaustion. I'm *cough* told that it's my masterpiece...

I'm working on my sixth book now, which is a return to third person perspective and my first foray into a modern setting. I won't say any more, but I've only been working on it for a month now, and I'm over seventy pages into the first draft! Do I smell a new record in the air?

Your pal,

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