Or more accurately, the “zero-eth” draft. This draft ended up at 98,276 words. My original goal had been a minimum of 80,000, and I was determined to keep it under 100,000.
On the Making of the Sausage:
I started modifying the original short story on January 14, 2012, so the whole thing took about a year. To be fair, that wasn’t a solid year of writing. The spreadsheet I kept tells me I had 89 days when I wrote something. Since I started out with a 4,000-word short story, that’s 94,276 new words over that time, for an average of 1,059.3 words per day.
That surprised me, since most days were less than a thousand words, and I had one day where I actually lost 31 words. But there were some days when I was in the 2,000 to 3,000 range to make up the difference. On two days, I actually cracked the 4,000 word mark, with my personal best being 4,703.
I worked in spurts, with a number of gaps in between. Usually these gaps were short–one to three days–but a few were extensive. The start was slow. I only wrote on one day in February, 2012, and didn’t really get rolling until the middle of March. From then until the beginning of June, I made steady progress with the usual frequent gaps. The largest gap was 11 days in April, and there were two 8-day gaps in May. The second of those gaps (according to my writing journal) was when I took time to self-publish Castle Falcon.
I hit a wall on June 5, and didn’t do any more real work on the manuscript until September 5. Three months! I only did a little work on August 23. My journal for that day says:
A lot of time has passed. Too much time. Worked some more on Castle Falcon’s website and other things. Went back to the Midwest in July. The complete lack of response on Roger Mantis is very discouraging. It’s obvious that Zorya is my only hope at this point–the market seems primed for something like this–but strangely this seems to make me even more blocked on working on it.
To get back into it now requires a complete refresh on the whole thing. My wife actually had to remind me what David’s name was. Not a good sign.
I’m wondering if a document on character arcs would help, but I find it way too easy to get mired in “busywork” that isn’t actual writing. Maybe I should just dive back into it again and start pumping out scenes, and knit them together later. That’s how Castle Falcon got written.
Puttered around for a while. 37 words.
On September 5, I forced myself to get back into it again, and this time, with one exception, I stuck it out. From September 5 until December 10, the largest gap of days without writing was six days at the start of October, and that was when we went down south to visit my daughter on her birthday.
There’s a gap from December 11 through January 1st, but that was deliberate. Holidays were a lot of work, with me doing huge amounts of baking, shopping, and that sort of thing, so I decided to take the time off so I could focus better when things settled down. I did a little writing on January 1st and 7th, and from the 14th to the end I wrote every day.
Writing is hard work for me. A long day of writing is the mental equivalent of running an obstacle course, one in which alligators are involved. Right now, I’m wiped. I’m taking a few days off, and then will begin “sweeping the manuscript.”
More on that later.