Homefront: Week 5


So last week, I made the semi-bold statement that my goal was to reach 75 thousand words by the end of today. It wasn’t a completely unreasonable goal, and were I made of sterner stuff, I may well have shattered that total.

I did not. I’m closing things down just over 73K, an increase of 21 thousand words and 100 pages of manuscript. I can tell you that the book is definitely in the home stretch now, and given the feeling in my gut and the words still in my head, I should finish writing this draft sometime in the middle of January.

Two weeks to go. It’s terrifying and liberating and empowering and terrifying to put that stake down in the literary ground, but the only way to hit a target is to aim at it. I’ve never missed a deadline in my professional career, and given the wording of my contract I certainly don’t intend to miss one now (hi, Mark!).

The difference between 75 thousand words and 73 thousand words is about ten pages. One chapter. A couple hours of time that a disciplined writer uses to Get Things Done. Or in this particular case, Wednesday.

I didn’t do a damn thing on Wednesday but play video games and eat leftovers. About half of today, (and Monday, if we’re honest) was spent in similar non-words-on-paper pursuits, and yet my word count for the week is UP from the week before, while I spent LESS time writing.

This is how I know I’m putting down good words, because I’m not leaving myself a lot of time to screw them up. I also did a bunch of research this week to bring those 100 pages to life. I learned about ______, spent time analyzing _______, and generally occupying myself as a professional writer does; mainly goofing off until I can’t stand it anymore and have to either type or drill a hole in my head.

All work and no play...
All work and no play…

I think we can all agree that typing is the better call here.

Another interesting bit about this week is that I made almost no progress checking off things on my roadmap/synopsis. This could be interpreted several ways, but I’ve chosen the one that makes me seem a lot smarter than I actually am.

That section of the synopsis was really compact, and spurred me to new heights of creativity.

I’ve underlined a whole three lines of text (my signal to myself that I’ve adequately fulfilled a plot promise) since last Saturday. Three. The snippets I’ve been posting on facebook are generally longer than that, and yet I feel fantastic about the words contained in those 100 pages.

Yep, coming along nicely...
Yep, coming along nicely…

I’ve expanded backstories, formed strong personalities from opposing factions into a true team, even committed heinous crimes against a main character(s), and still had time for them not only to cook a good meal, but take shop class, read a book, and play global thermonuclear war.

I always get that one wrong
I always get that one wrong

All in all, a very full week. And the really good stuff is yet to come.

My gut tells me that next Saturday, not only will I be attending an awesome going away party, but I’ll have crossed the 90K line and be well into my last page of synopsis. Because most of what’s left to underline is contained in a several really tight scenes, which I’ve already demonstrated I can stretch out pretty much forever.

And if that sounds like fun to you, you’re probably a writer too.


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