how I'm writing my novel this year, tips and wisdom welcomed

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Thread: how I'm writing my novel this year, tips and wisdom welcomed

  1. #1

    how I'm writing my novel this year, tips and wisdom welcomed

    Hi all,

    at the beginning of the year I decided to push myself to write a full novel. I've seen topics of people writing 2000 words a day and writing a novel in a month. To try and reach and stick with my goal I set myself to a more reasonable quota, I decided on 500 words a day and hope / plan to finish in May or June. I hoped for April but read that a safe word count for a novel is 80,000 words. So up to present I've completed my 500 daily words and feel great about it. I get a little nervous worrying that my story might not make it to the end but it keeps changing and staying on course and wherever it ends up I will be happy. I was using an app on my phone to write a few hundred of my daily words while at work during the day so I wouldn't have to worry too much about it in the evenings. That was going good but I got a new boss and don't do it right now while not busy at work. But I make myself do it evenings and it's not too bad. The most I've been behind so far is two days on the weekends but I wrote my two 500 word counts today and caught up. I think of writing more and finishing sooner but my 500 daily quota has been great for the story so far and I'm nervous to change it.

    I'm not focusing on perfect sentences and spending lots of time trying to write one amazing line, I'm just writing the story to complete it and have it and then I can decide whether it needs editing, but I will have it.

    I use my chromebook when at home to write.

    Any tips greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by abacoian View Post
    I'm just writing the story to complete it and have it and then I can decide whether it needs editing, but I will have it.
    Go ahead and make the decision that it will need editing upon being written if you ever want to do anything beyond just writing it (ie, publishing, etc.). With this in mind, you can do as you say and focus on just getting it written with the knowing that you can always go back and make it better.

    Sounds like you have a good system working for you, so keep it up!
    The beauty of writing is in the well crafted sentence.

  3. #3
    It's been said that it's easier to write all of it, then edit it and add chapters later.

    Writing on a chapter basis can interrupt the flow, so each part will almost be written differently.

    And re-read what you've written up to that point before you start writing again. Also helps the flow.
    If it gets too long just read enough behind yourself.

    And do stick with it. You can do all the editing in the world to improve it, but the hardest thing is to write the first draft. Stick with it.
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  4. #4
    Honestly the method of writing [x] words per day is a good one. Do it for a while and let yourself build some momentum then revisit the idea of upping the daily word count.

    And if this is the first novel you've ever completed then just make sure to keep your expectations in check. One can be technically good at writing and be pretty crap at writing a cohesive 100 000 words. Your first novel is likely to be pretty mediocre, your next one is likely to be way better.
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  5. #5
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Grantham, Lincolnshire - home of Isaac Newton and some woman whose name I've forgotten
    Hello Abacoian

    Here's another approach, this one seems to work for me:

    Not working from an outline, I set a target of having a chapter completed within a certain time: 'By the end of the week I will have finished Chapter Twenty-Three.'

    So, I grab my A4 pad and make some notes that in this chapter my hero is going to escape from the bad guys and get the girl into bed for the first time. Then I concentrate on getting my first paragraph just right. Next I work on the first sentence of the chapter.

    My first paragraph may take me a whole day or even more. My first sentence then seems to evolve rather quickly once I'm happy with that first paragraph.

    Now I'm ready to finish the chapter which can flow at anything from 500 words in a day to 2000 (with a number of edits and revisions to follow. I'm not suggesting for a moment I'm capable of producing 2000 polished words in a day).

    I never worry about word count, my chapter may end up with 800 words or 8000 - just enough to tell the story.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
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  6. #6
    Writing x amount of words per day is a good starting point, but has a few flaws as a viable method for writing a full novel.

    Naturally, the first scenes of a new novel will flow. You might find yourself getting 2,000 words a day for the first five days, your fingers unable to keep up with the ideas flowing through your mind. However, once you hit a sticking point, it's going to be tough to make your quota for the day -- and trying to do so brings with it a level of stress that isn't required or necessary. For that reason, I always tell people to try to write something every day and forget about meeting a quota.

    That having been said, five hundred words is a much more realistic number. You should be able to do that comfortably. After that, take Pops' advice. If this is your first attempt at a novel, it will be tough. Don't be hard on yourself, don't expect too much of yourself, and have fun. I can't stress those two words enough. Writing doesn't have to be a chore or a job, especially at this stage of your writing career. Loosen the shackles and have fun.

    Find what works best for you: some people swear by outlines, others detest them, but you are the ultimate arbiter of what does and doesn't work for you. Writing your first novel will straighten out the kinks in a huge way.

    Other than that: read, write, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.
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  7. #7
    I'm not focusing on perfect sentences and spending lots of time trying to write one amazing line, I'm just writing the story to complete it and have it and then I can decide whether it needs editing, but I will have it.
    At last!

    It's amazing how many writers get caught up on not heeding this simple directrive: the most important thing is to complete the story. Once it's done, you'll be able to make your sentences much, much better, because you'll know the overall picture and how to affect the pacing, mood and overall trajectory of the narrative.

    Sounds like you're going to succeed. Good luck with your writing.
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  8. #8
    As has been said, find what works best for you. The real key is steady progress, whether that comes from a word-count goal, a time commitment goal (writing for x hours, x days per week), or some other method. No one gets better by not writing.
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  9. #9
    Thank you so much for the feedback guys! I truly appreciate it and am encouraged. At the end of the day when I'm tired and my times running out I get a little anxious to get my words in, but over 40 days so far this year I've found 500 is very doable. Another thing I decided was a day off would be a trap, my commitment is to finish and look back on the days and months that pass in this year and know the work has been done one day at a time all adding up. It s going to be worth it no matter if the end result is published or not. It's already been worth it. I like the story, but that's a whole nother story I thank you again guys and sorry for not much response but wanted to check in.

  10. #10
    Sounds like your doing fine, keep it up!
    I do something similar but not a word quota, I just make sure I write something every day. Some days I write 500 words, some I write only a few lines but I write something. I take a lot of notes during the day on my phone, so I can write about it later. I am not writing a novel just a self help technical book. I am at 4,900 words right now and I am happy, happy, as this is my first attempt at writing.
    I am an early riser so I write in the morning before I head to work. No one is up, so no distractions from kids.

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