Sunday, May 19, 2013
Word count - the right method?
Whenever you get started reading the writers advices on the web or when you talk to people about writing, the best tip you get is write, write, write. At the end, it sums up to how many words an hour you are able to put down on paper.
I am really having my big time with that. I have a good notion about the plot of my novel, I worked on some parts of my main characters I have a quiet clear idea what I want the first chapters to be about. But when it comes down to writing, the days were I am most inspired and write like a fool, I seldom stay in this phase for more than 2 hours, the rest is editing and the result is barely more than 900 words per hour, most often less. And then there are days, where you know were you want to reach with your story, but it’s like climbing the Everest with bad equipment… Somehow it seems still achievable, but you can’t call that a beautiful journey, and I actually never reach to the top like that.
Ok, maybe everyone is right, and I just don’t have the hang out of it. But in the last weeks I have to admit, that the idea of reaching a certain amount of words, was putting me negatively under pressure. Sure, I have to write. With other words, I have to spend as many hours as possible on this job. But writing, writing, writing… that’s another topic. What about the hours of research, the hours spending time with synonyms, the hours you need to work on your characters, on the settings, the hours you work on more humorous ways to express one thought. You need to be patient and calm with that. When I am on the word count method, I feel like I am speeded up and it’s not helping me. The story has its own life, it’s own pace. I worked on it chronologically and pushed myself through the boring parts which were necessary to explain the cool parts. And once that was done, I inversed the order or the narration and swoop, I could leave most of the boring parts out, or reposition them in a way, that they are not boring anymore, but rather clues to what is to come or explanations to what you didn’t expect. That was very cool!
That set me thinking. Do I actually need to write the whole story down? Could I not rather use keywords for the Everest parts and take a lot of time concentrating on the details, without actually writing them all down. Then I structure the story, and then I start writing it down? Wouldn’t that save me a lot of time, a lot of erased words, a lot of sweat?
As newbie writer, this thought can only stay as a theory so far. Currently, I actually need to write every word down to be able to imagine the world I am going through. I am putting emphasis in building up the proper scenario, in concentrating on the feelings of the different characters, on getting the logic of the actions, on getting a sense of the surroundings, etc. That cannot be achieved by hurrying through the lines. It is rather a work as if you would be building one of this scale models for miniature trains, only in big, in real size.
I am curious to see how this evolves. Could it be true, that professional writers actually do all this thinking and imagining at vertigo-pace and are still brilliant with it? - ... Wow!