Writing numbers: October 2013

October was a really good month for me writing-wise.

I finished book 2 in record time and logged a total of 48,416 words with only four days of zero output.

I usually find that it’s not necessarily helpful for me to read up on what makes other authors tick because, like it or not, we tend to be a fairly idiosyncratic bunch. I like reading it, sure, because I’m a  nosy curious person, but I’ve never really taken anything home from it before. Therefore, I’ve never really thought it meaningful to talk about my method. Or my lack of method, as it were.

Every time I read about someone else’s method, I get this mental image of that Garfield comic strip where he’s trying to sleep, can’t quite get comfy, and Jon finds him in the morning standing on one foot on a stool, his tail tied to a broom balanced on a table so it’s straight out behind him, his other arm reached out for balance… You get the idea.

However, something changed recently that is making me reconsider that stance.

I’ve always been a pantser.


The die-hard kind where when the teacher asked for an essay outline before the essay was due to be turned in, I actually had to write the essay out first and then reverse engineer the outline.

However, this was the month (?) where the whole outlining thing finally fell in place for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I still hate plotting with a passion because it’s so *hard* and frankly it takes a little bit of the fun out of it for me. And I’ll never understand my friend who not only plots, has character sheets, has reams of notes before she even starts, probably has a trilogy’s worth of backstory stored in her binder, but also has tarot cards for the major plot events and the characters.

I’m telling you, knowing she does that definitely hardcore called up that Garfield image for me.


Finding Michael Hauge’s screenplay structure made everything click with a *ahhh* for me.

I’m still not great at it.

My outlines really look a lot more like: X goes east for a while, hits y and z problem, then goes north andante eroico (apologies for butchering the music notation form) for a while before swerving south furioso…etc etc.

However, now that I’ve shaken off the fetters of the idea that outlines have to be this precise, careful thing, I’m finally able to use them to good effect. Once I know the general direction and mood of where I’m going, the writing goes very, very fast.

Fast, of course, being about 2k a day or so. I’ve only been a year or so at this writing steadily thing though, so I expect that I too, will one day be able to whack out 6k words a day with little to no birthing pain.

I’m writing this in the hopes that it might be helpful to some other person to know that, yes, an outline can really just be a sentence or two.

Angst and schadenfreude con brio then fury appassionato with much betrayal then love vivace and ending with something appropriately sweet with a hint of tart.

Well, fine. Maybe a little more than that. But you get the point.



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