Mar 032012

Lima, Peru.

March is three days old. Meaning that my goal to write the first chapter of my book is three days old. Meaning that I wrote for three two days for two hours at least per day.

Friday was too full of fun and stuff and things to do and sleep and people and enjoying myself and good conversations. So I didn’t actually write.

Not bad huh, failing on my own personal promise on the second day!?! :-)

But, to make up for it, I did write for close to 4 hours today! Or maybe I should say that I spent close to four hours very actively thinking about what I wanted to put on paper. The actual writing took perhaps 2 of those 4 hours. But it’s amazing how much thinking you can do when you’re going to the shop for a baguette for your lunch. This is good! I can do “work”, whilst doing completely different things!

As an example of what I’ve written so far:

The world
Endless (working name) is an old world. It is geologically in-active: No vulcanos, thermal vents, etc. No new landmasses are formed. There are no plate tectonics.

Endless’ orbit is highly eccentric, meaning a large difference between aphelion and perihelion. A year takes about 40 days. The temperature difference between aphelion and perihelion is large, on average some 20 degrees.

Gravity is somewhat higher than on Earth. It means that anything that falls (like rain) comes down harder.

Results so far:

  • A high-level description of my fantasy world (the star system my world is set in, geology, atmosphere and weather, oceanic currents, etc.). Total words: 800
  • Description of the meta-physics of the world (can’t have a fantasy world without magic, right?). Total words: 720
  • Description of the biology of the world (interesting flora and fauna and trying to build up a somewhat believable food chain). Total words: 730

Total number of words written: 2250. Total number of words for the story: 0.

It feels very useful to write all of this background. I love it when a book has a very consistent feel to it and not just stuff dropping out of nowhere because the writer thought it a good idea. Also this bottom up approach is helping me to generate a believable story line (in my opinion). Geology creates geography. Geography and biology indicate what the economy might be like. That in turn then gives rise to history and politics. Which of course are very important backdrops for interesting and believable characters and back-stories.

So, yet to be written: History, Economy and Politics (highly intertwined, so maybe I’ll make one file out of it).

And of course this is just a way of putting off the real work. Which is writing an interesting story. But it’s good to do some stretching before starting your big game, right? :-)

So far I’ve been having a lot of fun writing this. Let’s keep it up!

My goal revisited
I got a very good remark regarding my goal: It still isn’t fully SMART. Specifically, when is something acceptable as a first chapter? How many pages or words should that be? I can write a single page and call it my first chapter but that obviously isn’t the idea.

I did some research on the length of books and chapters. A guideline for a novel is about 100.000 words. The length of a chapter then depends on the number of chapters. On average there are 30 chapters in a 100.000 word book. So that gives 100.000 / 30 = 3.333 words for a chapter. This is an average, so I’ll set my minimum a bit lower, at 2.500 words.

Given that I have already written 2.250 words in the last three days, I’m quite sure I’ll be able to make this. :-)

So my revised goal:
It is my goal to finish the first chapter of my book, consisting of at least 2.500 words, and post it online, before the 1th of April 2012.

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