Mar 172012

Arequipa, Peru.

A little under a week ago I finished and posted the first chapter of my book-to-be online (find it here) and by doing so reached the goal I had set for myself:
It is my goal to finish the first draft of the first chapter of my book, consisting of at least 2.500 words, and post it online, before the 1th of April 2012.

Since then I have been taking it easy for a bit, mostly enjoying the precious time that I had with Vivi to go see the Islas Balistas (poor man’s Galapagos) and Arequipa (where I still am right now, though she had to go back to Lima 🙁 ).

But, now it’s time to pick up my (proverbial) pen and start churning out those words again.

For my first chapter I found that it really helped me to have a clear-cut goal to work towards, so I’m going to set up a new one, this time for a bit more than a single chapter.

I’ve been reading up on how people actually write books. The lessons I took away so far are:

  • When writing, don’t edit. Create words, worry later about making everything perfect (or better, good enough). – This has been very hard to do, but I have found it very good advice.
  • Create a routine of writing. Write every day if at all possible. – Also good advice. I sometimes found it hard to start, but once busy, I got into a flow very easily.
  • Set a daily goal of how many characters or words you want to write. – I have been focusing on a chapter but I think this would actually be a better idea, as it gives me the opportunity to asses every day whether I made my goal or not.
  • A good story is some sort of “conflict”, with an initiation, crescendo and resolution. – That got me thinking a lot. What is to be the (main) conflict of my book?

I found that I spent quite a bit of time on not just the story, but also on the background, the world I’m creating. That doesn’t go into the book, but it is very useful to me in creating something consistent and in my opinion believable. When working on my first goal (my first chapter) I was a a bit scared in the beginning that all my time would go to “world building”, which would mean that I wouldn’t be able to make the actual goal itself. Thus, I want to include anything I do for world building in the goal.

When actually spending the time to sit down, I had no problem writing a thousand words per day. This would thus be a good minimum to strive towards. I am however on the move and writing every day might not be possible. Thus, a weekly goal of say 6.000 words might be a good idea.

My parents will be arriving in South America to join me for a bit of backpacking (yay, way cool!) in the beginning of May. I think I won’t want to spend a lot of time behind the computer with them around, so I’ll set my intermediate goal for just before May and decide on what to do in May when the time comes 🙂 That gives me just over 6 full weeks of writing, or 36.000 words.

Thus, my goal is:
Before 1 May 2012 I will write for my book 6.000 words per week, making a total of at least 36.000 words. These words might be directly part of the story or they may be part of the background material.

Note that I’m not including the posting of anything online (don’t want to spoil everything!) though if you bugger me for it enough I might put another chapter online at some point 🙂