Monday, February 4, 2013

Birth of a Novel: writing the words

This blog series following the creation of Duty from idea to print book is part of an experiment. The first installment was Birth of a Novel: the starting point.

By January 5, 2012, the opening-line-contest short story had a title (Duty), 4,125 words, and three chapters. I set the goal of finishing the story by year end and started writing in earnest toward that goal. 

The February update mentions a word count of 9,762 words and the lack of a mid-point in sight. Around then I realized that my “short story” was going to be at least a novella, though I suspected it much earlier (writing chapter two). I was still struggling to get my head around Brielle, which should have been a sign that this was going to get even bigger.

By mid-March, Duty was about 18,142 words long (9 chapters) and growing complicated. Four villains can make things a bit on the complicated side.

I didn’t mention the word count in the mid-April update. Judging by the new sentences I included in the update, I would guess it was around 25,000 words then.

May 26th, I marked the word total at 32,712. By then I had given up hope of it being a novella and realized it was going to be a novel. To mark the occasion, I set a new goal: 60,000 words.

The June 4th update noted 40,983 words.

July’s update was delayed because I was buried in finishing the novel and distracted from everything else. However, its growth was chronicled carefully via Facebook by statuses containing word counts and new sentences of the day.

July 2 - 60,109 words - A man who despises the good fortune of his friend is not a friend. Lack of appetite had eaten away at his cheeks leaving them thin.
July 3 - 60,684 words - Between duty and worry, he barely slept the past few days.
July 5 - about 61,000 words - “I hate sieges,” he muttered before rolling over.
July 6 - added 885 words -
July 8 - added 926 words - He fell to his knees with a wet slosh.
July 9 - added 1,414 words -
July 10 - 64,927 words plus about 1,049 words later - "You once told me you wanted a wife who could stand beside you, not behind you. I am your wife, Tomas, and you are going to have to let me stand beside you.”
July 13 - added about 828 words totaling 67,307 by the end of the day - He strode over, discarding his helmet, and plucked my helmet from my head, releasing the crazy mess of sweaty hair beneath.
July 14 - added 665 words - I expected him to be a fidgety type with that intent gaze, but his hands rested on his weapons, relaxed and ready.
July 15 - 68,461 words - Out of the darkness a wave of pouring rain washed over us with a roar.
July 16 - added 708 and then 800 plus words to total 1,529 in a day; 69,990 words - Tomas, sword already drawn, took the stairs at a sideways run with the confidence of a man with experience in tight and curving spaces. It (Brielle's sword) hit the stone with a clatter that echoed in the bailey below despite the constant drumming of the rain.
July 17 - 70,848 words - The clash of metal grating against metal set my teeth on edge.
July 21 - added 1,453 words -
July 22 - added 996 words - Shedding gear from the door to the bed, I was about to sink into the offered softness, when Tomas came through the canvas flaps.
July 23 - added about 1,900 words; 76,347 words - As much as I trusted Dentin, I didn’t want to walk into the lion’s den without Tomas’ support.
July 24 - Finished the rough draft! 77,617 words!

Roughly eight months!

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