I finished chapter eleven this afternoon. 225 manuscript pages, which doesn't mean much, but it makes me feel good. Page-counts are more tangible to me than word-counts.
Eleven was tough because it had a lot of little scenes, which feels like a lot of start and stop to me. I know lots of writers set a quota for themselves of so many pages or so many words or so many hours in a given period of time, but for me the basic unit is the scene. I prefer not to stop writing in the middle of a scene, and when I finish one, I usually need some recharging time before I'm ready to write the next one. If I were ever setting daily quotas for myself instead of weekly quotas (which seem to work better with the work schedule) I think it would be along the lines of a scene a day. Days with short scenes would just be easy days. Big deal. Vanishing Act has about 78 scenes, so that would be about two and a half months, which seems to be about par for the course as far as time from plot to manuscript (for those of us that plot in advance, anyway).
Monday I go back to work. I am so not looking forward to it. Having this week to just write (and think about writing) has been wonderful. What a luxury it would be to be able to live like this all the time. (Since I'm forcing myself to write whether I go to a day job or not, I mean.)
I think I've started to put my finger on what's making this novel fly by so much better than the last one. I feel like somewhere about a month or so after I started serious work on VA, a switch got turned. I should be so lucky as to have this switch stay on for the rest of my life. Writing, all of a sudden, has become a lot easier for me than it was before. I think some lessons I'd heard over and over again finally started sinking in, and I no longer have so much of that lost, what the hell do I do now? angst at the beginning of scenes. When a scene is hard to write at first, I have some tricks now that help me play with it until I find the handle I need on it.
I'm not saying that my quality is that much better. I mean, I hope to hell that it is and I'd like to think so. But I don't know how qualified I am to judge that, in the moment. But what I do believe is that the swings in my quality are narrower. My best now may not be any better than my best a year or five ago. But my worst now is light years better than my worst was, even one year ago.
That being said, I'm not looking forward to the plot twists that are coming in VA. I'm about to put Chris through some unpleasant times. This mostly-pleasant interlude in his life ends "tomorrow" (in narrative time).
Thank God I don't have to start writing that stuff tonight.
Writing Contests: How to Write to Win
8 hours ago