Thursday, May 28, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday #4

I know, I know. It's really Thursday. Anyone else feeling like their week is out of whack after the holiday weekend? No? Well, humor me and pretend it's Wednesday, all right?

So, here is my progress for this Wednesday-that's-not-really-Wednesday-but-we're-pretending-it-is. No news on the two agents reading my full manuscript. And just so you know, checking your email 20 times a day does not, indeed, make them respond any faster.

I'm still working on character development for my current WIP. In fact, I had one character just burst into my head and tell me what's what. I like to find pictures of people that look like my characters just to help solidify things. So I found some great pics for one character. Then I was folding laundry and this character sauntered into my head, oozing personality, and informed me that he is *not* Jonathan (the one I had planned).

Meet Isaac.

*Note: If you know who this is in real-life, just keep quiet. This is Isaac, okay?*

Isaac was a really minor character that I hadn't even spent much time on because he had limited screen time and up until this point merely existed to serve a plot purpose rather than having much of his own weight. (You know the characters like that.) Well, Isaac was very clear that the pics I had found were of him, and an entire scene started playing in my head right then and there. I threw the clothes down and dashed upstairs to the computer so I could catch it before Isaac decided to quit talking.

And holy wow! My story just got a whole lot more intriguing with Isaac and his friends. Oh yes, he has friends. With their own powers and agendas and boy is this going to be cool! *rubbing hands together and giggling* I am really falling in love with this story!

And soon I have to quit flirting and get on to full-blown dating.

At Conduit this weekend I sat in on a panel of 4 authors who answered some really fantastic questions. In fact, it inspired me to work on an upcoming blog post on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Writers. (Doesn't that sound good?)

All authors on this panel agreed hands down that the best thing for a writer to do is to *make* the time to write. Not smash it in during your spare time, but plan on certain times to work, and then make the sacrifices necessary to do it. Kind of like that Nike slogan--Just Do It.

One of the panelists talked about how he makes deadlines for himself and then tracks his progress. He picks a date he wants to finish with a rough draft, for example, then he figures out how many words he has to write per week and day in order to meet that deadline. Then he tracks the time spent and words written on a spreadsheet.

My ears immediately perked up. Spreadsheet? I like spreadsheets. Um. A lot.

Yes, I'm a nerd. One of the funniest things about this panel was that all 4 panelists used to be accountants before they switched to full-time writing. So I'm in good nerd company. :)

I figured out that I'd like to start the nitty-gritty writing next Monday (June 1st) and my goal is to have the rough draft of Going Under/Mind Benders finished by the end of September. It's YA, so 65,000 words is a decent word count to shoot for. That means that I need to write 3600 words a week, or app. 750 words per day for 5 days a week to meet my goal. Manuscript pages average about 250 words/page, so that's 3 pages a day, 5 days a week.

That doesn't sound too bad! Certainly I can do that. Even in the summer with the daily neighborhood parties that seem to spontaneously happen at my house. 3 pages a day. And by focusing on this story I can quit worrying so much about the agents.


Kimberly said...

Goals . . . plans . . . spreadsheets . . . I knew I was missing something!

Fascinating post, and your talk of Isaac made me giggle. I love when characters come to life like that.

Chantele said...

Love spreadsheets as well... My husband thinks I'm a nerd... Anyway, I am going to take your advice and get crackin' on my next novel. I am 15,000 words in, and it's a YA, and I love this story more than my last one! It's so hard with my two little no nap taking children, but gosh darn it, if most of these writers can do it, then so can I! Thanks for the wonderful post!:) I just had a partial rejected yesterday, so I feel the same way as you about agents right now. Keep trying!:)

Michelle said...

I'm not a geek and don't know how to use a spread sheet usually I sit at my computer untill the urge to hit me. :)

I love how characters do that. I had a vampire walk into the mothers room at church (of all places) and start telling me his story. His son did the same thing only I was still in bed one morning. They are a headstrong family. grin

I want to read your book it sounds interesting.

Hang in there we will get agents and contracts.

Julie Wright said...

i so don't love spreadsheets. No wonder i am so disorganized. But yes this is a good goal and you can do this.

LexiconLuvr said...

I love spreadsheets too but as for the accounting, I think that a two fingered blind goblin could count better than I could.
I'm so happy about Issac. What a wonderfully delicious moment, huh?

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I'm was actually a HUGE fan of the spreadsheet method when I was working on the first draft of my WIP - it really helped keep me motivated and on track. The spreadsheet I used was actually one passed along by a friend whose husband had made it, and it has all the equations built in so that it adds up my total numbers, weekly numbers, and monthly numbers - if you are interested I'd be happy to email it to you.