Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Churning out the word count

It’s been a little while since I did the first draft of Bane of Souls [pencilled-in title], but I remember the sometimes difficult task of trying to write X number of words per day. As a part-time would-be writer my daily target was relatively low, at 1,500 words. I’d try to write about 500 per sitting, as that’s a nice round number and also roughly one page on Word.

A post on Chrons recently highlighted a very interesting and probably helpful article regarding how to crank out more words. Rachel Aaron put forward three features that could really improve writing productivity: namely planning, enthusiasm and time.

Based on my limited experience (I’ve never even tried to get to 5,000 words a day, let alone 7,000 or 10,000), I think she’s very likely to be right. The easiest and most enjoyable piece of writing I ever did was some years ago. I was very clear about what I wanted the scene to be about and the impression I wanted the reader to get, and wrote something like 3,000 words in 30-45 minutes (which is break-neck speed, for me). It was also one of the pieces that I’ve liked reading back the most.

For Bane of Souls I adopted the unusual strategy of actually planning what the world and, roughly, the storyline would be before starting to write anything. Normally I just dive straight in, but I found myself enjoying the world-building, considering how the political, religious and cultural structures should co-exist in Highford and what sort of people should live there.

This also made the process of writing a lot easier, as I had the constant backdrop of the world-document I’d written. For someone who is atrocious at continuity and occasionally gets stuck having a fairly comprehensive document of characters, organisations and geography helped me bridge some gaps more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

I imagine it’ll be a little while before I’m back to writing a first draft (pretty glad the damned redrafting is done), but I’ll definitely re-read that article before I do.


No comments:

Post a Comment