Introduction to the Accountability Post 2021 Week 14
Last week, I shared the stunningly obvious lesson that world building reduces word count. In other words, taking time away from writing to design a room or a ship or even a star system means I can’t spend that time on writing. It’s beneficial in the long run, of course. At least for me, knowing how the world looks and feels helps me better visualize my characters and their scenes. But in that moment, for that day or two, my word count drops.
This week, I found something else that takes time away from raw word count. It’s arc intersections!
Many things are obvious in retrospect. Like it takes time to sequence long-running plots so they collide in a way that sends the plot careening in the right direction.
I knew this at one time. Probably the last time I wrote a novel. Which is to say, 30+ years ago. So I suppose, if I’m forcing myself to be charitable, I could say that I can be excused for forgetting something like that. On the other hand, it’s not like I don’t read novels…
Anyway, that explains my my word count on one day was low. I had to play arc traffic controller! Which brings me to my report of progress.
Accountability Post 2021 Week 14 By the Numbers
The week before, I wrote 4,281 words to push the total first draft count to 90,582 words. Here’s what I did this week:
With a grand total of 96,919 words, that means I wrote 6,337 words this week. That’s a thousand words more than the previous week. That makes sense, this this week I took advantage of the world-building from the previous week.
I mentioned that the arc intersections take a lot of time. In my case, all seven major arcs come together in about the same place. It should be pretty dramatic if I can pull it off! But I find I have to make lots of in-flight adjustments. For example, the Indiana launched a probe toward the inner planets in the 61-Cygni system. I had intended for it to find something on the planet, but the timing was all wrong. It could take weeks or months to reach the inner planets from the asteroid belt. So, I had to adjust the timing so the probe found something in-flight.
Alder’s plans crashed into Conrad’s plans, and both kind of lumbered into Booth’s path. Alder will be important in the next two books, particularly the third, so I have to set it up right while still making the scenes effective in this book.
Plus, what’s going on at 61-Cygni will have huge ramifications on Earth, given Stein’s machinations, which will smack right into Porter. If I don’t get the precursors and foreshadowing right, I’ll rob the scenes of drama, and what readers I manage to attract will feel disappointed.
That is not the reaction I’m going for!
I keep telling myself this is a first draft, and I’m going to hold me to that. I’m forcing myself not to thing about whether I’ll push forward with the second book’s first draft or revise this one first. I need to finish the first draft of this book before I let anything distract me. Fingers crossed!
Do you have any news about what you’re working on? Any tips about how you keep focused? Have you read anything that struck your fancy? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!