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Accountability Post 2021 Week 17

Introduction to the Accountability Post 2021 Week 17

Have you ever purchased any of the classes from Master Class? I did. I bought Neil Gaiman’s series on creative writing. I’ve always enjoyed reading his works. Then I read Neverwhere. No, it was more than just reading it. I listened to the audio book, which Neil Gaiman himself narrated.

We live in a world of hyperbole. So I’ll try to restrain myself. I’ll just say this: If you love fantasy; if you love fiction; you need to read this book. It’s not like you’ll die if you don’t read it. You life, however, will not be as rich as if you did.

No lie.

Immediately after completing it, or maybe half way through (I don’t remember which), I bought his master class. It’s packed with goodness, but in terms of this post, there’s a module that talks about the rules of writing. He speaks of Robert A. Heinlein’s 5 Rules For Writers. Rule number 2 is:

You must finish what you write

I’m writing this with a sense of superstitious dread. I can see the end of A Ghast in the Machine. This weekend, I wrote the first draft of Porter’s Plot Turn 2. I can see the end of the book. I’m probably a month out at my current output, but I can see it. It’s right there! So of course, I expect the asteroid to plow into the planet. That’s how much I feel like life wants to prevent me from writing.

That would count as negative thinking, wouldn’t it? Then what’s it called when I continue to write, despite thinking the world’s about to end? Just being a writer? I hope it’s something that noble…

Accountability Post 2021 Week 17 By the Numbers

By the end of week 16, I had written 4,430 for that week to take the total to 108,044. How’d I do during week 17?

Pretty consistent this week. I wonder if 150,000 words is too much for my genre? Come to think of it, I need to pick a new genre. Space opera ain’t gonna work for the first trilogy…

So, I wrote 6,685 words to take the total just short of 115,000 words. I’m guessing this book will hit 150,000 words. Is that too many?

One of the writers I really like and respect, Peter F. Hamilton, wrote a trilogy called The Night’s Dawn Trilogy. According to Wikipedia, that trilogy was 1.2 million words. That’s about 400,000 per book. I hung on every word. Hamilton’s work is the kind of thing I’d like to write if I ever get good enough. I want to get to the point where I could write a single book of 400,000 words that people would want to read. Hell, I’d like to get to the point where I could write 400,000 words that don’t put people in the hospital.

But it doesn’t answer the question of genre. When I started this trilogy, I had hoped it would be a space opera. That ain’t happening. I started too early in the Conrad family history. Later books, yes. Now?

I’d better figure that out. In fact, I’m late. If I botch the tropes readers expect for whatever genre I pick, they won’t react well. And since I hope to ask them to part with their hard-earned cash, I need to make a compelling case.

Well, I am where I am. Rule #2 compels me to finish. So let’s see where that leads me.

Feedback Welcome!

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!

11 thoughts on “Accountability Post 2021 Week 17

  1. Good luck avoiding the meteor strike and getting to the finish line!

    Heinlein’s rules are fascinating and kind of make a lot of sense. Have you listened to any of Dean Wesley Smith’s interviews? He often talks about Heinlein’s rules being the secret to his success, that and his prolific release schedule.

    I’ll have to see if I can get a copy of Neverwhere. I do love a good epic-fantasy.

      1. Yeah, that’s the man! He’s a legend. I’ve mostly listened to podcast interviews with him, so I guess I’m going to have to check out his YouTube too. Currently working my way through Chris Fox’s channel.

        1. As a hard sci-fi fan, I didn’t think I’d like Chris Fox’s work. But I tore through the Void Wraith series.

          Strangest. Villain. Ever!

          If it’s the one I’m thinking of. But I read it. I liked it. And I think fondly of it.

          So, yeah, that’s worthy of study!

  2. Hm… this is an interesting post. I myself am a writer and I never judge my progress based on word count. Its the story that matters. Telling a story is the key to success in writing IMO. If you have a story to tell then the word-count will be a non -factor whether it be a short story or a novel. So far, I’ve written three novels and over a dozen short stories. Of course I’m not as big as Neil Gaiman but I believe every talented writer wants to tell an interesting story, or introduce a world to their readers. Another aspect of writing is having some average everyday guys read your work to know where you stand talent wise. It doesn’t have to be writing just for the sake of writing. Hell, you can tell an interesting story that actually happened in real life. I’ve read plenty of exceptional real-life stories on Reddit. Good writing comes from the soul. If you want to know what I’m talking about, then check out my novel Blood Souls and Sacrifice. You’ll get a free ebook pdf if you subscribe to my website no hassle, and if you’ve written a review for Goodreads and Amazon, I’ll mail you a free physical copy.

    1. Regarding story being the thing, I agree completely.

      But I was stuck. I couldn’t move forward, so I did what I’ve learned in business. I applied continuous improvement. I had been using beats-ish count as a key performance indicator. That got me nowhere, but it helped me refine the question. I made some adjustments, and now I’m using word count as a rough gauge of progress towards a first draft.

      I’d love to be able to measure how much my story doesn’t stuck. But I couldn’t figure out a metric to indicate “degrees of separation from suck.” So I’m using word count to help keep me motivated.

      And as far as writing from the soul: Again, I agree. I checked out Blood Souls and Sacrifice on Amazon. Are you planning an audio book any time soon? The way my day’s stacked, audio books are about the only chance I get to “read.” I’ll happily buy a copy if one’s coming out. Thanks for the offer!

      Your site’s this one, right?

      Now, if you know of a way to establish levels of suck as a KPI, I’m all ears! That would be amazing!

      1. Audio books are a distant goal…for me at least; once I acquire the coin to hire someone. Other than that, everything, from what I’ve researched is marketing. Thus its going to be posting lore on my website as well as continuing the story. I’m shocked to know you’re stuck considering how much anime you watched. Typically, I’ll borrow a plot-twist here, a fight scene there and, if all else fails, write something crazy. It usually helps me break the mold.

        1. Interestingly, it’s not that I was stuck because of lack of material.

          I’d intellectually backed myself into a corner. I had pants-ed a novel in the 1980s, and I knew that wasn’t the way for me. Real life intervened, and several years I tried to dive back in. My brain decided to fight a delaying action, and for years, it won. But working through the idea of beats and into Chris Wells’ videos, I got back on track.

          I’ve had dozens of novels’ worth of crap going on in my head for decades. I just didn’t give myself permission to write.

          That’s why I’m on my current course. In December 2020, I had 0 words written. Now I’m closing in on 120,000. That metric helps me see progress, and then my brain can’t argue. I hate my writing, sure. But even I can’t argue with that word count.

      2. As far as level of suck is concerned here’s my take. Go to set up an account and post some of your work there. Ask for reviews and if you suck, someone will defiantly tell you. While we may adore or hate our own work, we don’t have the final say if our work sucks or not. I’ll post two links to reviews I’ve gotten. One review of my earlier work and another when I re-written it.

        I’m writing this to help you stay encouraged in your author journey. I know it’s a friggen headache sometimes, but I know you can do it.

        1. I appreciate your encouragement!

          The KPIs I’m looking for right now are designed to get me through the first draft. Then I’ll likely hire a developmental editor, then a copy editor. Assuming I survive the developmental editing process!

          I do, however, appreciate the links and advice. Even the best editors are fixed points in space. Having other avenues to gather perspective is always helpful!

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