The Halfway Point
The truth is, writers are never not writing, ya know? Even when I’m not telling you I’m writing – I am.
Lately I’ve been working on a new project, and I’ve hit the halfway mark. My manuscripts are generally 95K – 100K, but I don’t consider myself halfway until I get at least 55K. This is because I like to overwrite so that when the old adage of “kill your darlings,” must come into play, it’s not as difficult to eliminate words.
I’ve heard of some writers who will call their first draft done at 85K. This is before editing, when they know they will still add more words, while also needing to remove some. Doing it that way is hard for me. All I can think is, I’ve got to have at least *90K, and generally no more than 100K (there’s some flexibility here), and I’d rather have more than less to work with. I feel like it gives me more wiggle room, and I also find I rarely ever delete (kill) words below that 90K minimum.
Anyway, so I’ve been working heavy on this and doing my usual of 1000 wpd, and some days it’s more. I did about 4,500 total words last weekend. That felt GREAT!
And…it’s getting there. I’m going by my outline, and I have to say, I was shocked when I noticed yesterday I’m already halfway through this story at least by the word count, but only through the first two pages of a five page outline. Whoa. What does this mean? It means I have a lot of material to cover in the latter half of the book – while trying to make it not seemed rushed.
This story’s working title is THE FORGIVING KIND. It takes place in eastern NC, on a cotton farm in 1955, and features a 12 year old girl, called “Sonny” who is the narrator. While THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET isn’t as hard hitting as THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, with this new story, I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. By that I mean it’s not as hard hitting as DIXIE, but it’s not like BITTERSWEET either.
It seems to be sort of writing itself too, which is also why I’m only two pages into that outline – I keep adding scenes. It’s good I’m not struggling (at least not every day) to get the words down. I love it when that happens, even when I can’t tell if the thing is any good or not. There is something special, a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment as I watch the word count creep higher, even if it’s in that terrible (horrible) first draft stage.
And, with that, now I need to get back to it!
What are you working on, and how is it coming along?
*typical word count for commercial fiction