To start with, today one of you will be our 25,000th visitor. So let me say a big THANK YOU! to all of our readers. And indulge me for a moment while I thank my fellow Murderati – Pari, Deni, Naomi, Simon, Elaine and Jeff, who bring so much to this blog, day after day, constantly writing ingenious, inventive and informative posts. Bravo, blogmates!
The success of Murderati became a launching pad of sorts for me. As I developed confidence in my essay abilities (I still feel they are woefully lacking, just look at Pari's and Naomi’s posts this week to see why) I starting venturing into areas where I wasn’t as comfortable. I don’t have the expertise that my blog mates bring to the table. Let’s face it, I won’t even be in print until late next year. As a result, I’m finding that my blog entries are becoming more of a journal for what’s happening that week in my writing process.
When I started with Murderati back on April 7th, I had no idea what was coming down the train tracks. I was struggling, trying to figure out the system, doing this blog, gleaning as much information as I could from my fellow writers, working on short stories, getting my name out, doing all the things I told all of you to do in my first column.
Then the world exploded. My agent took my manuscript out, I signed with MIRA, got involved with KillerYear, and went to ThrillerFest, all in a brief two-month period.
Things are getting back to normal now. I’m beginning to catch my breath. I actually go for long stretches at a time not thinking about the fact that I’m finally realizing my dreams of being published. The summer stretches before me. I haven’t received my edits on ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS, so I’m moving forward on my next book.
There are moments when I’m working on a book, mile markers, if you will, that let me know how well I’m doing. My first major hurdle is the 20,000 word count. Until a new manuscript hits that point, it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to be a real book. I broke 20K yesterday, so now I’m 80 pages into my 350 page journey and feeling like maybe, just maybe, I can salvage a book from this mess. My next big goal is the 100 page mark. Then I’ll feel like something substantial has been accomplished.
By setting and achieving small goals, I find that writing a book is that much easier. I try for 1,000 words a day. Sometimes I get on a roll and write 3000. Some days I struggle getting 500 down. But I continue to slog away, day after day, trying to just get the story down and not worrying as much about the perfect turn of phrase, or whether I’ve tied up that loose end. It’s the best advice I can give. Just get the story down. A draft is called that for a reason.
I love the moment that first draft is finished. It’s a time for celebration, to treat myself with something, a new book, an afternoon off. Because rewriting and editing are a lot easier than getting the story down in the first place.
Let me suggest something for anyone who struggles with getting that manuscript finished. There’s a contest in November called NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Go to the site. Think about the goal – 50,000 words in 30 days. Think that’s impossible? It’s only 2600 words a day. The goal is to write. Write, write, write, like your hair is on fire. No looking back, no worrying about style, voice or point of view. That's all for your rewrite. It’s a great exercise in getting something major done on your manuscript.
Start now. Think about what you’re going to write, how the story will go, who your characters are, and when November 1st rolls around, go for it. You have absolutely nothing to lose!
A Late PS: Jason Pinter has an excellent Do/Don't list at his blog today -- Check it out...
Wine of the Week: I discovered a new varietal this week that
I really enjoyed and plan to add to the meager collection. It’s a Greek based
Italian red grape called Aglianico, (ahn-LAHN-ico) from the Basilicata region. Try the Ars Poetica Vulcano, or the Re
Manfredi Aglianico del Vulture.