A Week of Mondays – Week 5 #BehindtheBook

Wow! Week 5 was a surprisingly good week!

As always, below is my weekly summary (with chart!) and my daily breakdowns in case you’re interested in the more day-to-day process of writing.

Mood Chart Week 5

Click on chart to see it bigger.

WEEKLY SUMMARY:

Date: 10/1/14 – 10/7/14
Weekly Words Written: 14,356
Total Words to Date: 57,993
Number of Writing Days: 7 (HOORAH!)
Average Daily Words: 2,051 (pretty good for not being on retreat!)
Weekly Pages Written: 62 (Not too shabby)
Total Pages To Date: 253
Average Daily Pages: 9
Weekly Chapters Completed: 11
Total Chapters to Date: 34
Average Mood  (1-10): 8 (In act 2!? Something must be terribly wrong!)

Almost to 60k words and I’m still on day 4 of 7. YOWZA this book is too long. But I keep assuring myself that it’s okay. I will cut later. I will cut later. I will cut later. It’s become my mantra. “You are good enough. You are smart enough. And you will cut later.” No but seriously. I have almost 60k words so far and I imagine only 50k (tops!) of them are keepable. The rest are just me meandering around, trying things out, wondering what it looks like over here, nope, not very interesting, back to the plot. Hopefully when I’m all done, I’ll be able to go back through and the things that shouldn’t be in there will jump out at me. “Me! Cut me! I suck!”

Oh, who am I kidding? Unnecessary words never ever do that. In reality, it’s more like, “WHAT?! You want to cut me!? But I’m so cute! And funny! And clever! Look how well I fit the plot. Just LOOK what will happen if you cut me. The whole damn thing will fall apart. I will find ALL the ways that I am worthy of staying and I will shout them from the rooftops! I will haunt you in your sleep!”

Sigh. I will cut later. I will be brutal. *Starts sharpening ax.*

 

DAILY BREAK-DOWNS:

Day 29

Date: 10/1/14
Words Written: 2,889
Pages Written: 12
Chapters Completed: 2
Time Elapsed: 1 hour
General Mood (1-10): 7

YAY! I found somewhere to put the short story, writing exercise that I did yesterday (see post here) and fell in love with! I think it really fits well and brings the characters to life. I’m so excited! You’ll also notice that this discover extremely helped my mood (which was at a 4 last time I left you.) A very nice bounce back. I also wrote a new chapter which was not anywhere near where I need it to be, but it was better than the delightful crud I wrote last week. BLECH! I shudder at the memory. I’m almost done with day 3 of the Week of Mondays. I know, I know, I’m WAY too far into this MS to only be a day 3. Don’t worry, I’ll hack it up to bits later. For now…onward!

Day 30

Date: 10/2/14
Words Written: 3,081
Pages Written: 14
Chapters Completed: 2
Time Elapsed: 2 hours
General Mood (1-10): 9 (REBOUND!)

Move over crush character, there’s a new crush in town! I just wrote two more chapters starring my new favorite character and I’m officially IN LOVE. Gosh, I’m a fickle, fickle author. But in all honesty, I think this is a good problem to have because I really really want the reader to love both of these characters. For the longest time, the second character was feeling so flat and vanilla to me. But this character came alive today and now we’re rolling! My mood bounced back up to a 9! AND…AND! I may have fixed my prologue! It probably will be total suckage when I go back and re-read it today, but for now, I’m feeling good about it. At least I feel like it’s moving in the right direction. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Day 31

Date: 10/3/14
Words Written: 2,085
Pages Written: 10
Chapters Completed: 1
Time Elapsed: 1.5 hours
General Mood (1-10): 8

Okay, so I skipped about two chapters that I just really didn’t want to write and picked up on a scene I was excited about. I learned this tricks a few books ago and it works wonders for your overall momentum and general mood (see mood rating!) I know what needs to happen in those chapters (and I added bullet points in the MS so I can go back and flesh it out later) but today, I really needed to continue with my renewed excitement about the story, so I chose to write a scene I knew I’d have fun with. And I did! It’s a big transformation scene that I’ve been excited to write since I first outlined the book. So I continue my roll.

I have to admit, this book is starting to change in ways I didn’t expect. This is the fun, transformative part of writing from an outline, when you realize that what you planned for this book is actually not the entire book. That the story actually goes much deeper. I love this part, but it’s also very  terrifying. I like to feel in control when I write. I like to know where I’m going and what I need to say. But this part of the journey is when everything starts to feel messy and hazy. Not in control at all. But it’s also the part where the true spirit of the book starts to show itself.

So I’m in a precarious stage right now. New ideas and themes and focuses are forming in the back of my mind. And they’re not fully fleshed yet. So I have to just let them simmer and hope that soon they’ll be clearer to me. And once they are, I’ll have to go back in my revision and weave them into the story. But for now, until that happens, I will just continue down my carefully manicured, outlined path, while the mess starts to accumulate in my head.

Day 32

Date: 10/4/14
Words Written: 1,993
Pages Written: 8
Chapters Completed: 2
Time Elapsed: 2.5 hours
General Mood (1-10): 8

I’m on day 4 of the seven Mondays! WOO HOO! This is going to be a REALLY fun day to write. I can’t tell you why, because I don’t want to spoil the story, but I’m already loving the first two chapters of the day. And Crush #1 character is back and I’m crushing on him again. Yup, fickle author again!

Nothing really to say about today. 2k words. Good. 8 mood rating. Good. All good!

Day 33

Date: 10/5/14
Words Written: 2,253
Pages Written: 9
Chapters Completed: 2
Time Elapsed: 2 hours
General Mood (1-10): 7

Today, I actually shuffled around my house (IN SLIPPER!) bemoaning, “I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to write today. Don’t make me do it!” Of course, there was no there to hear me, or to tell me I had to sit down and write the words. No one except myself, that is. And the foreboding knowledge that I leave for tour in three days and then my daily word count will pretty much be non-existent. So I took the advice so many writers have given over the years and I put my butt in the chair and the coffee in my cup and I just forced myself to write. The result was not as bad as I thought it would be given my mood and willingness to be there. I actually got out two chapters with a mood rating of 7, so not bad. It could have been much worse. And I also stumbled upon a very endearing little backstory for one of my characters that really helped focus the scene I was working on. My author friend, Lauren Kate, calls those Rabbit Holes. The little holes you fall down as you’re writing that take you to new, unexpected places and where you make new, unexpected discoveries about your character and your world. So today, I had a nice little rabbit hole detour that I think made the effort of forcing myself into the chair well worth it.

Day 34

Date: 10/6/14
Words Written: 1,013
Pages Written: 4
Chapters Completed: 1
Time Elapsed: 45 minutes
General Mood (1-10): 7

Was in a rush to run errands for the upcoming Fierce Reads tour so I didn’t have time to write my full word count. But oh, this chapter. It’s not written especially well (hence the 7 mood rating) but man, was it fun to write! It went in a completely different direction than I planned. And as I was writing it, I kept thinking, “DUH! This is the direction it HAS to go. In order for the end of the book to make more sense. It was like my character new exactly what her arc was supposed to be and was guiding me along it. Thanks, Ellie. I know I’m supposed to be the god of this world and carefully sculpt the character’s arc, but this time, the character was like, “no, no, just trust me. this is where I need to go.” YES! I love it when that happens.

I will have to go back later and clean up the actual writing. I felt like the ENTIRE chapter was “He looks.” “She laughs.” “I smile.” “He shrugs.” BLAH!

Day 35

Date: 10/7/14
Words Written: 1,042
Pages Written: 5
Chapters Completed: 1
Time Elapsed: 30 minutes
General Mood (1-10): 9

Whoa, that chapter just FLEW out of me. And again, it wasn’t anything like I expected it to be. But I loved it. And the character’s voice really took over in this chapter. So I just stepped aside and let her write it, because clearly she did a better job than me (note 9 mood rating!) Even though I’m still feeling like I’m dragging through this act 2, the character (Ellie) has really been coming into her own, taking shape. Sometimes it feels like when you start a book, you have a small indication of what the character is like. So you shape her and color her in and create cute little scenarios for her personality to shine in, and then as you keep going, she comes to life (like Pinocchio! I’m a real boy!) and then just struts off on her own and you, the writer, have to run to keep up with her. Huh, I wonder if that’s how parents feel when their kids start to grow up.

This will probably be my last writing day for a while. Tomorrow I leave for the Fierce Reads tour. And I know better than to try to write while touring. It’s never pretty. But I feel like I ended on a good note and am happy about where I’m at right now. To be continued upon my return!

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In case you missed the first post, I’m live blogging (diary style) the progress of writing my new manuscript,  A WEEK OF MONDAYS (which will be released by FSG/Macmillan in Spring 2016), to give fellow writers (and readers) an inside look into my writing process. And maybe give me a little insight as well!

Click here to read the first post or you can follow all the posts by clicking here.

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