Progress Report: One Million Words, week 7

This week’s total is 3,241, not too dissimilar to the last few weeks. My average is 463 words a day this week. My streak stands at 43 days.

My total for the challenge is 21,027/1,000,000, or 2.1%.

Day-by-day summary

Monday: 366 words

Tuesday: 301 words

Wednesday: 591 words

Thursday: 304 words

Friday: 354 words

Saturday: 635 words

Sunday: 690 words


I’ve picked up a new story this week, starting with an aborted start on Monday before realigning my view and starting at a point a little later on from Tuesday. There’s not much to say in the way of days of the week as relates to wordcount, though, as I think my progress each day has been very much dependent on the stage I have been in the story and how I feel about it.

To begin with I started at a point rather earlier than I felt the story warranted, more so I could get something down and get into the swing of things than any belief that what I was writing would be kept in the long run. But the ramping up was perhaps a little too dry, too without conflict, but now I’ve got to that I’ve picked up the pace the last two days.

The amount of time I spend writing each day is still around about 40 minutes to an hour. I’d like for that to increase. I still haven’t managed to get two session in on one day, so maybe next week I’ll make more efforts that way.

The Story

There’s an old story I wrote some time ago that I’ve been reading back recently. There’s a part of it I wanted to keep, the magic and the immortals in it, and I think I’ve found a way to hold to that and maybe one or two other details, while discarding the bits that I’m not so happy about. The character I’m focusing on has changed gender since last I wrote her, and I’m picking her up fairly early in her story rather than much later. As far as length is concerned, I’m unsure. I’ll just have to see how things go, but certainly a longer piece than those I’ve worked on so far.

There’s definitely some work I need to do on this story. It’s not all in place yet, and so what I’m writing at the moment is almost certainly going to end up rewritten in its entirity. In fact I’ve already had new thought and ideas about the story as it now stands in the last few days, which have changed the early part of the story quite significantly compared to my early outline notes.

But this is an exploration phase. I can see what works, spend a little time each day thinking about the world and the magic and what challenges my character might face, and build these into the story as I progress. Then when I’ve got a firmer feel of things – not to mention a firmer feel of my protagonist’s personality – I can start fresh from the beginning and write with more confidence and structure.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken this approach – giving myself time to explore as I write, rather than starting with a strong outline. On this my outline was a few lines long, and has already been ignored in some respects. Usually I have at the very least gone through the first four or five steps of the Snowflake Method, or some approximation of it. Maybe leaving the structure behind now will give me the freedom in exploratory writing I’ve lacked for several years.

Take away points

  1. Starting earlier in the story than a start is warranted does help with actually getting started, but it can cost a few days’ work to do, so maybe next time stronger planning may be in order.
  2. Writing without a reasonably detailed outline feels freeing; time will tell if it works.
  3. I’m starting to get in the habit of writing now I’ve been doing it for so long, and that makes it easier to start, even if that doesn’t translate to more words on the page.

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