Progress report: One Million Words, week 21

This week’s total is 6,055 words, for an average of 865 words per day. I’ve been working on a few different stories this week, taking a break from Kell’s Adventures now that NaNoWriMo is over.

My total is now 91,880/1,000,000, or or 9.2%. So I’m closing on the 10% mark now.

My final total for NaNoWriMo was 31,485.

Day by day summary

Monday: 623 words (Kell’s Adventures)

Tuesday: 1347 words (Counting ships)

Wednesday: 1550 words (Counting ships version 2)

Thursday: 560 (Defended cottage)

Friday: 422 words (Defended cottage)

Saturday: 719 words (Horrible Monster scene)

Sunday: 834 words (Horrible Monster scene)

Analysis

On Tuesday I came across a great prompt on /r/writingprompts which I liked enough to write a story about it: Every morning, I count the boats heading out to sea. Every evening, I count the boats again as they return, submitted by TheWishingFish. So I wrote a story, and I was fairly happy with it, but also knew what I needed to do to improve it. So on Wednesday I rewrote it from scratch, with a better structure. And I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’ve not posted it in the thread because I want to see if this story can go a bit further. I’ve given it to my fiance Matt for some feedback. He’s very good at giving useful, thoughtful feedback on stories.

Thursday and Friday’s story was based on a prompt from Matt. I quite liked the concept, but I’m not happy with what I’ve written for it, which featured genre-savvy bandits discussing whether to burgle an apparently idyllic, isolated cottage in the woods, and arguing over whether it’s a witch’s cottage or the secret hide-away of a princess, and what those options mean in terms of risks and rewards. I guess it needs time to stew. When I summarise it like that it sounds quite fun, but as I say, what I wrote isn’t something I’m happy with. Half of it was nothing but dialogue, not even tags, just dialogue.

For the weekend, I struggled to be happy with any prompts I found, generated, read in my old ideas lists and so on, so went with a scene from Horrible Monster – my backup story, the story I doubt I’ll ever write in full (too many problems) but which I do like to indulge in with dramatic stand-offs and chases through the streets and whatever else.

This week it’s pretty clear that how happy I was with the story I was writing is reflected in how much I wrote.

As for Monday, well, I think I’ve stalled with Kell’s Adventures. Chapter 4 got off to a terrible start. I’m still broadly happy with chapters 1, 2 and 3, though they need a lot of work which I will hopefully begin in the next week or two, but what I wrote for chapter 4 really shows the lack of planning I had for the chapter, and the headlong rush approach of NaNoWriMo where words on the page were more important than things like structure, pacing and character consistency. Before I continue writing I’ll have to remind myself of my characters, get a better fix on them. Make character sheets, perhaps. Editing the first three chapters will likely help with this. I think I’ll have a look for one of those lists of questions to ask about characters and see if that helps too.

I’ve also been thinking back to the Mountain Story again recently. I’ve still not finished typing it up, and probably should try to find some time this week or next if I can. I’ve read a few posts about how short story structure differs from novel structure, and I’m worried I’ve structured it a bit more like a novel than a short story. I also wonder if a short story is the right medium for it – whether it might work better in a more visual medium, like a comic.

I’ve considered attempting comics before. They are time consuming, though, and my drawing skills are very rusty. I’m not sure I could do it justice, and it’d be a fairly long comic, lots of pages. I’ve already got two hobbies to consume my free time – writing and crochet. Adding drawing to that might be more than I can handle. But if that’s the medium the story would work best in, it might be worth it, even if it takes a very long time indeed to complete. I’ve got some comicking friends online, so it might be worth asking them about a few things. And making a comic would at least give me some practice with drawing, inking and colouring that I don’t usually get otherwise.

A long while back I had planned out a 14-page comic about a phoenix. Maybe I’ll revisit that, attempt to cut it to about 10 pages, and use that as practice. If it goes reasonably well, I can then make plans to turn the Mountain Story into a comic. If not, I can make another attempt at making the story work as a story.

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