Sunday, January 30

A first novel: A hard week

This past week may has been, with no argument, the hardest to write yet. The daily thousand were a struggle as I grasped at and filled out mundane and redundant details to reach a thousand. This past week my characters spent a lot of time complaining about the heat and their hunger and thirst and how exhausted they are after days of walking. It will be no surprise to me if I come back to this section and hack words with a vengeance, paring it down to half its present size if not more.

The first fifteen thousand words were pretty easy. Things happened, and the characters responded to them. They moved from plot point to plot point. There was a clear destination and immediate goal, and they ran between them. Now they've attained that goal, and they're going to be hanging around there for another two years or so. Things are happening slower now. I know why and how things will change at the end of those two years and what will proceed from there, but things need to develop to that point. They can't just happen.

That's the problem, trying to fill all this time. It's an opportunity for the characters to develop, to be themselves at their leisure and not focus on staying alive until the next scene. I need to write things that don't matter as much and don't serve solely to advance the plot. That's harder, but that's why I have this goal of one thousand words a day. Without it I would be sore tempted to take a break now. Ostensibly this break would be to think about what came next. In truth it would be because the work became too hard. Now I don't give myself this luxury of long breaks from writing. I just have to keep pushing through and putting down whatever comes to mind first. A motive for a secondary character appears and guides the day's writing. A minor errand fills another thousand words. Maybe it's stupid, but it's something. I'll take care of it later if I have to.

Word count as of today? Twenty-four thousand and eight words.

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