What I'm reading: Hit Man by Lawrence Block
What I'm writing: Chapter 20
From my Quote of the Day file:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
This makes me feel a little better. I've been working conscientiously to finish my manuscript. I'm over halfway through the first draft, and I know where it's going, so it's a matter of finding the best route to get it there. Without a deadline, it's important to find the right motivation to keep going, especially when there seems to be a huge mud puddle and a fallen tree along the path you thought your characters were going. You can see the goal on the other side, but you have to pick your way through the underbrush, careful not to trip on rocks or step on snakes in order to get there.
I set daily minimum goals for the writing, and try to do other 'writing' stuff if I'm not actually at the keyboard. I've got a book signing on the 20th (Winter Park Borders if anyone's around—details on my website), so I have some giveaways to put together. That counts as "writing" but it doesn't get words on the page.
At any rate, at the end of the day, I have numbers in my spreadsheet. I click the word count tool in my manuscript, plug it into my spreadsheet, and the program tells me how many more words there are since the last entry. Admittedly, I find that I click that dozens of times a day, sometimes seeing my count go up by 25 words, others by 250, and the really good ones where I've written 500+ words without stopping to think. If I hit 1000 on a day, my minimum, I feel that the rest will be gravy. I hit that point at noon yesterday, so I treated myself to some reading time and even watched an episode of The Closers I'd taped way back when.
The next morning, however, is another matter. My routine most mornings is to get up, deal with email, then go to the Y. This morning I added a phone call to Universal Studios complaining that they'd started testing their roller coasters at 06:20 and that's NOT the way I like to be awakened. The darn things sound like Dorothy and Toto ought to be flying by, and we're 2 miles away. But I (as always) digress.
Once I get back, have my coffee, go visit a few blogs, I'll look at the scenes I wrote the day before. When I finish, before I move forward, I'll check my word count again. All too often, it's less than the night before. Most of the time, I find that I've put in way too many unnecessary details, had my characters babble on about nonsense (dialog in fiction isn't the same as listening to 2 people talk and transcribing it word for word). But, as Mr. Strunk has pointed out above, less is more.
And so, with that said, I'm off to look at what I wrote yesterday. My count was 1987 words. We'll see what it is in an hour.
Have a great weekend.