The Aramis Gothboi project: writing a children’s book
DRAFT: 01 | word count: 40,894
Journal entry 30:
Monday 9 November 2020
I’m feeling pretty down from the constant need to progress faster than anticipated. Starting this, I planned to get at least 500 words a day and I have achieved that so far, but I feel like I should be doing more.
To give myself a bit of a roadmap I wrote a list of all the chapters that need additional content and put an average of +1,000 words to be added to each one, but every time I attacked one, I was finding it difficult to add that many words and not mess with what was already written.
So, I revised my plan to tackle the problem chapters in smaller chunks. Instead of looking at them as lacking in wordcount, I look at what needs fixing in terms of content. Once I fix the issue, I tally up the count and move on to the next problem. If, when I’ve fixed all those little problem areas, I am still below the desired wordcount—I will just look for more problem areas and repeat the process until I get there.
I know that writing, like any craft, is working with a set of tools and guidelines to achieve a creative outcome but I think doing it—especially in the first draft—to hit arbitrary markers like having so many words per chapter can be damaging to the process.
Yes, you must write the words. No one else will do it for you. There are expectations for the form that come down to lengths for chapters and novels in their entirety and I get that, but if the chapter has been pushed as far as it can go and you haven’t hit that expected number of words—for me at least—it’s better that I leave it and move on to keep the ball rolling.
Anyway, I’m a third of the way to my goal. One quarter of the way through the allotted time to complete it, so whatever I’m doing, I must be doing it right.
Tuesday 10 November 2020
I did not get a whole lot written today but I did have a little breakthrough on the story. I had been working with rough structural notes for where to add further plot points to fill in a few holes and after today’s effort have figured out that there is room for a whole new chapter! Yay! That will certainly bump up the wordcount.
Friday 13 November 2020
It has been a slow week for progress. I am still on track with my 500-word average, but only because I built it up previously.
Seriously, the last four days have consisted of half-hour sessions in which I barely get 200 words down. I have not put time aside to try and do more, but I have not had the energy either. I’ve been putting off doing that new chapter as I know what will happen if I reach my wordcount before I finish plugging up these holes—they will be left gaping and that will simply mean more work for me when I attack the second draft.
Righto, back into it. Will let you know how I go.
Another hour, another 250 words. So. Slow! That said, I made some huge improvements on what was previously written. I was seriously stuck on the opening paragraph—it was actual garbage. It was sort of a scene, I guess. But it felt a hell of a lot more like a laundry list of things in a room, so I spent some time making it flow. Once I did, the additional stuff came easy. Sometimes you just got to keep chipping away until you find what you were looking for.
The good news is there is only one more hole to fill before I jump on board with that new chapter. With my wordcount sitting at less than 10K to go, I am now feeling enthusiastic and confident about progress. Let’s hope it’s a fruitful weekend.