Sunday, October 19, 2008

My writing week (25)

Hi all,

So far this year I have written at least a couple of sentences of my novel on every single day. This was my aim and I had hoped it would lead to an impressive increase in my writing output, unfortunately that has not really been the case. Although my average daily word output has increased, the writing every day goal has seemed to become an end in itself. Just to be able to say 'I did it', I will continue to write every day this year. Next year things will change. I am thinking of setting a goal of 7,000 words a week, written on one, two or seven of those days.

I have now written 82,000 words of the novel I am working on. Yesterday I pulled out the outline and divided the what happens next section up into three more chapters, perhaps 15,000 words. The end is near. But last night I got to thinking that I was still finishing the story with a potentially unresolved ending - depending on how much the reader had read into what had happened - and wondered if I should add an extra chapter.

The novel is all about trust and I want its readers to decide if they trust the main character's version of what is going on or think that he has misinterpreted events. I was not going to tell the reader whether the main character's version of events was correct, just let the reader decide. The extra chapter would answer the question of whether the main character's view of the universe was correct. I think I will probably end up writing it and then decide whether to include it.

I've read yet another article about an author who took years to write their first novel. Steve Toltz, the Australian nominated for this year's Booker, took four years to write it after struggling for 13 years to write a novel. I think I should stop thinking about all these novelists who take years, sometimes a decade or more to write a novel because it makes me feel okay about taking forever to produce something. It's time to place some time limits on my writing goals.

I intend to finish writing the first draft of this novel by the end of this year and then return to the first draft of a previous 126,000 word novel that needs a total rewrite. My goal will be to rewrite it in 130 days. A modest goal by the standards of many writers, but nevertheless a goal that should see my output increase markedly.


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