Word count: 23693 1500 words today, and I finished up chapter 3. When I came to the climactic moment at the end of the chapter, I realized that what I had in the outline made no sense… it wasn’t something the character had the knowledge to suggest, the possibility had not been raised in earlier chapters, and knowing what they knew at this point (as written) the other characters would not go along with it. But there was another thing the character could suggest, that was very much in keeping with her personal history, that would piss off everyone else royally, and that would plug a plot hole later on. So I wrote it that way instead. The chapter also ends a week and a couple thousand alien deaths earlier than the outline says. David triumphs over the outline! Well, wins a battle anyway. And I’ve met my goal of 3000 words before the next critique meeting, which is next Saturday. That leaves me the rest of this week to do my crits and prepare a synopsis of What Has Gone Before. (I also need to work up a list of characters and a glossary of alien gestures and noises… it’s getting too hard to keep track of all the details in my head.) But there’s a fly in the ointment. It turns out I messed up somewhere when I figured 1000 words a week would be enough to finish this draft by the end of the year. The correct figure is 3000 words a week. (I mixed up words-per-week and words-per-critique, with a crit every 3 weeks.) At 1000 words a week I won’t finish the first draft until the end of 2004. That’s not acceptable. I can’t tie myself up for another year and a half without anything more than a first draft to show for it. On the other hand, 3000 words a week is probably more than I can reasonably expect to produce consistently. Writing a 7000-word short story in 3 weeks was a real push, cost me a lot of sleep and made me worried for my wrists. Argh! Some kind of compromise will be required. I don’t think I can expect to finish this draft by the end of the year any more, but I do think I can produce more than 1000 words a week. And there’s no time like the present to start. But for tonight, I’m going to bed with 1500 words for the day. And that’s not too shabby.
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Nebula Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus and Arabella the Traitor of Mars, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.