Friday, December 17, 2010

Stephen King and (Writing) Target Practice

So okay - there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You've blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Stephen King (On Writing)

I can do that! Write 1000 words a day, seven days a week? That’s only 4-5 pages a day. Shoot. I get up early. I can do this. That means 90,000 words can be completed in 90 days. Now THAT is motivation. I could be done with this sucker in three months?

Anyone as prolific as Stephen King has been and continues to be, has to have the discipline to keep putting down words, over and over and over. And he writes more than 90K books.

Here’s another Stephen King quote from On Writing: “ . . . I believe the first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.” King’s writing goal is 2000 words a day, and he doesn’t quit until he does it.

I shared with my critique partners in Desert Flowers and Pens Afire that I set 1000 words per day (wpd) as my target for this new book I’m working on, Prime Rib and Punishment. Some were taken aback. I was reminded how differently we all write.

DH and I are very different writers. He spends forever crafting his sentences and then, in the editing phase, he changes them all anyway. He is a ruthless editor of his own and others’ work (a great guy to have in my bed, eh?). I, on the other hand, call my writing style “the blat syndrome”. I blat it out, all over the page. What a mess to have to clean up, but first drafts go pretty fast for me. Hmm. Maybe I am like Stephen King (see earlier blog on comparing writing styles)! Don’t I wish!

Sort of to my amazement, I am easily meeting my target of 1000 wpd, and I even got up to 2200 one day, so I am going to up the ante (not being a poker player, I have only a vague idea what this means). My new plan is to write 1500 wpd or about 10,000 words per week (wpw). I am writing 1000 wpd in just a few hours. I can add a couple of more hours and meet my target. That means I can write 80,000 word novel in 8 weeks. First draft. And, hey, I didn’t promise it would be good. Just done.

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