I wrote 1500 words today outside on the deck and I feel like I could write 500 more at least but I’ve got to reserve myself I think. The total so far is 58,670 and i figure tommorow I’ll do 1500 more and cross the 60k mark I’m very excited about that because I think it shows I’ve advanced as a writer in the five years since I started my first novel. My stories are longer, more complex, and don’t contain nearly as many whelk references.

But I have not been particularly happy with the quality of work I’ve been turning out as I burn toward the finish line. A lot of it is repetitive, I’m using crutch words much more than normal and some of it doesn’t make any sense at all. So I was delighted today when I read on Sandra Scoppettone’s blog that she’s been having the same problems.

Anyway, what I started doing this week was to get it down and to stop thinking of other things. Nevermind the same two words in a paragraph. The justs,reallys, verys, and onlys can come out later. Advance the story. This is all I have to think about at this stage. The rest can come in the rewrite and the rewrite after that before it goes to my agent. I can’t imagine what she’ll think about this novel. I know she’ll be surprised as I’ve never written
anything like this. But will she like it? I can’t worry about that now. Advance the story.

That advance the story part is particularly resonant for me because that’s the sole purpose of my first drafts, figuring out the story and where it goes. I try things out I follow blind trails and generally fly by the seat of my pants (this topic also popped up on one of my favorite blogs, are all the blogger feeling my pain?). Once I know how the story plays out, then I can go back on the rewrite and do it properly with clues and foreshadowing and general cohesion. But for now and for the next 10-15k words, I just need to advance the story.

And speaking of burning toward the finish line, critic and literary gambler David Montgomery has finally finished his first novel. Meanwhile, somewhere in Hollywood this guy sits tearfully wondering if he should give up and pursue his true passion: Felicity fan fic.

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  1. Leaving aside the problem with “plagerising,” what is her hatred for “really, very, and only” about?As for gambling on the agent’s being thrilled with one’s brilliant experimentation: if you go too far out on a limb and your agent’s mind is set on the market, you will crash very painfully.I’m facing a total rewrite of 650 plus pages. Assignment: get rid of all the cute stuff (present tense, multiple genres, non-fiction inserts, etc)and turn out something that resembles as closely as possible mainstream commercial (very commercial) fiction.

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