I’ve been hard at work for the past month on the rough draft of the third in my trilogy of science-fiction novels. I call the series “The Anthanian Imperative,” and each book gets an identifying color. The first is “Blue,” the second “Green,” and the third, “Red.” The colors are actually integral to the plot of each book. “Blue” and “Green” are finished and ready for an editor or agent to take a look at them and I’m currently trying to sell “Blue.” (Anybody interested?) But it’s “Red” I want to talk about here.
I’ve been working on “Red” off and on for about six months, and I’m about halfway through the rough draft. Right now, I’ve got about 30,000 words down, and plenty of ideas for the rest of the novel. The whole plot line is worked out in my head, and I’ve got 30 or 40 pages of handwritten notes that I’ve accumulated over the past several years of thinking about it. That’s the same way I wrote “Blue” and “Green.” But what’s different about “Red” now is the intensity I’ve been able to give to it, a ferocity I rarely gave to the other two. I’ve been able to sit down almost every day (except Sunday when I write this blog) and pound out about 1000 words. Occasionally I’ll do more work on the plot line and write more notes, especially details about the characters and their activities.
A thousand words a day is a great way to write a book. I’m not saying it’s for everybody but it works for me. It’s a heady mechanism for getting the job done. I can actually look forward to seeing the final draft, when I’ll start the revision process. For me, revising is easier than writing the first draft, because the hard work has already been done. If you want to write a novel, going at it this way is (I feel) the best way to do it. One word at a time, a few hundred a day, whatever suits you. Plant butt in chair and write, even if all you do is complete a character sketch.