Friday, June 15, 2007

Coffee Break 22

Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.

Anthony Trollope
(ah, but Anthony, that was before broadband...)
Word count:18,824

So today I am thinking about pacing…I’ve done my sums and worked out that if I write around 5,000 words per week from now on, I will finish Book 6 by the November deadline. Very doable. However, this doesn’t leave me any time off for bad behaviour, or other projects, or any edits before I send it to my editor and agent…So, instead I might aim for 7,500 per week (1,500 per working day) which gives me 7 and a bit ‘free’ weeks to play with here and there.

That feels doable, too. Actually, for me, I like to set myself a higher word count than what appears to be ‘industry standard’ (as if the writing game is an industry and one with any standards – dubious!) of 1,000 a day. Now that I have the plot worked out for the new book, I reckon it’s good to keep the momentum going. Apart from anything else it makes it less likely that I will repeat some crucial plot point or observation.

What’s your current target looking like, boys and girls?

After last week’s Novel Race discussion, Zinnia’s embarking on the blog tour to say hi to some of the Missing and the Disappeareds. It’s not a telling off – God knows, that’s the last thing anyone wants – and there is no compulsion to come here every week, or comment on everyone else's blog every week, but it's more a reminder that we’re here and bigger than ever. I’m also amending the Novel Race Rules of the Game to suggest that it’d be courteous for people at least to link to their fellow racers, since it’s a ‘you scratch my back’ thing…

We have a couple of newbies: Ellie the Lazy Perfectionista and Victoria. One of the great things about the race is also discovering really fascinating new blogs so do pop in and say hello. I also had a comment from someone who I was meant to be emailing with info and I seem to have lost it. would you mind posting again? Many apologies.

Oh, and if you’re interested in writing for women’s magazines (which can be lucrative), then Womagwriter’s blog (sounds like something Peter Gabriel would get involved with) is a good place to begin.

Incidentally, I plan to update my lazy person’s guide to the media next week so do look out for it…

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Blogger Helen said...

Target has gone out of the window this week I'm afraid. I have been doing some writing, but none on novel. I've been doing lots of baking too so my creativity has been going into the oven instead of the computer. I'm hoping for a better week next week. Don't get me wrong I am really enthusiastic about my novel, I'm just taking a tiny mental break.

9:10 am  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

um... I have been useless this week. I've been writing. But not the novel. As it's Father's Day this weekend I've been blogging about my dad. I've never written about him before and now I've started I can't stop. Eek. I've got verbal diarrhoea...

Also I am sooo sorry, I have never got round to linking you all on my blog because I am useless at that kind of thing AND very bad at getting round to things I don't like doing. Kate, is there an easy way just to copy everyone's code???

And sorry if I don't come saying hello on people's blogs, it is purely time constraints. Every week I tell myself I'll restrict my blogging habit to Fridays, and every day I fail. Hmm. Should I be in therapy????

I've got a November deadline too, Kate. As I don't write every day I never stick to the 1000 words a day rule, mine tends to be Jane's mad panicky f**** I've got to finish this next week so I have to get down as many words as possible rule...

10:08 am  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Hello all,

I haven't done anything on the novel today (or the last few weeks to be honest) as am struggling with the revisions to Oliver Moon and the Troll Trouble, and before that a new fairy book. But next week... (famous last words)...
Next week I am back on track. I am even, somewhat ambitiously, planning to finish a first draft before the end of July, yes, even taking the house move into account. Well, I'm an optimist. As I only work two days and have to churn out - I mean, craft - lots of children's books too, I aim for 4,000 words a day when I'm working on the novel. It sounds a lot, but if I've been thinking about it for the rest of the week, it does happen.

Jane, I know it seems a bit of a chore to link to the racers but it will only take five minutes. I don't think there's a short cut, I'm afraid. Just copy down all the names first on a bit of paper, then type them into Blogger. You can do it!


10:28 am  
Blogger ChrisH said...

I'm still waiting to hear from the agent Hilary Johnson passed my novel to. It has been a very long wait and the longer it goes on the more difficult it becomes to concentrate on the new book. I'm not even as far as a publisher yet, Rowan! I know as a professional writer that I should be able to switch off and get on with the task in hand but this is a first step for me and if I'm going in the wrong direction then there's no point in me continuing along that path. How do the rest of you cope when you're waiting for an important decision? I'd be grateful for any tips.

10:28 am  
Blogger DOT said...

You leave me feeling quite ill with your energy, Kate. I am struggling to write 500 words a day and even that is ambitious for me.

However, you are right about momentum. I remember writing my dissertation for my MA, 20,000 words in six weeks, where I started off at 250 words a day and built up to circa 2,000 by then end.

There is nothing like a deadline to make you sweat.

10:31 am  
Blogger Lazy Perfectionista said...

Hi all, I'm very excited to be at my first coffee break! My novel is still in the very early stages - lots of outlining and research but only about 3000 actual words so far (still need to put a progress bar on my blog...). If it stays wet and dreary up north this weekend, I expect that count should rise by Monday though!

10:50 am  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

Targets are a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey thing at the moment.

I'm doing a copy edit of 'An Ungodly Child' to be followed by an edit of "Nephilim's Child' by the end of the month.

I'm also doing flash fiction to generate ideas for the seventh novel, although I haven't finished the sixth, which is on a meat hook in the fridge.

Oh, and there is a short cut for linking. You view the source code and copy paste the html.

11:02 am  
Blogger Novelgirl said...

I'm sort of wilting behind alot (I was going to say a bit - but that's a lie) I've just been accepted onto a Postgrad degree in Magazine JOurnalism with PMA training - which starts in July so I'm very preoccupied with this. So for the mean time I'm going to have to put my creative writing on hold. But good luck to everyone - you all seem to be doing very well - and I'll see you back here when I'm finished with the JOurno thing - and hopefully I'll have a good job by then!!

11:03 am  
Blogger CTaylor said...

I use software called YWriter which calculates how many words I need to write a day if I enter the wordcount I'm aiming for and the date I want to finish.

I decided to see if I could write this novel in four months and now just have to write 531 words a day to be finished by 15 July - that's if my novel ends up being 90,000 words. I've got a feeling it might be quite a bit longer than that as I've still got loads of scenes to write before I get to the end of the book.

I thought I'd steam through the end of the novel but, in actual fact, tying up lose ends is much more tricky than I originally thought and I'm having to do lots of thinking as well as writing. Am very excited about writing my last two scenes and that's spurring me on to write the scenes that precede them.

11:14 am  
Blogger CTaylor said...

Correction to my previous comment: "loose" ends not "lose"

11:15 am  
Blogger Rowan Coleman said...

Hello everyone, I sort of have today off because yesterdy I gave 50K to my editor to read and have a think about and we'll talk it through on Monday. Some writers I know throw their hands up in horror at the very idea of giving something so unfinished over to the editors but I count my self lucky that my editors and my agent are all really creative and supportive at this stage and it helps me no end to have fresh eyes, because as we all know sometimes you get so involved in the details you can't see the big picture. Kate, I write a lot of words in a day I think, at least 5K - is that a lot? so 20K a week give or take. But I'm dyslexic so it then takes me as much time again to work out what I've said and make it readable to others! But I want to finish my book by the end of August latest, so I'd better get busy! Haven't written or read a blog for a while, just too caught up in the book, but will try to today. Chris H what I do while I'm waiting for feedback (like now) is wear balck, look depressed, sigh a lot, eat chocolate, consider giving it up for good and wake up at three in the morning to worry about it. I can't say it's a path I'd recommend but it's the only one I have!

11:44 am  
Blogger Rowan Coleman said...

ps I can't stand that I used so many excalmation marks in that comment. I do apologise for such lazy punctutation. (!)

11:46 am  
Blogger NoviceNovelist said...

My word count is ticking along - up to 66,000 - only a couple of thousand more that this time last week. I think the finished product will be around 83,000 - still trying to make the daily mail comp deadline - certainly using that as the whip cracker!! Kate how does it feel to write 5,000 words a day? That's fab. I think 1,500 is exceptional but if I cut down on cofee and choclate and then the worrying about how much of both I've consumed I could probably write more.

11:56 am  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Hello everybody and welcome to Victoria and Ellie.

I've been doing pretty good on my goal of writing at least a hundred words a day, and I rolled over 40K words this week. Still not as productive as I'd like to be, but I'm chugging along.

Jane? Instead of putting all the links in a sidebar, I made a post of the links and then linked to the post. It's much easier to update that way and it doesn't take up too much space on my sidebar. If you'd like me to e-mail the code to you, let me know. (And that goes for anyone else who's interested.)

Good words to all of you for the coming week. =oD

2:16 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

ooh thanks for that, BE Sanderson....

you can email me at:


Chrish - fingeres crossed with the agent. I owe alot to Hilary, she made me carry on at a point when I would have given up!

2:37 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

In the excitement of being in the UK I totally forgot it was Friday. For some reason I thought I was still on Bangkok time, which means coffee time for you is 4pm for me. Still, I'm here now.

I've been a bit useless generally. I have to find the motivation to get going again. I'm feeling positive, but positive without writing isn't so good. Positive and whipping through those words is what I want!

4:19 pm  
Blogger A. Writer said...

Hi all!

A bit of weird week for me. Had a bit of a wobble thanks to a former writing buddy putting me down due to my lack of knowledge of the writing industry. It's something I'm going to brush up on and I've realised that this person is just insecure and jealous! Ha!

Thanks to the comments I got on my blog, I feel so much better and I'd be lost if it weren't for the novel racers!

Hope to do some more writing this weekend. I'm back with a bang!

8:41 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

Forgetting Friday again. Actually it's a bit after 11PM my time, which makes it too-early Saturday your time.

Exciting news from Big Finish and Pocket Books. Both Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, with my short story "Men of the Earth" and Star Trek Corps of Engineers: Grand Designs with my novella "Orphans" will both be on bookstore shelves around the first.

Finished the short story I think I mentioned owing last week and got it in on time.
My editor has not given me any rewrite notes for To Ride the Chimers (I'm expecting some because I ran nearly 5k long). But the line developer for the IP e-mailed me that the ms passes all continuity checks.
Not starting anything big while waiting for the novel rewrite news. Working on my novel proposal to an IP over on your side of the Atlantic and reading romances.
I have six original short stories out to various markets and have ideas for one or two more I may knock out before getting to work on my romance novel.

As for my normal writing speed/pacing/schedule.... Hard to say. I try to keep a steady 1600-word schedule on week days, with 2400 on Saturdays and none on Sundays. Reality almost never matches my plans. In general, I consider 1000 words a day the minimum acceptable. The last few days of my novel I was writing about 5600 a day (but I was doing nothing else).

I still have not linked anyone to my Live Journal. I shall, I just don't know when. And I confess I've only visited a few blogs of other racers. I'll do better.

4:27 am  
Blogger Nichola said...

Hello all! Well my self-inflicted deadline has gone to hell in a handcart after my accident with a razor blade so my typing speed isn't what it was. Lucky I'm right-handed so longhand writing is okay, but obviously there's no wordcount for that.

I've got the use of my fingers back but my hand still aches occasionally so I'll probably stick to longhand until it's better, then type everything up and change my progress meter when I'm done.

Have you ever tried washing your hair one-handed? I managed it - who knew?!

2:56 pm  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

Hello fellow racers,

Wedding is done & dusted (a perfect day in every possible way), & I'm now back from honeymoon, so its back to reality and that means a revised writing schedule (which i started working on at the airport last night) and more consistent blogging and catching up with everyone.

I'm going to ty & aim for a 5000 a week word count, but I'll try not to get disheartened if I fall short as I'm working full time too and sometimes 24 hours in a day are just not enough!

Looking forward to catching up with all the blogs,
best wishes
Kate K (who has not yet got round to changing her name to the newly married double-barrelled version!)

4:48 pm  
Blogger Victoria Hume said...

Thanks everyone for welcoming me into your group. I feel so inspired by the amazing daily word counts you guys seem to jot out. I must work harder on my book!

Incidentally, i found with blogger, i could just copy and paste the links from one website into my sidebar and it automatically sorted out all the html. Genius! It took me less than a minute to link to all of you.

9:55 am  
Blogger hesitant scribe said...

Oh God I'm days late again for coffee. I've written a bit about not being able to write for a conference paper I've got to deliver next month (argh!) but other than that am most stressed.

Good news though - am going to Spain at the end of the year. For PhD research, of course!! Alone so that I actually do some work! Hurrah. Shall write novel on beach! Shall make lots of notes and immerse myself in the setting. Till then, shall plod along, but I have to say, teaching is not the best job to have whilst writing a novel!

p.s. My blog roll is well out of date methinks, so please email me and I'll add you!

10:02 am  
Blogger Fionamac said...

Just finished 'The Self Preservation Society'. Fantastic!

Anyway being a sluttern (felt a strange pride when my mother called me that)I can ignore my teenage boys' fallout and disgusting skirting boards to allow myself time to write two hours a day. I then write about two hundred words..on a good day!

My excuse is that I am dyslexic..I am! Seriously, I hope to get to 50,000 by Friday and then celebrate by a. not tearing it all up and b. bottle of Asda Shiraz.

10:08 am  
Blogger Fionamac said...

Sorry...Forgot to say that my Novel is called The Pet Sitters and the word count is 45,600. Aiming for around 90,000 to 100,000.

When I figure out how to use Blogger, I will link to everyone or might put a website up...for now its I am looking forward to reading 'An Ungodly Child'

10:30 am  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Hello! I'm back online! I have been able to read blogs but not leave comments or access my hotmail since Friday - SO frustrating. But it seems to be sorted now so I'm off round the novel racers as promised.

8:53 am  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

All done. Some people have already indicated that they want to stay in the race by their comments this week and last; these have been thanked for their support (and, where appropriate, encouraged to update/create blogrolls linking to us all). Others have been asked to leave a comment here in the next week if they want to stay in the race. And, much to my embarrassment, in the process of doing this I discovered that I'd missed out Sheepish from my own sidebar - oops! Now rectified.

10:46 am  
Anonymous lawmummy said...

Thanks for the gentle nudge.

Unfortunately, the craziness of my work and home (oh yea - school's out for the summer) has put quite a dent into my writing. I have a deadline for a nonfiction proposal so the novel is suffering.

I guess I'm going to have to beg off. Thanks for having me!

And as aside, you can check out - one person could control the blogroll and just send a little snippet of code to the participants.

11:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said... so glad to have stumbled across this blog.

I have just started writing my first noevl (got a agent and everyhting) but am still at the plotting stage which is driing me mad!!

is anyone up for becomming a writing buddy with me - so that we can give eahother gentle nudges and maybe critique eachothers work? Im just thinking how great it would be if someone who was in the same position as me could share their experience and we can try and motivate eachother into getting writing!!!

my email is

2:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need some advice on my debut chic lit work-about a pregnant divorcee. what's a more palatable narrative for readers...
1st person?

6:56 pm  

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