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Word Metrics

August 24, 2011

THE FANTASTIC MACHINE, a hardboiled steampunk cthulhu thriller about a hotel detective struggling to keep his family & friends safe when an ancient evil is unleashed on the 1905 World’s Exposition.

92% of 50k

Deadline: 1-September-2011
New words: 2352
Total words: 46110
Accomplished in fiction: Got into trouble, got some help getting out of trouble, and laid out the plan for how to end this roller coaster ride.
Accomplished in life: Picked up a box fan at the Fred Meyer’s today to help push some air around. I also hung up a curtain rod and curtain and put some stuff into the basement–patio tables and the like.
Other: It’s late. I’m tired. I’ll try not to fall asleep before hitting the ‘publish’ button. The other night I fell asleep with my hands on the keys. I woke up to a screen full of J’s, G’s, and K’s.

You can tell by the word count that we’re about 4k words away from the goal. There’s more than 4k worth of story yet to tell, but I’m going to be brief. I made a choice the other day to go in a daring direction and today I spent some time exploring that and making notes on what that direction means and how to fit the revisions in to earlier chapters. Then I practiced drafting some of the stuff that I want to see in the last pages of this story, scratched a modified outline onto a yellow pad, considered the emotional weight behind the character’s actions and choices, and then I got to writing.

Right away I went off road and found a different path that took us more naturally in the same direction. All that prep work? That’s not necessarily meant to give me a draft to follow, it’s more to get the juices flowing.

Revisions. I’ve got a few. I’m going to try and finish this draft tomorrow. That’s right, I’m calling it. And once I cross that finish line I’ve got to turn right around and start in on the revisions and hopefully get them done by 1-Sept.

Revisions and rewriting What’s the difference? Lets say I write a scene where a man goes to a party and at that party he buys a goat. The next day I decide that’s ridiculous. Why buy a goat? I decide that what he really needs is to meet a girl, maybe grow a little as a person. That level of change to the story, that’s what I call a revision. Now, lets say that the way he meets this girl is clumsy and maybe has poor grammar, so I shine it up a bit. That’s what I call a rewrite.

Why emphasize that it’s what I call a revision / rewrite? Well, it’s been my experience that writers have no shared definition of these terms. I look forward to your letters.


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