Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery


I'm not so much writing the book as I am writing toward the book. On my most productive days, I'm writing descriptions of the scenes and chapters that need filling in. Filling those gaps with actual storytelling would require hours of staring into space, playing with variations and nuances, and this pace of production simply doesn't allow for staring into space. Not with the number of students I'm teaching this year, anyway. Last year, I had time to stare into space and generate a lot of fairly vivid scenes.

On the other hand, last year I was earning pin money, and this year I'm earning a living wage. If I had to choose between crossing the Nanowrimo finish line and domestic tranquility, domestic tranquility would win. And a living wage goes a long way to maintaining domestic tranquility.

I think of the hours I put into the tutoring practice as writing time that I'm selling, and now I have a pretty good idea of how literal that equation is. A year with little to no paid labor is a 300K word year. A year with enough paid labor to produce a usefully consistent trickle of pin money is a 100K word year, with a lot of that 100K in a fair state of polish, and a bunch of revision on older material. A year with a living wage is a 100K word year with a lot of rough, sketchy material, and a bunch of revision on older material. A year with a solidly good living at the day job, or a year with a child, would probably pull me below the 100K word mark.

Not sure what to do with that information, but it made for a lot of entertaining scribbling on the backs of envelopes. Maybe someday, if I ever have an editor who wants to know how fast I can produce something she wants to buy, I'll be able to use it to give something approaching an informed answer.

I did not include the back of the envelope in my daily word count.

Anyhow, I've embraced the possibility that most of my November productivity will be laying down the bones of scenes that will have to be written later. At least there will be bones. I started the month with a lot of chapter files that consisted of a chapter number, three or four bulleted points with a line each of vaguely related nouns, and a big question mark about how that chunk of plot was going to work. It's a substantial improvement, having files that now contain five pages of notes and dialogue fragments for chapters that I'm hoping will come to maybe twenty pages.

As usual, I wish it were going faster.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
28,382 / 50,000
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