Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Numbers... IWSG September 2, 2015

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click the words to visit)

Today's cohosts are:  Heather M. Gardner, Christine Rains, Dolorah at Book Lover, Julie Flanders, and

Once upon a time I wrote a story.  It was a very good story, at least to my mind.  I got the idea for the story when a major character in a series of mine, seized by enemies who for all he knows want nothing more than to kill or capture him, gives his name to his captors.  It is an important name and, historically, might have given pause to anyone thinking of tangling with him.

I wrote, "Their expressions made him think of the fable of the man who encountered a thirty cubit crocodile."
HOW big is it???

The ways of inspiration are strange to outsiders.  I started mulling over the notion of a thirty cubit crocodile (a cubit being 21 inches in dynastic Egypt) and I had an idea for a story involving just such a beast who intrudes into the life of a needy man.  In the course of helping the man, it manages to turn the man's world upside-down.

At thirty thousand words at this moment, it is a nice novelette and an enjoyable addition to the series. 
And then I thought of a certain publishing contest.

You submit your work, and if it is approved they obtain a photo of you (something I would worry about later), a blurb and a pitch, and they put it up online for those who might like to look at it, vote on it,and puff out their chests for volunteering to. 
This is doable.  Elegant, in fact.  And heaven knows it's good story.  Thus far.

The problem is, the submission must be 50,000 words.

It isn't such a problem, if you think of it.  Beautiful manuscript not lost, story moving along nicely...  We should all have such problems, shouldn't we?


The thing is, I have to take that story and add two-thirds of its length.  Twenty thousand words needed to qualify  for the contest which, God same the mark, I very well might not win.


Words can't begin to describe the annoyance.  


Yeah, well, we all have things to do, don't we?  20,000 words equals twenty sessions of a thousand words each.  Or ten sessions of two thousand words each.  Heck, just in this particular animadverting session I have managed to generate just about five hundred words.

And that brings me to the phrase that helps me when I am trying to come up with numbers:


Just Spit It Out

I know very well that I'll be adding and subtracting, polishing, deepening...all the things that, for me, make writing so rewarding and fun.

My problem is that I get hung up on the notion of numbers and end up not producing any.

The answer?  See the red letters above.  Write the words.  Break the ice.  Get cracking.

Will I enter the contest with my crocodile story?  I might.  Then again, I might not.  It does need some additions, and I can see at least five more chapters at about 1500 words apiece. If you do the math, it's do-able.

If, that is, I can get myself to put away the calculator, open up the laptop, review the piece, and just go to town.  I think I can.

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Visit the other blogs on this wonderful hop.  I guarantee, the other bloggers have a lot more to say, and a lot more on point.  (Cough!)

17 comments:

  1. Yikes....that crocodile sure fires the imagination and in Egypt no less. Good luck with the contest!

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    1. Thanks! He's been fun to write about, and it's been quite a learning experience. I'd say it's 2/3 done... But I'm going to try sitting down and just writing.

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  2. I can get hung up on meeting a word count too. Once I start writing, I usually go over and have to edit down. Oh, so many many words! At least you have a goal in mind for the piece, and that should make it easier to focus on.

    Good luck Diana. Happy writing.

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    1. Oh, my. I hadn't thought of going over. It is strange how the flow catches you and whirls you along.

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  3. Adding an additional 20k words is kindof daunting, but if you know where you want to go with the story, it's totally do'able! You got this. :) That's about how many I'm hoping to do in the next week and a half. We will see what happens hah
    Happy IWSG Day!
    ~ AJ

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    1. Good luck with your writing this week. My bet is that you do it and make it look easy!

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  4. I LOVE the idea behind your novelette. The crocodile, to me, is just intriguing beyond words. Good luck with finishing it - you WILL finish it. It sounds too good to not do so.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! I don't think the crocodile and my hero's family will allow me not to! :)

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  5. I get hung up on numbers too because every first draft I write ends up being in that 20K range. It's fun though to go back in and add the depth that makes it a better book. Good luck with yours!

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    1. That's good to know, Karen. Your writing is wonderful.

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  6. You can totally do this!!!!! I mean, you already gave all of us, yourself included, the best advice: Write the words. Break the ice. Get cracking. ;)

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    1. You're right! I'm squaring my shoulders and cracking - right after I visit a whole lot of blogs. (I was traveling yesterday...)

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  7. I feel your pain, Diana! I've done the same thing so many times, i.e. found a great contest for which I have something suitable, only to find the word count is all shades of wrong. There's nothing quite like a pressing deadline to add pressure! Good luck with that story, it sounds interesting :-)

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    1. What I love about IWSG is all the people sharing things that make me say, "That's so right!" Thanks.

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  8. Ah, numbers. In theory I'm writing for my own pleasure, but it's also for a goal. At the end of a writing session, I always do the math to see what percentage of the total I've written (7.5% of my current WIP). I generally end up a little short on the first draft, then go through and round it out a little. Hope the words keep flowing for you.

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