quick progress

i haven’t been doing daily updates on the progress meter, and i only just caught up on typing in the work from last week. so as of sunday, i had typed 15,241 words, which is almost 20% of my goal!

broken down in other increments, i wrote 36 hand-written pages, meaning each handwritten page equals roughly 425 typed words. it also means i’m averaging just over 5 hand-written pages/day, or a little more than 2000 words/day. i know it’s not the same thing, but i remember high school and getting the assignment for the 2000 word essay and thinking i would probably die before i finished that much, and i had months to write it, too.

the last measure is the number of chapters. i have broken the outline into 52 chapters, as of the start of the writing. i knew already that there would be some longer than others, obviously, and some might get merged into others, but for purposes of this little mental excercise, i’m keeping myself to the numbering of those chapters, even if they actually merge or break apart in the final draft. so, as of sunday, i had just begun chapter 10, of 52, putting me roughly on target with chapters as i am with word count. someone better at mathematics and statistics can explain whether or not that is an expected outcome, but for now i just think it’s kind of neat.

now, i already have 4 more pages from monday, which haven’t been added into any of this, and i will try to get more daily-focused. however, today is an exception, as i am helping my brother and his family move to massachussetts today, so there will be likely no writing. other than this, obviously. anyway, my goal is never to carry more than one day’s writing over, so I have 1 extra page from yesterday, meaning i need to write 5 pages on weds.

i’m really getting into this process!

  1. Hey Bill, I’m enjoying your updates. Glad that you’re on a roll with the new book. One question… why do you favor hand-written pages — especially since you have to commit time to typing them afterward? Hope all is well with you.

  2. josh! glad you’re enjoying the site, and thanks for the thoughts. i am extraordinarily lucky in so many ways; i could not ask for better.

    as for why hand-written pages, well, hand-writing forces me to slow down. i type faster than i can properly consider my thoughts, yielding fairly large amounts of junk. i find that when i put pencil to paper, i am already digesting my thoughts as i write them. there is a certain amount of self-editing that happens between my brain and the page. it’s not a lot, and i don’t pore over each word before i write it down, but there’s simply some kind of internal process that allows me to sift for effective word choice, accurate character voice, proper tone, as well as things like how this will work with the next scene, or will it only send me further off track. that sort of thing.

    that’s what i’m telling myself, anyway. in truth, i probably just think too slowly to get consistently good results out of typing.

    also, and this may well be the genuine reason, i like pencil. it feels right. scratching the surface of a page with the soft rasp of a good No. 2 feels real, tangible, in a way that typing, and even pen, doesn’t. it’s completely subjective, i know. and there are times when i like to just sit at the computer and run with the words to see what happens. in fact, that’s where manadan and gupti came from, which i really like. of course, i haven’t finished that one, but that’s a different story (no pun intended).

    ouch. that was bad. sorry.

    one last thing about the extra time for typing: the typing process can act as an additional draft, because it’s always the case that i find new problems, better (i hope) phrasing, single words or entire paragraphs or even pages to chop entirely because i was trying too hard in the first place, that sort of thing. i may revise as i type, even from revisions i have made on the page.

    this was a fundamental part of the creation of Witness, but i’m not using it in this manner for No Good Deed, as an experiment with the process. i’m doing my best (not always successfully) to not revise as i type, but merely transcribe the text as is. this is helping me stick to my daily requirements of three pages a day, too, by not letting myself get lost in the revisions until i’m finished with the whole.

    anyway, as you can see, i babble when i type. so i’ll cut that out now and get some sleep. hope that made sense, and again, thanks for saying hi. i hope things are well in your neck of the woods, too.

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