weekly writing progress

I always read Stephen Watkins’ Monday “Writing Progress” posts on his blog The Undiscovered Author, where he describes what he got done the week before, and then he asks how everybody else’s writing week was. I always post my answer, and that’s become part of my regular schedule.

This week, though, because of the holidays, he’s taking the week off, thereby throwing off my rhythm. So, I will post my own writing progress post instead.

My big accomplishment this week was sending off the mystery story book to some wonderful beta readers. This is the first stage; I anticipate a second round of beta reading later this year, depending on how this goes. I was going to send the file on New Year’s Eve, symbolizing my decision to leave it alone for 2012, but the problem was that I kept on fiddling with it (punctuation, mostly), and so I sent it early, because now I can’t touch it.

So, now I have three other projects to work on, and I will give each a little time until I figure out which should be the priority right now.

One is my third novel. I wrote six chapters back a few months ago, just enough to confirm that it would work at all, but now I could pursue that project. My reluctance is mostly because it’s not a mystery, and I really feel like writing mysteries these days.

Another is a mystery story that never quite worked, but which I think has real potential. It’s not going to be in the book, but it’s part of the same series. This is the closest to being done (it’s the only one which is anywhere near being done, in fact; the others are barely started), but if I’m taking a year off from the book, maybe I should take a year off from the whole series.

Another is the idea I had a couple of week ago for a new novel. I’ve done about 25 handwritten pages so far. I think this has the most momentum right now, though I have no idea where it’s going (which is pretty standard for me).

I also had the idea for a real Jan Sleet mystery novel. Not one word of that one is written so far.

So, we’ll see. (And, looking back, I guess that’s four, not three.)

Oh, there was an interesting article in Wired magazine (it’s not online, or at least I couldn’t find it). It’s about how, yes, Water for Elephants was started as a NaNoWriMo novel and now it’s really successful and there’s a movie and so on, but sometimes novels which were written very quickly can be a bad thing.

They mention A Clockwork Orange, which Anthony Burgess wrote in three weeks because he needed money. It was hugely successful, of course, and he’s grumpy about it because it’s the main (or only) book of his that most people know, and he doesn’t like it.

Ray Bradbury wrote Farenheit 451 in nine days (he was renting a typewriter by the hour, so he wrote as fast as he could), and apparently it’s a bit raggedy (I’ve never read it).

I guess the moral is, whatever you write, and however you wrote it, if you’re putting it out there with your name on it, you should be sure you can be proud of it.

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7 Responses to weekly writing progress

  1. sonje says:

    It’s interesting when an author doesn’t like his or her most popular book. At first I was thinking that an author should learn to like that book, discover what s/he did right and readers are responding to, and duplicate it. But then I started wondering what the point of writing is: to please others or to please yourself?

    Thus far I’ve been writing to please myself. I wonder if that will change once my books are “out there.” I don’t think so, but you never know.

    • I’m definitely in the “write books that you want to read” camp. 🙂

      I can understand Burgess’ feelings, but if I needed money and I wrote something that was designed to make money and it actually did make money, I think I’d feel pretty good about that.

  2. Pingback: Let’s Talk About Goals | Laura Stanfill

  3. Maggie says:

    It’s kind of strange how the best-loved book by a certain author is the one that author likes least. Every time I submitted short stories for critique back in college, the one I hated was the one everyone else loved and the one I loved was the one everyone else hated. Weird.

    Good luck on your goals!

  4. Thanks.

    My ex-wife had that problem when she was growing up. Every boy she brought home earned her parents’ disapproval except one. And she didn’t like him that much, but she had a problem breaking up with him since everybody else liked him so.

  5. Ooh, sorry for throwing off your momentum. Holidays and all. 🙂

    I’ve yet to read A Clockword Orange, but I will say of Farenheit: is it good? Yes. Is it a classic? Yes. Is it a bit raggedy? Well… yes. Could it stand a little more polish, especially with regards to the world-building? I would say so, without a doubt. Specifically, the whole bit about Firemen having transitioned from “putting out fires” to “starting fires, a/k/a burning books” simply because houses were now built out of fire-proof materials left something to be desired. It didn’t make any sense, and that leap of logic was the hardest thing to get over, in terms of believability.

    Anyway, as for the rest… I always find it gratifying to have multiple projects to work on, although I’ll tend to focus on one project for weeks on end before I feel the itch to move on to another project. Recently, I’ve been pretty good at staying focused on a single project for months at a time, at least.

    • I’m moving around between projects more than usual at the moment, but I seem to be settling into one particular one.

      If it works right, it will actually combine two of the unfinished projects into one (which is good, because one of them always did have trouble standing on its own 🙂 ).

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