Because I’m working on revisions this week, instead of writing something new, I don’t have the Project Targets box open in Scrivener like I usually do. Unlike everything else I write, I’m not worried about word count right now. I use word count to plan, to structure, and to write my books.
A thousand words is a nice chunk that I can see in my head. It’s a good size for a scene with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s also a good goal for every writing day. So, if I want to write something twenty thousand words long, all I need is about a month, twenty plotted scenes, and the Project Targets box open in Scrivener. Editing is a different thing all together. It doesn’t matter how long the book is because it’s already long enough (though I always want it to be longer). I’m rereading and rewriting sentences–a few words here, a few more there. There will be new paragraphs in the last half to bolster dropped story threads.
But it’s harder to look at a day’s work editing and feel like you did something. The progress bar doesn’t move at this stage of the book like it does at the beginning. Sometimes I wish I had a progress bar for quality. Instead, I close the Project Targets box and write, delete, move sentences around until the book is good enough for me. Because that’s what I want to give to you.
With new books coming out in May and in the fall, I’m revisiting my writing plan for the summer in between. I’m putting all my words into finishing a few stories I’ve left hanging. Over Christmas, I picked up an old work-in-progress, added 20k words, and now I have 35k of a YA gay romance. It’s called SUMMER BRAVE, and it’s about the last summer after high school, so of course I should finish it this summer.
I’ll be spending some time with friends in Los Angeles this July, so it’s the perfect chance to finish the story I’ve been calling BRUNCH WITH HIPSTERS. Then I can get fancy and call this a “research trip.” My New Year’s Eve novella was rejected, but now I can take the time to do another pass and send it on to another publisher.
This whole year feels like taking another pass at my writing plan. It used to be that, if you wanted to write fiction, you had to have a novel to get published. That’s not true anymore. If you write it, if it’s good, it will find a home.