Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Saturday, 09 June 2001

Woo hoo. I spent basically all day today writing and I finished my first draft. The final total came in at 8660 words. No exclamation point on the woo hoo, though, because I'm unhappy with the story. I don't think this is a permanent unhappiness. I think this is just the plain old "this sucks" reaction that most writers report at a certain stage in most projects.

I don't usually go through that phase, actually. Maybe that's because I tend not to push on and finish a draft when I feel like that. Instead I back up, take a little time off, and then write it differently. This time I didn't do that. Partly that's because I want to turn it in on Monday, so there's no time to write it differently. Mostly, though, I think it is because I had an actual outline for this one. Since I could remember that there was a time when I was very pleased with the outline, I was able to finish the story with some confidence that, at some level, I would like the story.

As I said, I spent all day on the story. I slept in (until 7:00--about as late as I ever get up) then went down and did my laundry. I took the laptop with me and wrote a scene while the laundry laundered. I thought I could finish it by dinner time, and would have, but folks came and knocked on the door and we did a group dinner. That was probably wise. I only had about 40 minutes work to finish it up, but having dinner in the middle didn't hurt and may have helped.

They're showing "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in the lobby, and I was planning to watch that. But finishing my story ran just a few minutes past the start time, so I decided to just skip it. I'm glad I did, though, because just after that folks came and knocked on my door and a group went down to watch Kelly Link eat dinner.

I'm not happy with my story, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy. In fact, I'm very satisfied. There's nothing wrong with the story that isn't fixable.

At 8660 words the story is much too long. One way or another I'll cut it by quite a bit. (My classmates will be glad to hear that.) I'm not sure yet how to go about trimming it, though. I'm going to let it sit until tomorrow, give it a fresh read from the beginning, and then try applying some of the critiquing skills that I've developed over the last week. Give them their first real test.

I woke up this morning with a cough. I thought it was from breathing too much smoke last night (there was the charcoal, citronella torches, incense, and tobacco smoke, not to mention bug repellent). I felt fine aside from the cough, and was confident enough that I wasn't sick that I went ahead and went for a run around mid-day. But I'm now suspecting that I've got a virus of some kind.

But, no worries. I'll go to bed early, sleep late, and I've got all day tomorrow to take it easy.


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