If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Beauty of 1K a Day



It can take forever to write a novel.

Months. Years. Half-a-decade.

But it’ll take a lot longer if you don’t actually sit down and write the thing.

As you may have gleaned from my last post, I really don’t have a ton of time to write. Between being a mom, having a full-time job and a healthy freelance writing/editing career, I am often SWAMPED.

But dang it if I don’t get stuff done.

Because I’ve learned the art of chipping away.

On every project I worked on last year, I attempted to average 1,000 words a day during the first draft stage. That’s not much. Maybe five pages, double-spaced. For me, that’s about half a chapter or one scene. 

Not much at all.

But when staring down a 90,000-work book from page one? Totally doable.

I can fit in 1,000 words on my lunch break at work. Then, by Friday afternoon, I’ve got 5,000 words I didn’t have at the start of the week. Sure, that’s slow progress—especially when compared to those “fast drafters” out there who crank out 10,000 words a day—but it’s just enough that I feel like I’ve accomplished something—and moved closer to my goal of finishing a manuscript.

Some days I can’t write. Too many family obligations or too much work or freelance to do. So, I double-up the next day. Or go on a tear during a few precious hours during a weekend. As long as I average 30,000 words for a month, I’m pleased. That’s not Herculean. But it’ll get me there.

I’ve written nearly four manuscripts with this technique. Two that were completed in 2013, and two (a solo project and a joint project) that will most likely be finished this month.

They say that to be a writer you must write every day. I don’t necessarily believe this to be true, but I do think that to be a writer who finishes projects, you need to write as often as possible while in the drafting stage.

Not because that makes you a writer, per se, but because it will make the act of finishing a book A. less daunting and B. easier, in that you’ll be in the story every day (aka not staring at the computer screen because it’s been a week). And finishing is the goal, right? Right.

How do you approach the act of finishing a manuscript?

10 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Since I’m retired I have a different schedule. When I am working on a first draft, I’ll write 2-3,000 words a day, five to six days a week.

Once completed, I put it in a drawer and let it sleep for several months before I pick it up and start editing, which I enjoy a whole lot more than creating the first draft.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I don't go by word count. I go by scenes or chapters. On a rough draft, I don't stop until I have a complete scene finished, whether it's five pages or twenty pages. I haven't decided the best way to complete a rough draft. If I rush through to complete it, I find I'm mired in complex revisions that have the challenge of a chest game. If I don't rush the first draft, I have fewer revisions, but then I have time to contemplate alternate plots, which may or may not be better than my original idea. Whichever method, Sue Grafton was right--it's harder than it looks.

E. B. Davis said...

LOL--I meant chess game! Sorry--E.B.

Gloria Alden said...

I never count the words unless it's a short story requiring a certain amount of words. I usually finish the short story in one session, and although not always, I try to get the chapters written on the same day. I write everyday, but it may not be on the current book I'm working on. I write in my journal everyday, but I also may write my blog, a poem or a short story. I will admit that if I take a break from my current book, I find it harder to get back to.

Like Jim, I enjoy the editing and revision process - maybe too much, in fact, because I could go on forever correcting or changing things I think would work better.

Grace Topping said...

We shouldn't view putting words on paper as being the only measure of writing. It takes a lot of pondering to come up with a story, especially a mystery. So even when we are just thinking about our stories and coming up with what we want to write down, we are working on it--in a sense writing.

Kara Cerise said...

Chipping away at a large project is good advice, Sarah. When I lived in Massachusetts (known for heavy snow) we had one storm where the snow accumulated about two feet. Later that week, I watched a news segment about an amazing woman who I believe was in her eighties. She had completely cleared her driveway using only a shovel! Everyone was astonished and asked how she did it. The woman replied that she shoveled a little at a time then went inside to warm up and drink tea. Whenever a project feels overwhelming to me, I think of this woman.

Sarah Henning said...

I would loooooove to be able to always write a scene at a time. That's how my brain works, but most of the time it's not how my schedule works. (Booooo!) Today, I'm supposed to have four hours of writing this afternoon with friends—a full chapter in one sitting, here I come!

Sarah Fox said...

I aim for 1k per day as well. Some days I don't quite make it and other days I write more than that but I find 1k is a good target for me. I'll never be one of those people who can write 10k in one day but I do write almost every day so I'm still able to complete a first draft in 3-4 months. Not super speedy, but not too bad either. :)

Warren Bull said...

Good advice. Writing isn't a sprint. It's a marathon.

KM said...

Different things work for different people, and I'm glad you figured out a system that works for you.

I don't pay much attention to word count, esp. on a daily basis. Sometimes I spend my time mulling over what I want to work on, and never do get to the writing part. When I retire (which I hope will be soon!) i will have to rethink my schedules, etc.

Like a few other people, I'm afriad I could edit forever! At some point, I have to say, "It's done, at least for now" and pass it on to readers and editors.