Update on My Novel: Month 27

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JULY STATS

Days Writing: 12
New Words: 3,069
New Chapters: 0.75

Total Word-count: 83,150
Total Chapters: 22.75

My goal for July was to incrementally improve on my performance in June. In June I wrote and edited 2,893 words through 10 days of work, so for June I wanted to work at least 11 days and write and edit at least 3,000 words.

And I’m pleased to say that I met both goals! As you can see I worked during 12 days and wrote 3,069 words. Given how close those numbers are to my goals, you might assume that I made a special push at the end of the month just to hit them, and you’d be absolutely right! But I suppose that’s one of the purposes of goals, to motivate you when you realize you’re in danger of missing the mark.

And I’ll keep the same “small incremental improvement” goal for August. I’ll try for 13 days of working and 3,200 words written and edited, which is a very doable goal.

I also had a happy realization this last month. When I first finished the outline for my novel I estimated that it would run for 32 chapters. But while writing I have removed and condensed some segments, but I never updated my estimates until just recently. Now my expectation is that my last chapter will be either number 28 or 29. That might not seem very significant of a change, but just knowing I’m about 6 chapters from the end of my first draft, instead of 9, is extremely encouraging!

I’ll let you know how things went in August one month from now, and here’s a small piece from the material that I wrote in July.

The hairs on the back of Clara’s neck stand on end and she wrings her hands. What is she supposed to do? She’s already doing everything that she can, but this is beyond her.

“Mother, please be alright!” she kisses Eleanor’s hand. “I’m going to get father. I have to. Please be alright!” She presses her lips against the hand once more, then turns and dashes out of the cottage.

She hurries along the trail as fast as her feet can carry her, legs whipped by the tall grass as she cleaves through it. Her fear gives her an amazing clarity. Any distraction that would normally occupy her mind is banished before it can enter. She doesn’t even allow herself to be deterred by any fears: not of hidden creatures lurking in the grass, and not of her mother alone at the camp. What Eleanor needs right now is swiftness, not worry.

Though not too much swiftness. With her enhanced clarity of mind, Clara realizes that if she keeps running flat-out, she won’t be able to keep up the pace all the way to William. The fastest way to get help for her mother is to run only at the highest speed she can maintain all the way from start to finish. So she slows her feet, but only a little, trusting that she will push herself beyond her normal capabilities.

As for the trip back, she gives no thought to it. She will expend all the energy that she has just to get to William, and then it will be up to him to take things from there.

Update on My Novel: Month 26

black pen near white printer paper
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

JUNE STATS

Days Writing: 10
New Words: 2893
New Chapters: 1

Total Word-count: 79,993
Total Chapters: 22

At the start of June I mentioned the new schedule that I was making for myself, and threw out some pretty bold predictions for how many words I’d be able to write! And, well, obviously that’s not how things went for June. My numbers are better than they were in May, so that’s nice, but only a third of the potential I had been talking about.

Am I too shocked? No. Let’s face it, I’ve had a lot of plans to shake things up, and they’ve only ever brought temporary, moderate success. I’m glad that I keep trying new things, and I want to constantly experiment with my process and find new improvements, but perhaps I need to be a bit more realistic in my approach.

Which leads me to yet another new experiment to try! As I mentioned, June was an incremental improvement over May, and my goal for July is to make it an incremental improvement over June. Rather than looking for the miracle plan that triples my output all at once, I’m going to look for more gradual advancements.

In June I wrote 2,893 words over 10 days, so for July I’m just looking to do 3,000 words over 11 days. That seems very doable, and if I do succeed at that then I’ll raise the bar a little higher for August.

Come back next month to see how things went, and in the meantime, here’s a small piece that I wrote during June.

And by this he discovers the third great problem. In all of these three hours he has not even toppled three hundred stalks, less than a tenth of the field’s total. That alone would be of little consequence, if all he had to do was fell the cane he could have the task done within a week, but stalks of sugarcane is not what is sold back on the mainland, sugar is. And he cannot put the sheathed cane into the crusher, so the outer layers must be stripped off first, and these bind very tightly to the stalk indeed.

Stripping them back is a long and arduous process. Either he must grip their tips with his fingers and peel them back, one small piece at a time, or else he must slash the length of the stalk with his cutlass, wasting whatever chunks of inner cane come off with the leaves. If cutting the cane down had seemed a slow process, it is nothing compared to this! He dedicates five full hours to the task, and in that time he barely cleans fifty of the cane. A quick arithmetic tells him that if he were to work for ten hours at this current rate he could cut down and strip only eighty-five stalks of cane! Further arithmetic informs him that the entire field of three thousand cane would therefore take him three-hundred-and-fifty-hours of labor, or two weeks of working night and day without a moment’s relief.

And he is very sure of those calculations, for he has an immensity of time to double-check and triple-check them as he slowly strips the outer leaves from his hopes and dreams.