On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday, End Of NaNo, Wordcount as Goals


First, it's Black Friday and I feel the urge to buy something. Now that I've been watching TV again (Dancing with the Stars, the occasional Boston Legal, and most of Eli Stone), I am aware of the sales. And I still need that new TV, and though my brother gave me an old VCR player, I want a new one and a DVD player. But I can't face the crowds so I may just wander down to the tea shop and get a couple of strainers that I need (I have 2 that I've misplaced), and I went to this new local shop with my Mom a few weeks back that had wonderful knit socks (wearing them now, hardly off my feet). So much for Black Friday. I have a terrible feeling that Global Cool will not survive. It opened in the summer, before...

NaNoWriMo is ending in a couple of days and I have 700+ words to do, which means probably this morning. Problem is, when I finish those 700+ words, I won't want to continue on to my full, daily wordcount. I HAVE taken a day or few off...

I think the 200 pages a month is pressing it for me, even as a full time writer. I don't know if it's that I pace myself or think too much, or what. I will say that just the roughing out of a book is excellent for most folks, but I'm not sure I will ever work that way.

Wordcount isn't all (that's my rationalization speaking, since I doubt I will ever in my life win a word war with 3051 in an hour). I HAVE gotten into the habit of thinking when I write, crafting sentences. If it's awkward, I go back, usually if I use the wrong word I will think a little about it, instead of doing **. I rephrase quite often. Not sure whether that really helps the first draft be cleaner or not, since I usually do three, but maybe.

In any case, I don't want anyone who sets their goals as wordcount and "fails" NaNoWriMo or any other writing project to feel a failure or despondent. Catie Murphy was all on revisions and proposals this month (and I'll be getting a proposal out next month, and that is serious thinking/outlining for me and not much wordcount). There was family stuff, etc. And I think 200 pages a month would be daunting for most...except those who have proven they can do it and do it well, like Catie Murphy and Nora Roberts, etc.

I know I spent several days with little or no wordcount sewing together my chapters and polishing them. I am having trouble with Heart Change in that I had this book in mind BEFORE I sold HeartMate which was 7 years ago. I have three terrible events and I'm trying to judge how they go: boom, boom, boom; boom...boom, boom; boom, boom...boom. I've spoken to my mentor and writing buddy about this but am still fumbling.

That's it for now, if I write more, I may not want to get to the book. May you go at your own pace today.



Blogger Pinky P said...

I too notice myself going back and making little changes along the way--even if it's changing a misspelling that spellcheck didn't catch!

What do you set your word count at? What do you do with your wordcount goals when you have editing to do or rewrites?

I want to set goals for myself but because I work full-time and also have a chronic illness that sometimes means I come home and collapse, I'm thinking daily word counts are too much pressure.

Do you reward yourself when you hit your goals?

8:59 AM  
Blogger Suzane in VT said...

Some people might be able to turn off their internal editors when they want, but like you Robin, I just can't do it. My musi rise up in rebellion every time I try - NaNo or no!

In going back to re-read what I've written I constantly find myself confronted with new perspectives on things and discovering branches to a story I had not considered before, particularly when I've hit a wall or the words just don't want to flow.

For NaNo - word count is word count. If an idea comes to me, I get it down. Even came up with a Flair idea for a female Celtan character, though I know it's something I could never persue on my own (Robin's copyright and all). Still I wrote it down and gave it the same consideration I give the traits I build for my own characters. Maybe someday I could do her story on my own, just for my own entertainment.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...


First, make your goals reachable. What I would do is to figure out your average. My average when I was working was 2 1/2 pages an hour. Now I think it's higher.

You do NOT want to set a goal where you will consistently fail, so if you need to go UNDER your average, do it. Otherwise set it as your average or maybe slightly more.

1667 is the NaNoWriMo average daily count. My average daily count is 1500. That is comfortable for me with how I write. I may try the 1667 in the future, as being a bit harder. Sometimes I can make my goal in an hour (rarely!) sometimes it takes four hours. That's the truth.

Working every day on the book is optimum, even if you don't do a lot of new words, but don't polish it to death. I usually read the last scene and start on. Maybe before you get up or during the day you can think of an opening sentence, or a good sentence to form the scene around. That helps me.

Suzane, write whatever you want! I'm flattered. My publisher might have a problem if it was published.


10:23 AM  
Blogger Suzane in VT said...

Hey, Robin. If you want the character writeup, it's yours, free and clear. Only a simple thank you would suffice. I'll even sign a waiver to that fact if need be. I'd love to see what you could do with her. ;)

12:17 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Sure, that would be great. No waiver needed...email me at robin @ robindowes dot com


4:41 PM  
Blogger Catie said...

200 pages a month is still daunting if faced on a regular basis. :) *hugs*! Congrats on Nano success!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks Catie! Yeah, 200 a month would be good but crazy for me.


9:31 AM  

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