This morning I work up before 6AM so I’m a bit out of it. I’m not sure how productive I’m going to be, so I figured I’ll just take a look at the state of things. As I mentioned last week, I hit my 50,000 word mark. This is a huge accomplishment for me. Traditionally I work in shorter forms. I started in poetry when I was a teenager. I’d like to say I wasn’t bad, but I was. I wrote some really bad poetry. Maybe if you took my collected poems between 15 and 25 years old, there might be 1 or 2 that are okay. I had stuff to figure out in my head and I got it processed. That’s good enough for me. In college, I met some really amazing short story writers and discovered the form for myself. My feeling is that I was better at that than poetry. I wrote short stories pretty solidly for about 8 years, with the stories at the end of that time being the strongest. Prior to moving to Canada and getting married, I spent a lot of time working on short fiction.
Then I got busy. My fiancé was living 5 hours away from me, in a different country. I’d get off work on Friday and head for Ontario. I’d get there at night, spend all day Saturday and most of Sunday and then hop in the car and head back to Michigan. So much for free time. What was interesting though was that my mind wouldn’t get idle when I drove. It’d wander and I’d find myself thinking about odd things for hours on end. That was the beginning of this book. This book started as a stray thought on a 5 hour drive. I’d speed down the 402 at night, watching for breaks in trees in the median, scanning for police cars. Then I noticed that I was looking for other things in the medians. There was all this empty space. Space that we all took for granted as unused. Oh, the things that could be hidden in the median.
I started looking for other places like this. Places that we see every day and dismiss. I had to search the internet to find out the name for gores. The only thing I ever knew that happened on a gore was my aunt crashing her car into one. Aside from that, I never thought about them. I started looking at them. Many have thick trees on them. More places to hide. This was where The Library came from in my head (the story will get there soon). I also thought about the people who would live in these secret places. They were obviously kids, something akin to modern day lost boys (and girls).
And so I drove. And I thought. And eventually, I moved, got married and had kids. I got busy. I got overwhelmed with life and being a grown up and I stopped creating. What I noticed though, as the years passed was that those children hiding on the medians, ducking behind the trees as my car drove past were now hiding in my head. They mostly stayed hidden, but every now and again, they’d peek out and look around. Then out of nowhere in September 2013, they emerged. My life was stable enough that I had some time for me again. I had HOURS that I could just go off and do something on my own. The framework of this story had bounced around in my head for over a decade and was ready to come out.
Here are some stats on how this writing has gone for me:
In October of 2013, I had written about 15,000 words. I had a pretty productive start, but then I had a hard time finding when and where I could write productively. By February 2014, I was only up to around 24,500 words and by August 2014, I had only gotten up to 27,600 words. To be fair, I hadn’t really figured out what I was doing yet, so I did a LOT of revising. I changed almost all the characters names. I filled in a lot of detail that was just lacking. Once again though, September came and went and I started finding my groove again. I was up to 35,200 by the end of October. At the beginning of 2015, I was at 41,200 and obviously, this April, I passed 50,000 words.
Basically, the first year I was working on the book I got around 27K done, then in the next 6 months, I get about that same amount written. This is when I started my Sunday ritual. I wake up Sunday morning and I go write. I do it every Sunday, even if it’s only for an hour and even if I only get some editing done. I don’t think I’ll pick up the pace any more than this. I think it’s just about right for me. I’m starting Part 3 of the book today. I’m aiming for 70-80K words and I think I’m on track for that in the story. I’d like to be done this year, so if all goes as planned, I think I’ll make it.
Okay, time to get to work.