Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nuts and Bolts

Writing consists of words and every writer has to commit words to either paper or a word processor.  I love the anecdote I read once about James Joyce.  He was struggling daily with his current project and a friend dropped by his garret. 
                "How's the writing, James?"
                "Terrible," said Joyce.  "I worked all day and I only have seven words to show for it."
                "Seven," said the friend.  "Well, you've always worked at a deliberate pace.  That's not bad for you."
                "Yes," said Joyce, "but I don't know what order they go in."   

I have read that Graham Greene wrote 500 words a day, and I think that's a reasonable target for me.  Jack London wrote 1,000 a day.  I'm not that prolific.  I decided in June it was time to write a new story.  I sat down to it June 19, and finished a first draft July 3.  That was 8,392 words, and I worked ten days, 839 words per day.  Fifteen days elapsed, five of which, for one reason or another, I didn't write.  So one could argue my daily output for the period was really only 559 words per day. 
I went back through the work this week and finished the second draft.  "Joe's Last Scratch" (working title) is now 8,607 words, and I've invested 22 days, so I'm down to 391 words per day.  A short story in three weeks.  Not bad at all. 
Now I need someone who is not family, and ideally, not even a mystery fan, to read it and tell me what he or she thinks.   

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