Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

So I'm doing this a little early this week. Normally this is something that I remember to do at the very last minute, sometimes even Thursday morning, and I have to frantically throw together a report. Well, this past week has been frantic, but in a good way.

Allow me to explain why. This past Monday, we were out celebrating my parents-in-law's 41st anniversary. We went to Famous Daves and we were having a good ol' time, making small talk, trying to get my son to eat his "mackerel and cheese" (that's what he calls it; no fish are actually involved). And in the back of my head, I was ruminating over some of the things that Sharon Hinck had said to me about the first 20 pages of Numb. And I was also thinking about some of the advice I had read in Donald Maass's book Writing the Breakout Novel. And suddenly, all those thoughts converged into a massive brainstorm.

See, I've been struggling with my antagonist's motivation. I knew what he wanted and why he wanted it. But it all seemed way too small. I needed to up the stakes for him, make it all bigger. And sitting in a restaurant with a mouthful of Georgia shredded pork, I suddenly knew what I had been missing. I knew what the antagonist wanted.

More than that, dozens of smaller ideas started to emerge on how to work this bigger idea into the existing plot. And plugs for other smaller holes began forming as well. I was having a veritable cornucopia of ideas pouring out of my barbecue-addled mind.

Small problem: I had nothing on which to write any of this stuff down. And I knew that if I didn't record my thoughts, they'd be gone before we got home.

I turned to my darling wife and asked her if she had any paper in our son's backpack. She said the only stuff she had was coloring book pages. Well, I'm not so heartless a writer as to deprive my son of coloring book pages, so I went after the hostess and asked if she had any paper.

All she had was receipt paper from the cash register. So I grabbed that, a pen, and startled scribbling furiously.

When we made it home, I had even more ideas that I jotted on Post-Its and put it all up around my computer:

So I set to work. But as I did, even more ideas started forming, requiring even more notes:

So the past two days have been pretty wild. I've been diving back into the text of Numb with both feet, trying to incorporate all of this. And I think I did an okay job of it.

But the end result has been interesting. Two new chapters have sprouted within the book. And as of this noon, Numb clocked in at 80,314 words (as opposed to the 76,599 words from last week).

So what's next? Well, I think I may take the rest of the day to catch my breath a little. Play some Sims 3. But then, starting tomorrow, it's prepping a book proposal and one sheet for Numb as best I can. The ACFW National Conference is upon us!

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