Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Novel: By the Numbers

That’s right, it’s time for my quasisemibiannual novel update! And today, a special treat: Instead of crafting an entire blog entry for you fine folks, I’ll spend half the time hurling digits at you. Which is rather fitting, since a character loses his in the story’s opening line.

Anyway, two days ago I came to a decision: After months and months of not working on my novel, I would — pause inserted for dramatic effect — work on my novel. No more excuses about writing workshops or planning a wedding or how I only had two more planets to destroy in the whole Trans-Zarkonian Nebula.1 It was time to write.

Sure, right now my Magnum Opus is more Magnum (gun-toting private investigator) than Opus (silly-looking penguin), but I hope to remedy that and provide more of a balance during the rewrite. And oh! such rewriting there will be. Scanning through the unfinished manuscript these past couple of days, I’ve found miles of dreadful exposition, scene after scene where little of interest happens, and adverbs out the wazoo.2 I foresee a lot of editing in my future.

But enough about the future. Let’s talk about the past. And let’s use numbers...

Note: Values marked with a single asterisk (*) are estimates, because, let’s face it, I’m one lazy S.O.B.3

Current page count: 257
Current word count: 106,797
Total words that should likely be stricken from the record: 25,834*
Pages of my own proposed edits, additions, and subtractions: 37
Proposed edits, additions, and subtractions: 359
Proposed edits, additions, and subtractions that contradict each other: 61*

Length of novel-writing hiatus, in days: 180
Blog posts written during hiatus: 40
Short stories written during hiatus: 5
Excuses made during hiatus: 473*

Titles considered: 35*
Titles still in the running: 7-11
Chapters planned for finished manuscript: 40
Chapters currently completed: 33.3
Longest chapter, in pages: 15
Shortest chapter, in pages: 3
Sets of parentheses used (a surprisingly low total for me): 41
Uses of the word “fuck” (a surprisngly high total for me): 45

Major characters: 0
Colonel characters: 2
Invisible characters: 7
Invisible characters, including monkeys: 9
Chapters that involve invisible monkeys: 6
Chapters that should involve invisible monkeys, according to Jen: 42**
Individual points of view (all in the third-person): 12
Most chapters from one character’s POV: 7
Character deaths: 3
References to vampi—

Wait, really? Only three deaths so far? No no no, that just won’t do.

Okay, now that I have some proper motivation, I think I’ll sharpen up my cursor and see if I can’t kill off a few more of my characters. Wish me luck!

1 Um, yeeeaaah... In a video game. Let’s go with that.
2 Better than in the wazoo, I suppose. You know, for the sake of the wazoo. Because who knows where those adverbs have been.
3 As evidenced by how I didn't spell out S.O.B. Not even here, in this footnote.
** Yes, that is two more chapters than I have planned. But I'm pretty sure Jen would want me to add a couple new chapters devoted entirely to the monkeys.

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