Has anyone else felt that the previous couple of weeks have just motored along? It must be because all of us are having such fun. Once again I will begin with those of you who have, for whatever reason, not been able to keep up with the word count. In three short words: don’t sweat it. While it’s great to be target-oriented, it is greater to be systems-oriented, which means that if you can make a habit out of spending a certain number of hours every day at your writing desk, even if you do not finish by the end of November, you will eventually finish. The habit is more important than the target.
If you’re sticking to your target, though, that’s better but not all. You also need to pay close attention to the habit of writing every day, because chances are that come November end, you may have to spend some time rewriting or deleting what you’ve written. Perhaps you need one more month of polishing before you can send your work out. Even if all that isn’t true and your book is perfect in first draft, you still have to begin your next one, don’t you? So this is no time to be relaxing.
With respect to the structure of the book itself, those of you who are on track should right now be in the middle of Act Two, which generally corresponds to the lowest point in your protagonist’s journey. So that first incident which threw his life into chaos has intensified, and all his attempts to subdue his troubles have failed. At the middle point of your book, your character must be left wondering how (and whether) he will ever achieve his goal. From here on to the three-fourths point, of course, a new direction is sought, the pace picks up again, and the events of this part of the book will lay the foundation for the second big doorway through which your character will pass, where life will change all over once again.
I do wish you will stay the course as long as you can, and shun your family and friends for two more weeks. I am sure they will understand. See you all next week.
Sharath Komarraju is a mystery and fantasy author based in Bangalore, India. His first novel, ‘Murder in Amaravati’, was longlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Now, as he awaits the release of his third novel, ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’, due out in November 2013, he’s busy thrashing out a manuscript that doesn’t yet know what it wants to become when it grows up.
He spends most of a typical day locked up in a room talking to himself. He blogs about the writing life at http://sharathkomarraju.com/