Friday, October 31, 2008

WIPometer Barometer Ahoy


It’s now three months since I launched my WIPometer (and, coincidentally, took up biting my fingernails down to the scapula (and my scapula down to C7)).

Here’s what I said at the time.

I have roughly 60,000 words of hard draft, much of which is more or less finished and some of which is actually entertaining. My problem now (in addition to writing the final 30,000 words, figuring out the ending and draining the purple goo from the florid simile swamps on which the plot floats like a series of disjointed tectonic plates) is that I’m a hopeless reviser.

Turns out I was right. Check it out. In the margin.

(And isn’t this the interesting thing about the written word? That it’s impossible for the reader to discern how long the writer has spent banging his/her head against the table in between lines and paragraphs? Three, before the parenthesis, as it happens — plus six loud ‘elephant being stuffed with another, slightly bigger, elephant’ type groans and the merciless destruction of a blueberry muffin.)

So, I still have roughly 60,000 words out of 80,000 (though they are, now, finished) and have proved to myself beyond any reasonable doubt that my revising skills are on a par with Mike Tyson’s ability to dress up as a woman and go looking for ladyboys with a megaphone on the outskirts of Disneyland. In a PVC tutu.

However, before I fling myself from a human pyramid of misery (no cliffs for miles, and I can’t climb trees), it’s not all bad news. Only yesterday morning, as I was opening a tin of cat food, I had the mini-brainwave that would unlock the remaining seven chapters. So, although I’m going to end up two weeks to a month out (like Dubya’s comic timing, I suppose), I figure this is no bad place to be as the year draws to a close. Weird, but writing a novel is the least like completing a jigsaw of all the tedious mind-bending pursuits in which I’ve ever engaged: the closer you get to putting the final pieces together, the harder it gets.

What’s been very useful is having friendly whips cracked... No, let’s try that again. What’s been useful is having words of encouragement sing from the comments trail with the regularity of that drippy water torture thing they do in concentration camps and certain discount furniture superstores. I can’t count the number of days this has made the difference between folding up my notebook and ploughing on with another 500 words, so thanks to everyone who’s chipped in with a cheery get on with it, you tosser. Especial thanks go to the Peevenham Ladies’ Nit-Picking Circle. You know who you are.

No fireworks bursting from the WIPometer yet, then. It flickers on with the dazed half-life of an elderly grandparent nailed to the ceiling. So be it.

On...on...on...

49 comments:

JaneyV said...

Get on with it you tosser!

Who am I crack the whip? I have started my WIP no less than 5 times - each time throwing away 20,000+ words into a quagmire of soulless prose to be lost forever. (Yes - well over one book-worth - tossed!) However I am 18,000 words into it again and I'm a little more positive. I am using the tidal wave of writerly enthusiasm known as NaNoWriMo to urge myself into finishing a full draft by Nov 30th. I'm not actually signing up - I'm just pretending to. Maybe we could scourge each other into finishing (I didn't mean for that to sound quite as pervy as it did!)

If you ever lose faith in yourself again I suggest you read this:
So, I still have roughly 60,000 words out of 80,000 (though they are, now, finished) and have proved to myself beyond any reasonable doubt that my revising skills are on a par with Mike Tyson’s ability to dress up as a woman and go looking for ladyboys with a megaphone on the outskirts of Disneyland. In a PVC tutu.

Sweetie that is comic genius!

Whirlochre said...

Okay, baby — let's flex.

Kiersten said...

Well, no wonder you're struggling--someone has written all of your notes in Arabic! Or is that Elvish? I can't tell. If you need translation help, Hot Stuff speaks Arabic. You're on your own if it's Elvish, though.

Or is it Elvis?

I can never tell these things.

Anyhow. Really--really--clearly, you can do this and you SHOULD do this and YOU MUST DO THIS. That's all there is to it. So, you WILL do this.

And if my EXCESSIVE use of CAPITALS doesn't convince you, I don't know WHAT will.

I was going to send along a squadron of insanely perky Texan cheerleaders to urge you on, but now I see we must keep you away from human pyramids at all costs.

Miniskirts probably wouldn't help your progress much, either.

So you're stuck with me saying, you rock, keep at it.

Whirlochre said...

insanely perky Texan cheerleaders?

I thought these were being saved up for November 4th.

Natalie said...

Eh, 30k, can't you get that done in like a week? What? No? Oh yeah...I'm the crazy one.

Two weeks, then. That should be plenty of time. I fully expect to see you finished by then. Okay, not really. Three weeks, there, final offer before I bring my cyborg army down on you.

Whirlochre said...

A cyborg army? Looks like I'm going to need those insanely perky Texan cheerleaders after all.

Kiersten said...

One and the same, Whirl.

Natalie said...

Ha, exactly, Kiersten. EXACTLY.

Whirlochre said...

My turn to be mystified now. Never mind the memes — here come the Momes...

JaneyV said...

I've seen Texas cheer-leaders! They scary! Blonde, über-tanned, perky and very bendy. They have the kind of demented white smiles that give any sane person nightmares.

JaneyV said...

I've just scrolled down to see the pics! I'm so unobservant. Your lower half is a treat for womankind and may I say that you walk that wall in wellies with great dignity.

Whirlochre said...

I'd copyright that observation about the cheerleaders, JV — some of those girls will pay big bucks to have that on their T-shirts.

Kiersten said...

Whirl, one and the same was referring to the army of cyborgs and the bizarrely perky cheerleaders.

Surely you of all people would have realized that no sane person can be shaped like that and do those things. Clearly cyborgs.

Kiersten said...

A treat for womankind...

Janey, you ARE quite the flirt, aren't you? I can just see the saucy wink you're about to give as you pull down those sunglasses.

Whirlochre said...

And here's me thinking it was down to the baked beans.

JaneyV said...

What? Flirt? Me? - I was merely admiring Whirl's shapely knees.

Aw Whirl you're not farting in that picture are you?

Robin S. said...

Damn straight, Janey. Those legs ARE a treat. Lord...

Anyway, go, go Whirl-WIP-ometer!

Whirlochre said...

Aw Whirl you're not farting in that picture are you?

Do I look airborne?

McKoala said...

Get on with it you tosser!

Actually, I can see signs of progress. The last page of Writings of Whirl you posted here was mostly drawing. This one is mostly writing. You're getting the hang of it!

Whirlochre said...

It's a miracle.

Mary said...

That image of Mike Tyson is hilarious!

I am falling so far behind the time frame I set for my WIP, I have decided to throw time frames out through the smashed windows and accept that only the plough can help me now.

As for you -- get on with it, you... you slothful tosser! ;)

Mary said...

Correction: There is only one time frame and only one smashed window.

Frustration got the better of me when typing that comment.

Whirlochre said...

It's the mongoose metaphors you have to watch out for.

If I get started on those, I know I'm in trouble.

writtenwyrdd said...

Butt in chair, Whirl.

I'm a hopeless reviser, too. I spent the last two days working on the already written section of my novella project, which I am determined to get complete by November's end, at least get to an ending, if not finished.

In that effort, I added nearly 1,000 words to the already existing section and deleted around 300. Argh! But I did need to get the plot hammered better together in my head, and that's what this getting the section right does for me. Seems like I have to write that way to get the story right, but it bogs me down in the middle of novel length projects, so I am dubbing this a novella and we'll see! Actually, I'd like to end it at 20K, which is a long short story.

I'm looking forward to reading your book when done. And the beta read offer still stands.

Whirlochre said...

Right now I'm stuck on trying to make sure that my characters make it through the final stages of the plot having developed rather than morphed/evaporated.

What's helpful is we're all in this together — Janey and Kiersten and FairyH with NanoWriMo, Robin with her novel, Natalie with her (insert current total here) novels and you with your posse of short stories (plus everyone else...McK, Freddie...the list goes on)...

ChrisEldin said...

That's a lot of words, most of them probably really good. Be proud.
:-)

Whirlochre said...

Maybe — but I don't have balderdash or rupturable.

(6 counts of 'jelly', however...)

McKoala said...

Gee, thanks for the reminder that I need to write something. Come and kick my butt, would you.

As long as you've got 'inextricably intertwined' in there somewhere, you're all good.

writtenwyrdd said...

I just wrote a fight scene where my guy punches a right bastard in the nads. I should consider fitting in rupturable someplace...

Whirlochre said...

Go, Girls...

Kiersten said...

I've only just now realized that your background is, in fact, a face. Is it your face, perhaps?

Also, I fall into the category of also being glad that you are not a goat. I wouldn't appreciate your writing nearly so much then.

Whirlochre said...

Aren't goats just the weirdest thing? Such a bizarre combination of the Not Quite Cute and the Not Quite Tasty. On my hols, in France, I visited the excellent Palmyre Zoo, the low point of which was a huge petting enclosure filled with hundreds of goats — and all too many badly behaved toddlers who, had I not been (a) on my holidays, and (b) visible, I would have beaten with sticks. I'm no fan of goats, but what those kids were up to wasn't so much 'petting' as witchcraft...

Kiersten said...

I don't ever let my kids go into petting zoos. It's called RINGWORM, people. Also, I can now add "Fear of grouchy British man beating my children with sticks" to things I am worried can happen in animal enclosures.

And seriously--what's up with goats' eyes? Have you ever looked at their pupils?

FREAKY.

Kiersten said...

Oh, also, the word you are looking for is fustigate. A very, very useful word, and one of my favorites.

See how much better this sounds: "and all too many badly behaved toddlers who, had I not been (a) on my holidays, and (b) visible, I would have fustigated."

Whirlochre said...

You're right, Kiersten. Goats have too much wrong with them to be permitted continued ringworm rights in the animal enclosures of the world.

Whirlochre said...

What a great word! I'm going to start overusing it immediately.

Kiersten said...

Well, overuse generally results in immediate and brutal fustigation.

Whirlochre said...

Only if you're a Catholic.

Kiersten said...

Now you're confusing fustigation with flagellation.

Whirlochre said...

And I haven't switched the pump on.

Kiersten said...

Pump?

Pump?

Now I'm confused. Probably a good thing--it's always a little weird when our conversations are too coherent.

Whirlochre said...

This is true.

Kiersten said...

Good heavens, I think the beasts have gone to sleep. Now the age old question: sleep, or write?

Or find a big stick and run outside for some good old fashioned fustigating?

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm sorry, but whether the meaning is correct or not, the sound of fustigate makes me want to scrub my brain with bleach and call the person fustigating a pedophile. It just has that *sound*.

Kiersten said...

Sorry, WW. Perhaps that's why I like it--it sounds bad, but it's not. Thus, I can use it.

Whirlochre said...

Certainly has a nicer feel to it than 'slug'.

writtenwyrdd said...

You think slug as shell-less mollusc; I think fisticuffs!

Whirlochre said...

Interestingly, the very first boxing gloves were made of slugskin slipped over the fingers. They lessened the impact much like their modern counterparts, but the switch was soon made to leather when boxers complained that the squishing sound put them off their stride.

(The knuckleduster, of course, originated thanks to a different sort of gastropod).

Mom In Scrubs said...

Wow, looks like I missed the party...oh, well, better late than never!!

Will be home tomorrow night, and hoping for a heapin' helpin' of crap to be there waiting!!

Now get on with it, you tosser.