The Writing Journal #2

On last week’s blog, I wrote about deadlines and the focus they can bring to your writing through something I like to call “good pressure” (even if it doesn’t always feel “good” at the time!). To that end, I started The Writing Journal to see if I could recreate that “good pressure” with self-imposed deadlines published here on the site for all to see and hold me accountable too. So, how did week one go?…

 

Target Number 1: Add 2,000 words to my novel manuscript.

Status: ACHIEVED 😊

Just about! It took me right up until yesterday to complete, but sticking with it inspired an extra push that not only saw me add an additional 500 words beyond my target but also finish the chapter I had been working on at the same time. Bonuses all round.

 

Target Number 2: Add 2,000 words to my screenplay.

Status: ACHIEVED 😊

This was completed in much better time and again I exceeded the target I set myself, this time by about 1,000 words. This was largely thanks to a rich vein of comedy that I managed to tap into, completely by chance, whilst introducing a particular set of characters that were only supposed to be minor roles in the step outline! Whether all of this content stays in future drafts is questionable, but certainly at this stage of a first draft it is all relevant and useful for shaping the true tone and arc of the story.

 

So far, so good then. I met both targets relatively comfortably, and in so doing have added some good content to both projects to help towards my overall target of having first drafts of both finished by the end of the year. It also highlighted an interesting point about my definition of “adding”, because the truth is I wrote far more words this week for both projects that ultimately didn’t wind up in either manuscript. Can they be added to my weekly word count, or do I strictly stick to only those words that move my story onwards? Should I be more specific in my targets to account for this? This is something I shall ponder further over the next couple of weeks and return to in a future blog, as it seems like something worth addressing in more detail.

This week, I’m going to challenge myself a bit more and up the word count in each project. I’m also going to add a third, research-based target to my list. By now, you would have to be living under a rock (in the UK at least) to not know about the phenomenal popular and critical success of the BBC One ratings-juggernaut “The Bodyguard”. Seemingly every outlet across the BBC (including today’s one o’clock news of all places!!) has been pushing the success of this show and doing their damned best to spoil the ending for me as one of the (very few) people who hasn’t followed this series week in, week out. It was a show that piqued my interest when it was being advertised, and I very much enjoyed the tension and pacing of the first episode when I caught up with it, but I didn’t think it would garner such wide, mainstream coverage. When shows like this come along, I think it’s important for all writers, no matter what genre/medium they predominantly work in, to watch and analyse what makes it such a success and how that can help them in their own work. For one reason or another, I have not been able to keep up with it on a regular basis and have fallen somewhat behind, but this week I intend to rectify that before the internet/BBC News/corner-shop owner ruins the plot twists for me (he says before diving onto social media to post this blog…).

This week’s targets:

  1. Catch up with The Bodyguard (before the ending is spoiled!).
  2. Add 3,000 words to my novel manuscript.
  3. Add 3,000 words to my screenplay.
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