Monday, July 11, 2022

Ma Tutt's Secret Spice - Day 5

Pretty consistent word count every session today.

I’ve mentioned before that my target daily word count is 3,000 words. Six sessions of 45 minutes hitting 500 words per session. Broken up by 15 minutes of stretching and a bit of walking and exercise. Of course, lunch fits in there, too, and a few household errands like laundry, dishes, cleaning up the cat area…multiple times a day! (Thanks, Charlie!)

Today was almost playbook perfect. My session totals were 500, 500, 500, 550, 500, 450 – for a 3K day. Now I admit I round up my numbers. Actually I round down. I’m almost always 20 or more words over my session goal but figure when I go back and reread and edit I’ll cut or add a few words. I’m not at all concerned about an exact word count. If I can hit around 3K, that’s what counts.

I’m very pleased that today is the third writing day in a row where I hit my goal. And it struck me that pushing a story forward by 3,000 words each day is a lot different than adding a few hundred words every now and then whenever the spirit moves me. It almost borders on work! (grin)

If I want to be a full-time professional writer and produce a novel or novella every month for the next 18 months (my goal for my writing career between now and the end of 2023), I can’t just wait around for inspiration to hit. I’ve got to make things happen.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay. Used by permission.

As has so often been said, creativity is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.

Now, I do believe in inspiration. Every night I let my creative brain work on the next section of the story. I just don’t give it days or weeks between sessions like I used to. Eight hours sleep is plenty of time! Then I push forward 3,000 more words the next day, tackling the next section in the story, generally with a fresh insight from overnight as to where the story is going.

Hard work? Not really. I joke about it taxing my brain, but of course it isn’t. This is a dream hobby turning into reality. Of course, I know I’m not doing anything critical for the day to day infrastructure of our country – I’m not saving lives or restoring power or helping people solve their problems. I’m providing entertainment, plain and simple.

In one sense, I do think what I do helps the ‘infrastructure’ of our society (providing an experience that people want, and so it’s worthwhile and if I do it well, I’ll be compensated for it), but my writing isn’t necessary in any critical or immediate way.

I get to sit in a chair and make stuff up for crying out loud. But heh, it’s a fun way to make a living.

And today, I pushed the story of Secret Spice forward toward another crisis. I finished Part 4, “The Worst of Times.” I won’t spoil it but let’s just say that Ma Tutt is really up against it this time. Her nemesis is Donovan Huckly (I like the ‘huckster’ image his last name evokes) and he’s always sticking his nose in people’s business around Sugar Pine Station. He was a favorite quirky character of mine from Book 1. Well, he’s back and causing Ma no end of trouble.

Maybe that’s why I can push forward the story each day. Stories follow a typical pattern based on that old plot diagram we all learned in Middle School Language Arts. Going up the ‘rising action’ side of the ‘plot mountain’, there’s conflict and temporary resolution, some crisis and partial answer, another problem and another solution…all the way to the final conflict and climax.

I usually write myself into a problem, let my creative brain work on the solution overnight, then write that temporary resolution section which leads to another exciting bit of tension. How many of those ‘ups and downs’ are needed in a novel, I’m not sure. That’s where I have to read more about the craft of storytelling.

But for now, I’m pleased with my progress.

Today's Writing Tip...

Follow up each temporary resolution in your story with another crisis that raises the stakes.

Writing: Ma Tutt’s Secret Spice by Lyn Perry 
Introduction - Tackling a New Project
Day 1 - 450 words, story at 18,500 words
Day 2 - 500 words, story at 19,000 words
Day 3 - 3000 words, story at 22,000 words
* Day 4 - 3100 words, story at 25,100 words
* Day 5 - 3000 words, story at 28,100 words


Want to read Ma Tutt's Secret Spice as I write it? I'm posting weekly chapters at my Patreon Page. By becoming a patron of indie fiction, you can read the novel as it unfolds before it hits the virtual bookstores. When it's completed, you'll get the finished e-book, fully edited!

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Hey, I'm Lyndon Perry, a speculative fiction writer living in Puerto Rico. I'm a former pastor and current husband, father, coffee drinker, and cat-wrangler. You can find me almost anywhere online, so check out my various Linktree Locations and say hello!

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