Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 1

So, it's a brand new day.

As I blogged earlier, I'm starting a new challenge to myself. I'm going to write at least 500 words a day, every day of the year. That's 365 days, and 185,500 words. Or about two good-sized novels. Or one epic.

The good news is, I'm already about 100,000 words into my WIP. So, by the end of next August, I should have two novels done, including the WIP. Sounds promising, isn't it?

The day started normally. A regular work day, a rather nice, hot day. By the time I was ready to write, I got to my favorite Starbucks trying to find a table with a power outlet. Alas, the only one left was next to this older gentleman who was there every day, who apparently had a stroke some time in his life, and who apparently liked to talk to strangers, rather loudly. I tried my best to be cordial, but I needed to work. Fortunately, he got the drift and left me alone.

A grande mocha frap by my side, I began the Tuesday writing routine with my movie review. I was going to review Julie and Julia, the Nora Ephron film about Julia Child, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. It was a pretty good film, and I enjoyed it. However, what came out of that viewing experience and review was something else. I got inspired. Thus came about the "500 Words Every Day" challenge.

After I was done with the review (which was about 650 words, by the way) and sent it off to my editor, I opened my WIP file. I was actually a little embarrassed to realize the "Last Modified" timestamp of the file was August 5, 2009. Has it already been 6 days since I last worked on it? Whew! This challenge couldn't come sooner. I was ready to get to work.

I have to say, once I had a purpose (and sort of a deadline), the motivation seemed to appear out of nowhere. Granted, the words didn't necessarily come effortlessly; I still struggled. But it helped that I'd thought about this particular scene for a few weeks. In this scene, the heroine is having a moment to herself, after learning a big secret from a man she considers a friend, who is a Japanese soldier (the story happens during the Pacific War). It's a quiet scene but filled with emotions: loneliness, yearning, wistful thinking, and sensuality. I was pleased by how the scene worked out, and was able to end it with the first line of the next scene...

In a way, that made me really uneasy, because I know what has to come next: an attack. It's not going to be fun to write since I get emotionally attached to my characters, and the next scene is going to be gut-wrenching. Still, I was surprised and pleased by some of the things that came to my mind... little details that would make the scene so much better: props, for example. Things that were there all along but now I have better use for them. It's amazing how something ordinary could turn extraordinary when you look at it from another perspective.

But anyway, I was able to meet my daily quota of 500 words. So it was definitely a good start.



364 days, 185000 words to go

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