Total word count: 7,005
My “super-outline” spreadsheet — the one with too many columns — might be the key to keeping me on track this year. I had to work out every single plot beat in advance, including what POV characters to use each chapter. By sticking with the outline, I’ve been able to keep the words flowing, with minimal changes so far.
(One inspiration I forgot to mention: JK Rowling used a similar setup for her outline for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.)
The real test comes next week. I’ll be at a work conference from Friday-Sunday, so I can only count on four solid evenings for writing. To make up for those lost days, I’ll have to write 3K/day Monday-Thursday. But the chapters I have outlined for next week are ready to go, so with luck I won’t get bogged down with plot issues.
Characters are close to how I envisaged them. The dialogue is tricky, as it’s one thing I didn’t work out in advance. I do know the backstories for each of my main characters, so I can ballpark the right word choices, tone, etc. from the start, and clean it up later.
Getting the pace right is tough. I guessed each chapter would be ~1.5K, but they’re coming in a little longer. At least I’ll have enough material through the end of the month, if not longer.
This rough draft feels cleaner than in years past, but that’s no indicator of actual quality. No matter what, it’ll be riddled with abrupt color changes, misspelled place names, and so on.
On to week 2!