Friday, August 14, 2009

Henry Waugh ain't so crazy after all

I haven't had much time to blog lately. Fortunately, John's posts have been timely and insightful as usual.

What's been keeping me away from the blog is my novel-in-progress, which I've mentioned in passing. I've been working on this thing for over six months now, but only since mid-June have I actually been writing the book. If that doesn't make any sense, I'm not surprised. It didn't make much sense to me either at first, but I'm glad I spent those first several months researching, taking notes and just plain ol' thinkin'.

By mid-June I felt I was ready to actually start with Chapter 1. And all my pre-research and notetaking has helped me fly through it so far. I've tried to keep myself on a fairly regimented schedule of writing at least 1,000 words a day, and on August 2 I started keeping a log to chart my progress. Looking back on that log, I only missed my goal twice, once when I had out-of-town family visiting and I didn't write at all.

Here's a peek at my book log:

Sunday, Aug. 2: 1,163 words.
Monday, Aug. 3: 1,980 words.
Tuesday, Aug. 4: 958 words.
Wednesday, Aug. 5: 2,122 words.
Thurdsay, Aug. 6: 1,060 words.
Friday, Aug. 7: 1,222 words.
Saturday, Aug. 8: No work done.
Sunday, Aug. 9: 1,334 words.
Monday, Aug. 10: 1,932 words.
Tuesday, Aug. 11: 1,384 words.
Wednesday, Aug. 12: 1,648 words.
Thursday, Aug. 13: 1,102 words.
Friday, Aug. 14: 1,130 words.

When I started keeping the log at the beginning of August, I had written 10,473 words in my novel. Today, two weeks later, my count is 27,508.

My goal for the book is between 40,000 and 50,000 words. That means I'm on the downhill slide, and I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But a strange thing has happened to my subconscous since mid-June when I pretty much made myself a full-time novelist. The characters I created have started to become real to me. I think about them all the time. The other night I had a dream about one of them (he was inexplicably talking on the phone with Pete Rose!). I've run across numerous situations in my writing when I say to myself, "No, that character wouldn't do that."

I'm beginning to understand Henry Waugh a little better. Waugh is the title character of "The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop." His life revolves around a fictional baseball game he's created. Eventually, the game takes over his mind.

A review will be forthcoming, I promise. But I'm gonna keep plugging away at this book. If I can keep to my goal of 1,000 words per day, I think I can have a first draft completed by my birthday, Sept. 15 (which happens to be a milestone for me - 30 - and a damn sore subject now because my wife keeps picking on me about it). But I've given myself a little bit of leeway for unexpected circumstances. My ultimate goal for having a first draft finished is Oct. 17, which is my wife's birthday (she won't be turning 30).

If the characters in my head don't take over, I'll try to post again as soon as I can.

--Matt Kelsey

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