I have filled my whiteboards with scribblings. I have practiced my cheap broccoli and coli flour soup recipes. I have sharpened my pen and replenished my inkwell. And I have told my banker not to think I am dead in the coming months. I am just on a long financial vacation:-)
To get inspired, I started reading Hunger Games. I thought it would be a good idea to learn a few tricks from the best of the breed, and Suzanne Collins is exactly that. More than 100 million copies sold is quite convincing.
In writing this blog post, I looked up the Hunger Games trilogy on Wikipedia and found that Suzanne Collins wrote one book in the series a year. I hope to write one book a month. I have surely given myself a challenge that will be a hard one to meet. This is OK – hence the word ‘challenge’.
The other day I did a test of how fast I could actually write something worth reading. I took a day off and wrote for six hours along the lines of what I will write in my novels. I repeated the exercise the following day resulting in 4.000 good words one day and only 2.000 good words the other. Averaging 3.000 words a day is OK, and it should be enough for me to meet my daily target of 3.000-3.500 words, even if I would have liked the average to be a little higher than 500 words an hour. Maybe I will become faster as I progress.
So, what did I learn from this exercise?
Well, the day I wrote 4.000 words I described a sea battle between two 17th century sailing ships and their crew. The words came easily, and I had great momentum from passage to passage. Cannon balls flew through the air, sailors fell into shark infested waters, and the final battle scene between the two captains was worthy of a Hollywood movie. At least in my opinion. I was actually quite optimistic after that.
Then came the second day. There I challenged myself to write the inner thoughts of a 15-year-old girl forced to marry a man she did not love. The experience was like ramming my head into a brick wall. Let me put it like this: I will need to practice a bit more in December or my heroes will be devoid of emotions.
Able to write about 500 words an hour – check.
Able to write exciting battle scenes – check
Able to write about love and fears from a young girl’s perspective – work in progress.
I am counting days.