Tag: questions

questions to the reader; writing prompts

Lurgy Town

No post today – I had a cold land on me late on Wednesday, and it is wreaking its little viral carnage upon my system.

Is it just me, or colds get worse as you get older?

In the mean time, let us continue that theme: what plague would you visit upon a world or a country or a town to challenge your MC? Is it curable? Is it even fatal?

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When Did You Know?

Here’s a question that was asked at the Brave on the Page launch event and one which I assume is relevant to many of my readers here:

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My answer actually comes in two parts.

I knew I wanted to be a writer a long time ago. I have loved reading ever since my parents sat on my head to make me read when I was seven, and I have always had a keen sense of invention. I would say that that translated into a conscious desire to write when I was fifteen or so. I remember mentioning it to my father’s parents at some point in my late teens – that’s the first time I recall telling anyone that was something I wanted to do.

The problem was always that I didn’t know how, and in fact I didn’t even really know how to find out how. The reaction I got from my grandparents was “That’s a lot of work, you know.”

I knew that I could become a writer when I started writing serialised stories for my co-workers at my first job. The thing is that at that point I had already been writing for some time, since I had been programming and writing roleplaying scenarios for years – I just didn’t connect those activities to writing per se¬†as I do now. At that time I felt like I had done so much reading that my brain had filled up with ideas and it was time to start pouring them onto the page.

It was during that time that I seriously started working on novels, too, although nothing I have from time has ever been completed.

I am still not sure I know how, though – my skills extend to generating enormous amounts of words and copy editing. Getting a sprawling manuscript into a state approximating finished is something I struggle with mightily.

So, how about you? When did you know?

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How Much Can You Type In A Month?

The National Novel Writing Month goal is a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. This number was chosen because it is long enough to be called a novel while also being an achievable amount without entirely sacrificing your life away from the keyboard/notepad/slate.

How much typing does that take?

Before I started NaNoWriMo in 2004 I timed myself to see how fast I could write – not copy typing, because that is not what writing is about: just making words. There was no story that I recall, just free association sentences. I managed 450 words in the fifteen minutes I allotted for the test, or 1,800 words in a hour. That gave me confidence that I could get the work done, at least.

These days I reckon I can manage 1,000 words an hour as a baseline with maybe 1,200 words if things are flowing really well. I don’t touch type but I have been using a keyboard so long that I type fluidly.

So, given 1,000 words an hour, how much could you write in a month? What’s the longest story you could commit to screen in thirty days?

  • 50,000 words is an average of 1,667 words each day, takes about 1:40 per day.
  • 100,000 words => 3,334 words per day, which takes 3:20 per day
  • 150,000 words => 5,000 words a day or 5:00 per day
  • And if you could spend ten hours a day every day for the full thirty days, you would have something like 300,000 words at the end of it. You would probably also have some pretty serious musculo-skeletal issues after sitting in the same spot for so long, but let’s gloss over that.

So I reckon that I could reasonably expect to write a 100k novel if I wrote three hours a day for the whole month, but that would absorb all of my free time and doesn’t allow for holidays (such as Thanksgiving, which is quite the thing in the States). Anything above 100k is getting into not working full time, and 300k is the upper limit of my writing energy, although I don’t think my body could actually take it.

In that light, the 80,000 words I wrote last year is probably the upper end of what I can really manage in a month.

Of course if all of this is too easy then you could always try writing a novel in three days.

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Possessed Pet

Writing prompt #1

Your pet is possessed by the personality of a public figure. It now talks to you with the voice of this public figure, but also has access to the memories of your pet: so the cat is Mitt Romney and knows you ate the toast off the floor; Brigitte Bardot the gerbil saw you picking your nose; and so on.

Bonus points if the public figure now has the personality of your pet.

Link to your story in the comments. Please don’t post the story here – any such postings go in the bit bucket*.

[*] which is to say they will be deleted.

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