Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oct Dare Day 9 - How Do You Measure Rewrite Progress?

I haven't been posting word counts on this part of the Dare, because I'm at a point where it's impossible to count words. I'm knitting together new bits with old bits and inserting a sentence here and a paragraph there (while removing other small bits). Rewriting whole sections from scratch.

But word counts are really important in a Novel Dare, because they hold you accountable. You can't fudge them easily. They also are an excellent nudge to get a little more progress out of you. If your goal is 1000 words, and you're at 946 words, you have incentive to not rest there just because the scene or chapter is done. "Oh well," you say. "I guess I can put in the first sentence of the next chapter."

And when you do that, you are likely to go on for more than 54 words. You may do a whole new page.

(And when you're being driven by word counts, a really cool blog tool to use is the NaNoWriMo Word Meter - a bit of code you can paste into your blog that shows a progress bar.)

But when you're doing something other than raw rough draft writing... how the heck to you measure your progress? So far I haven't come up with a solution.

I've tried "time spent" but I forget to keep track of my start time. I've tried going by number of chapters or even pages revised, but some chapters need no work and others are a bear.

So far all I can do is set a deadline, and to report progress here to keep me as honest as possible. The daily progress reports force me to keep at a steady pace and never give in to the temptation to take a day off, or two, or three.... The deadline helps me by looming. I see it and I go "Yikes! I only have that many days? Okay, I don't need sleep!"


Anonymous said...

There is the words/antiwords* count, but it hits the same issue as pages done: some chapters are bears, and some don't change much at all.

*An antiword, when written, instantly annihiliates the nearest word leaving no trace except a possibly improved manuscript. Writers have yet to produce them in isolation.

The Daring Novelist said...

I like the antiwords concept, but because they leave no trace, you have to track them as they happen.

In the meantime, I'm closer to catching up on sleep at last, but of course, just as I get ready to go to bed early and get an extra good night's sleep... a scene breaks loose.

At least I don't have to drive anywhere tomorrow. I'd be a menace.