Monday, January 21, 2013

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and Writing 2,000 words a day

Time elapsed since restarting the novel: almost 13 months
Current word count: around 38,000 words

When 2013 came along, I finally got around to typing all the stuff I wrote in 2012. It wasn't a lot, but it turned out to be more than I thought. I wrote two graphic novel scripts, a couple of (long) short stories, and – to my surprise and delight – half a book. I'm getting somewhere!

Yes, I posted that word count up above with pride. I now know I'll finish the book this year, or at least the first chunk of 60,000 words, the first story arc, the Fellowship of the Ring in my Lord of the Rings, hahaha. It's just a matter of continuing to plug away at it.

(It must be said that reaching your target word count or finishing the book is like finishing the top floor of a building: there's still a lot of work to be done. You have to work on the interiors, the elevator, the electricals, the plumbing, you have to get that damn crane down, and you have the sell units. The same is true for a book.)

My word count smugness got shattered when I came across a link from Amazon: The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Hit the link for more, or don't; it basically says that they're accepting submissions. The winner will be given a publishing deal and a $50,000 advance on royalties, while four more winners will be given a $15,000 advance.

I thought to myself, "Hey! Assuming I win, this sure beats the publishing options here. And I'm only 20,000 words away. (Amazon considers a novel to be any work that is 50,000 words or more.)

Then I saw the deadline for submissions: January 27. That meant that I have to finish 20,000 words in 10 days. In a panic, I began my gruelling writing schedule (2,000 words a day is tough for any writer.) After day 3, I've written 6,000 words, which means I'm on schedule.

It's a strange thing. It's like climbing a mountain everyday. Working at such a pace, writing has become more athletic, like a sport. You don't have time to think about it, plan, plot or evaluate: you just do it. You have to trust in your training and believe that you know what you're doing when the truth is, you have no bloody clue. It's like picking up a guitar and doing jazz improv every night. While running a marathon. On zero sleep.

I've gotten off to a good start, but I don't think I'll make it. Today, for example, I have some deadlines, so I have to get those jobs out of the way first. And even if I do reach 50,000 words, I will have no time to edit. 

I'll still try to reach that word count though. And that means I'll have a book by next week. Wait, wow, that was fast.


  1. Replies
    1. No, hahaha! My resolve crumbled when I was 7 days in. My brain couldn't take it anymore! I think I slept for a day after that.

      So I still have 5,000 words to go, or 15,000 words more for a conventional 60,000 word novel. Either way, I'm ahead of schedule. Petiks muna.