In recent weeks, I’ve become more and more aware of daily word/page counts. Specifically, those of my fellow writers versus my own.
At the Pennwriters Conference, Jonathan Maberry was pressing to meet a Monday morning deadline. He kept updating us on his progress. The man’s productivity is staggering. I’m in awe.
Ramona has a group over on Facebook called How Many Pages Have You Written Today? We boast our accomplishments, cheer each other on. And we can see who’s pumping out large quantities of prose and who’s struggling with each and every word.
Which has started me wondering. Why do some of us whip out 2,500 (or more!) words a day and other celebrate when we manage 500 or 1,000?
Being a more regular member of the latter group, I can count off myriad excuses. Hubby needing fed. Both of us needing clean clothes. Killer dust bunnies taking over the house. (Okay, if you’ve been to my house, you can stop laughing. I do on rare occasions clean.) Mom’s doctors’ appointments. Yoga class. Et cetera, et cetera.
But there are hundreds of productive writers out there, who have family obligations and FULL TIME jobs, who still outpace me. Even when I have an entire day (or two) to write, I rarely seem to put up huge numbers. I have. But not usually.
So I’ve come up with a new excuse…er…reason for it, and I wanted to test it out on you kind folks.
Here it is: I write mysteries.
And as such, my fiction has to be truer than reality. Who was it who said, “The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense”?
Also, can the question mark come after the quotation marks in the previous sentence, or must it be inside them? Stuff like that stops me cold and sends me running for my books on style and grammar.
Just like the situations I create in my fiction send me running to my resources in search of authenticity. Would a police officer really react the way I’m imagining? Can a paramedic legally respond that way at a crime scene?
I can’t just imagine it and write it. I have to make sure every scene is correct.
Plus, since I’m writing mysteries, I’m creating puzzles. With clues that must be fairly and discretely tucked into the story. I spend a lot of my “writing time” thinking about the plot. Who did what and why? In all fairness, I spend a lot of NON writing time doing this, too. Doing laundry is prime time for sorting out glitches.
So I want to pose a question to all the writers out there. Do you think writing mysteries is a slower process than…say science fiction or fantasy where the author determines what’s accurate for their own particular world? Or romance where the author’s heart leads the story. (Yes, I know there is research to be done in other genres, too.)
And if you are an especially prolific mystery (or other genre) writer, please brag about your numbers here. I’ll try to keep my weeping to a minimum.