A Thousand Words a Day
So, this past March I went to the annual Dreamspinner Press’s Author Workshop. I’ve been to every one of them—from New York City to the best couple in Orlando and every location in-between—and I am so glad. Not only do I learn a lot, but it is a time to socialize with fellow writers, as well as artists and editors in the field of MM Romance. It is amazing because it is at that time, even more than GRL, when I am with my tribe. Hey! This year I finally met my dear friend online friend and co-author of Mele Kalikimaka, Noah Willoughby!
You know when an author is writing there comes time in your story where, in order to make it more real, you have to do such things as reveal what kind of clothes your character wears, what kind of car he drives, where he works, what he does, and more. Even when these things are not vital to the story itself. These “things” tell you something about the character. Helps make them more real. Turns them from characters on paper (or a screen) into real breathing people.
Now I know nothing about cars. Nothing. I drove one car around for over two years and didn’t even know what it was. Someone would say, “Model and make?” (maybe at a hotel when I was checking in or a place where I brought it to get something fixed) and I would look at them and blink and say, “Ah, silver?”
I’ll be writing a story and there I am trying to figure out what my character drives and I will ask people (not writers) I know for advice and they will say, “Have you tried looking at cars on Google?” And I get very frustrated because they are not understanding at all just how much I don’t know cars. Looking at pictures of cars means nothing to me. I can’t look at a Chevrolet Fury or a Ford Mustang or a Plymouth Roadster and point and say, “Yeah! Wyatt would drive something like that,” because I might as well be looking petroglyphs. I don’t know what kind of car Asher or Wyatt or Scott or Sloan would drive because if cars mean nothing to me, how do I know what these people would be looking for in a car?
If I ask someone in the “real world” to help me, they look at me and shake their heads and say, “You do know your character isn’t a real person, right?” And I say, “Yes, yes yes! I know!” (while inside knowing they are very real in many ways). And then they say, “So what difference does it make?” And I ask them if they would drive a VW Beetle and they say, “Hell no! That’s too ugly or old or small or foreign or etc etc,” and then I can say, “See? For some reason the type of car someone drives says something about them.”
Now the point of this is that when I am at a writer’s event, no one looks at me weird when I ask such a question, certainly none of them say, “You do know your character isn’t a real person, right?” They help me figure it out the answer my question without blinking, just like I might help them figure out what color their character might wear or sexual position they might prefer or religious path they might follow.”
All this is wonderful when it comes to being with my tribe. Hey, it’s also about only place I would dress up as a flapper at a Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries cocktail party!
But here is what hit me this past year. And it hit me huge!
Andrew Gray did a class on time management and how to make sure that you get your writing in with everything else you have to do in your life like family responsibilities, sleeping, etc. Now this was the second time I had heard him speak on the subject. The first time I wasn’t ready to hear what Mr. Writes-sixteen-novels-a-year had to say. It sounded like crap to me the first time he said that as a writer you have to figure out how to find time and set a daily word count goal and make sure you make that daily goal a priority.
For some reason this time I was ready. This time I was ready to find out how he wrote sixteen novels a year! This time he showed me how to prioritize my time and how I could write what amounts to six books a year and how many words a day and a year I would have to write to do so (when you define a novel as between 50K and 60K in length).
What it wound up meaning in our scenario was one thousand words a day, six days a week. On average and that gives me 68 days off a year and I can distribute those days off where and how I wish. And I thought about how long it takes me to write one thousand words and quite suddenly I realized that really was something I could do!
Because you know, if I write two thousand words today I get more than 68 days off a year and since I work 12-hour shifts and sometimes come home so beat up I can hardly climb the five steps to my porch, let alone even turn on my computer to check email!
And since I have gotten back, I’ve done it!
In fact I have averaged about 1900 words a day! I wrote a book for DSP’s new Dreamspun Undercover line (stories with a little danger—spies, policemen, secret agents, etc) and I am just short of 50K on another book! That is since March 7th!
OMGosh! I can’t believe it! I am so excited! I might have finally found my grove! I might finally be able to really truly do this! That means that reader are not going to have to wait six to nine months to read my new book! Wow! Can you imagine? Six books a year??
*does the Snoopy Dance*
And if you are a writer, I recommend you ask Andrew if he is willing to share his advice. I am not willing to tell his awesome secrets myself!
Oh, and by the way? The new book coming out in just a few weeks? Why it’s only called “Blue” and is finally the story of your favorite little adorable loving airhead. I think you’re going to like it!
BG “Ben” Thomas
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous dogs Sarah Jane and Oliver. He is blessed to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay adult magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. He submitted a novella and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the romantic tales have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of story-telling!”
In 2015 he made and entry every day in his blog “365 Days of Silver,” where he found something every day to be grateful for. You can find it right here: https://365daysofsilver.wordpress.com/
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message. “It is never too late,” he testifies. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”