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G B Ralph, Author

Slip and Slide progress update (with charts)

Duck and Dive was a funny little idea I had, only intended as a short story. Then, after growing into a novella of about 22,000 words, I decided to give it a proper edit and tidy up before independently publishing on the Amazon Kindle store (UK, US, AU, CA, etc). It was a trial, almost to prove I could do it.

And I did it – the end, right? The book’s up and people have not only bought it, but they’ve read it, rated and reviewed it, told their friends and shared it on their social media. I posted about Duck and Dive’s first month here.

So, that’s it?

I’d thought so. Then a few readers said they were looking forward to seeing what happened next. My first reaction was that there was no ‘next’ – the end of Duck and Dive was where we left the characters – that’s all folks. But now I had the thought in my head… Well, just as the characters had amused me so much that their tale grew from a mere short story into a novella, I was soon humming with ideas about where they might go next.

The Covid-19 lockdown meant that after a full day working from home, we would then spend every evening and weekend at home too. While unable to head out and do anything, I’d prepared and published Duck and Dive. And then – still in lockdown – I thought I might as well get stuck into the next part of the story.

So, on a bleak Saturday morning – two weeks after publishing Duck and Dive – I started the first draft of Slip and Slide. With a rough outline and ideas for a few key events along the way, I thought I’d see how the story developed from there.

I set up a chart to track my daily word count (blue line) against a target of 500 words/day (red line). I was tracking well at the beginning, though I did cheat by starting a few days early…

I kept up the progress well, tracking above my target. There were a bunch of zero days where I was either too drained from work, or it was glorious outside so I spent the evenings soaking up a bit of sun, reading a book and having a drink. We were still in lockdown though, so it was easier to make time to recover any lost ground on the weekends.

Then I hit my nominal word count target of about 22,000 words – based on Duck and Dive – and figured I was still only about two-thirds through the story I wanted to tell…

There was nothing for it but to keep on writing. I kicked up the target trend line by 3,000 words – as a wee motivational push – and re-jigged my total first draft word count target to 30,000 words (yellow line). This meant my revised target completion date for the first draft was pushed out a couple of weeks to the end of July 2020.

For this chart I added columns for each day’s individual word count too. I think this reinforces that it doesn’t take much to slowly build up the words, as long as I’m fairly consistent about it. It also makes the zero days more obvious!

Let’s hope this revised target is about right. And once I’ve done the first draft, I’ll give it some time to marinate before attacking it with an edit. We’ll see how much survives my red pen…

If you have any questions, thoughts or comments, do drop me a message on Facebook or Twitter, or use the contact form on my website.

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