A million words of crap

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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PeeDee

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Jadezuki said:
I don't interpret it as "Okay, just lemme get my one million words, and then it's bestseller time, baby!" I interpret it as, "Of course I'm not going to come out of the box writing excellent fiction, just because I can string a sentence together; this is a craft, and it needs to have time invested in it, before I produce something I can be proud of."

There. That sums it up pretty nicely.
 

Shadow_Ferret

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KTC said:
I don't believe this statement. It's like saying monkeys on typewriters will create something. No they won't.

How can you say that? Look at Dan Brown. :)

You don't believe that adage that a thousand monkeys banging away at typewriters for a thousand years will eventually type all the great masterpieces?

Drat.

*fires the monkeys he has in his basement*

OK. Seriously. I've never heard this saying. But I think I've written my million word quota. So everything here out should be brilliant? Right?
 

Azure Skye

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JimmyB27 said:
The precise number is actually 998,956 words of crap.

See, that's not so bad now, is it?

Phew. Thank you. That number makes me feel better. :tongue
 

inanna

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I didn't believe that adage when I first heard it, mostly because I didn't want to. But I'm doing final edits on this 550,000-word monstrosity of mine, and now it's glaringly obvious (considering I've rewritten each chapter at least once, I'm pretty sure I've hit the million mark at this point).

Revisiting the early chapters, I can see a marked difference in my writing. It's choppier, the voice isn't as strong, the narrative doesn't flow with the same confidence and originality when compared to the later chapters. I put just as much work into writing and revising these chapters as I did all the others, and at the time I thought they were at least pretty good, but it's obvious I needed a little sheer word-count experience to get more comfortable in my own "writing skin".

Now, my problem is that I don't know how to fix the damn things. I don't even know where to begin.
 

Bubastes

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I view it as a figure of speech. Everything requires lots of dedicated practice before something good emerges. Why should writing be any different? The "one million words of crap" statement simply means "Expect to practice. A lot." At least that's what it means to me.
 

MidnightMuse

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I've always taken it as a figure of speech. The more you write, the better you get at it, and the more you learn about it. Like the first time you jump out of an airplane, maybe your landing isn't all that pretty, but you land. Then the next time, you try it with a parachute, and you land a little prettier. Next thing you know, you've got that plane in the air and you're jumping with a snowboard on your feet, with a Pepsi in your hand, looking for a goose.

Also, a figure of speech, as it were.
 

greglondon

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I've probably somewhere in the 500k range right now. I think the current version of my novel is looking pretty good.

But yeah, you can't learn writing by reading about it or by having someone explain it to you. That stuff can help, but you have to *write* to really learn how to write.

Whether it's one million words, or not, I'm not quite certain. I was sort of hoping that I could get by with 500k, personally.
 

PenDragon

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I think it's a Ray Bradbury quote, something along the lines of "We need to write a million words, mostly crap, before we become writers."

Not sure what the exact quote is but that's close enough.
 

Jamesaritchie

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One million

I still remember seeing the million words of crap statement for the first time. I can't say it bothered me. Even if you do have to write a million words of crap, this is only 961.5 words per day, five days per week, for four years.

Nearly everyone realizes they'll have to go to college for four years to be a teacher, an accountant, etc., and four years of college involves a lot more time, effort, and money than writing 961.5 words per day, five days per week, for the same four years.

What, you need four years of college to be a teacher, but you don't need four years of relatively minor effort to be a good writer?
 

BlueTexas

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I think it's true. And I think it gets more true the more you write. I know when I look at the first thing I had published, I want to burn it. A million words from today, I'll probably feel that way about what I wrote yesterday.
 

Jamesaritchie

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Million

BlueTexas said:
I think it's true. And I think it gets more true the more you write. I know when I look at the first thing I had published, I want to burn it. A million words from today, I'll probably feel that way about what I wrote yesterday.

It is true, at least for the great majority of writers. And as you say, it should get more true as you write. Once you do write those million words, you'd better not think you've arrived. It's only after the first million words that most of us realize how far we still have to go.
 
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