May 11, 2012

Running the Numbers

This week, in honor of completing the revision of my second storyline (yay again!), I've been taking stock of the manuscript and my process. I already told you how I did the math and discovered the second story is longer than I expected. I also created a spreadsheet to calculate how much time I've spent revising. (Do I know how to celebrate or what?)

The numbers revealed several interesting facts -- some discouraging, some reassuring, and some surprising:

→ Counting the number of weeks elapsed, it took exactly the same amount of time to revise the first and second storylines. I had no idea this was the case.

→ After excluding the weeks I didn't work at all due to vacation or other factors, I spent six more weeks with the second storyline. This was upsetting until I realized how much longer the text is.

→ Since I spend a widely varying amount of time writing each week, the number of hours worked gives a more accurate picture of how long each revision took. The hour total for the second storyline is larger than for the first, and that makes sense given the story is longer. I had hoped my calculations would confirm my predictions and show that relative to the length, the second storyline went faster than the first. Alas, looking at words per hour, it would appear that my progress through the second storyline was about ten percent slower. You may all share a hearty laugh.

→ Back in December, I looked over my record of hours worked up to that point, and I was disheartened to see how little overall time I'd spent writing compared to the number of weeks elapsed. I had hoped my latest accounting would show that as a result of that wake-up call, I'd worked many more hours per week throughout the second storyline. The average number of hours is indeed higher, but not as much as I anticipated, and that's even excluding the weeks I took off. I'm still working fewer hours most weeks than seems reasonable to me. I guess it's time for a louder wake-up call.

After considering all these numbers, I have a new plan to make sure I'm happier with my stats for the final storyline. But we all know what happens to plans.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ At The Millions, Bill Morris catalogs The Appeals and Perils of the One-Word Book Title: "At their best, one-word titles distill content to its purest essence, which is what all titles strive to do, and then they stick in the mind. Sometimes, of course, they fall flat, and much of the time they're just lukewarm and vague or, worse, falsely grand."

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