Cushions and Padding

You know that 3000 word cushion I built up? I’m glad I have it, even if I may not ever need it.

I usually do my 1K after midnight, before I go to bed.  But Friday night I was really tired so I went to bed before midnight (nearly unheard of!) planning to write before work on Saturday.

Saturday morning, however, I woke up feeling crappier than the words I’d been churning out, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get anything written.  I told myself that it was all right if I didn’t – after all, that’s why I worked to get ahead on word count – so I’d have a cushion in case of a bad day.

(I do the same thing during NaNoWriMo – you never know when life is going to happen.)

(Actually, I do the same thing at work – try to get as much done as I can as early as I can because one little thing can throw my shift out of whack and knock me back an hour or more.  Nursing and writing apparently have more in common than I thought.)

But anyhow, back to Saturday.

Despite feeling like I’d crawled out of the back of a dumpster after an all night bender, I started writing, and managed to get a little over a thousand words added to the novel.  And some of them weren’t even garbage!

So, I didn’t need it, but it was nice to know that my nice comfy cushion was there.

Cushions are nice.

Padding I’m not so sure about.

Right now this novel is coming in way short.  I’m thinking it might hit 25K if I’m lucky.

So now the challenge is to figure out why, and how to fix it.

Part of why is that for some reason I seem to be racing through this, like I’m eager to get to the end.  I’m not sure why that is, except that I have the end scene in mind.  (Maybe I should write it so I can slow down and get to it.)

And part of it is that my outline is sort of disjointed and all over the place instead of nice and organized and orderly.

So, how do I fix it?

Well, there’s always word padding.  But adding words for the sake of adding words never turns out well.

However, I am (as always) severely short on description, so going back and setting some scenes here and there will probably add a thousand or two.  (I think I need to do some writing exercises where all I do is describe settings – that really is one of my biggest downfalls and the thing that I tend to not do.)

And there are places where I’ve left myself notes to go back and insert scenes that will make the current one make sense.  That is directly attributable to the poor outline – I simply forgot to put some things in there.  I’m hoping that they’ll add another 5k or so.

That still is going to make this way too short to be called a novel.


I’m actually kind of eager to start on the edit of this, just to see how it turns out.






Filed under writing

3 responses to “Cushions and Padding

  1. steviemiller

    If you’re going for daily wordcount, I think you should let yourself write literally anything that occurs to you. If you’re writing your outline in the middle of your first draft, so what? That’s what editing is for. Realistically, people have “days off” for reasons. Sickness happens, emergencies happen, life happens. Whether you’re building “padding” or “cushion” or “cushions made out of padding” for those days, you’re still going to need them eventually, no matter how committed you are to your writing.

    • “Cushion” refers to being ahead on my 1K-A-Day challenge. It’s a nice soft thing to land on when I fall. LOL. “Padding” is me whining that that my novel doesn’t have nearly enough words to be a novel.

      I need an outline, though — I do better with a detailed outline.

      But you’re right — all deficits (including lack of words) can be fixed in editing.

  2. shegyes

    Description seems to be where my writing seems to be lacking these days as well. Looking over a few short stories, I’ve been like, “Huh… Why didn’t I describe the weather here when it’s about to change in a drastic and story-setting way?” and sometimes even, “Where the heck ARE my characters?!?” I tend to have a habit of saying, “[Name] and [Name] walked down the road.” and that’s it. Where are they going? Where are they coming from? What is the scenery they are passing? A description of just some of these would add anywhere from 100-500 GOOD words, not padding. Besides, it could always be whittled down later. 😉

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