Week 32

Head down this week. No distractions. Except the washing, checking my phone for emails, seeing who’s making that noise outside, boiling the kettle, getting one last biscuit. Frequently reconsidered buying a seatbelt that keeps me strapped to my chair.

I let go of one scene that was dwindling, and started on the next, which, after being inspired by Moon Tiger last week, I wrote in fits and starts, moving from one viewpoint to another, from one point in time to another. The result was more associative, but also, I hope, a little leaner.

It was certainly easier to write, and gave me a way of dropping sequences as soon as they were finished, not trying to string them together in one whole narrative. It also meant some interesting echoes occurred between scenes, especially between scenes that crossed time now that they nestled up against each other, rather than alternating with leaden stylistic pace every chapter.

This way of writing fastens them together, so what happened 15 years ago has some significance to what's happening right now, and led me to hope both stories reach their climax, er, simultaneously, so to speak. That thought reminded me of The Hours and its treatment of different narrative strands across time and space, and my earlier enthusiasm faded somewhat.

God I hate The Hours.

I was also aware of mixing tenses and getting sequences muddled, but I preferred to carry on writing and get the ideas down as they came.

This approach also let me include more of the lesser characters, though still not enough. I am preoccupied first and foremost with the core story, which lies with the two main characters, but am aware this means I'm neglecting the other characters, and their crucial role in the development of the my protagonist.

This is something I’m hoping I can fix in the second draft. Right now it’s more important I get that story between the two main characters right (well, one character and... no, you’ll have to read it. Ask me in 2013 for a copy of the manuscript. No, 2014.).

Otherwise I’ve been fiddling with Scrivener, the Windows beta I’ve only got access to until the 30th September. I’m not sure if that’s just the duration of my test period, or if that’s when the beta is due to end for everyone, but it gives me just under a month to try out the software and decide whether it’s forking out for. It also adds to my list of reasons for buying a Macbook Air, the cons for which are wireless connectivity (my Dell stopped being able to connect to my router inexplicably a few months ago, and it has been a godsend), cost, and outrageous delinquency. (The pros are BECAUSE I WANT ONE.)

So far I’ve read the tutorial only, but it seems to be exactly what I’m after, and particularly useful when you’re battling with a first draft, and the attendant notes and disordered thinking.

It seems to suit my way of writing too, providing a way to switch from full-screen to overview seamlessly. I never feel very settled with one for long.

Next week I’ll start putting the scraps of writing in multiple Word docs into a Scrivener project file. I hope that it proves useful, and isn’t just another creative way of wasting time.

Word count this week: 4,201 Total word count: 62,142 First draft: 44,348