Week 49

"I don't really have a time limit but I aim to write 1,000 words a day," she says. "If you write 1,000 words a day for long enough you have a novel. It takes probably about six months of writing to complete a book. I will write furiously, three or four chapters, and then I'll stop and go back and assess what I've written and then I'll carry on. What I don't do is power on until the end and have a first draft. I don't like that because the minute I know there is a problem I have to fix it. I can't just carry on. I really edit as I go along to the extent that I don't want to write the last chapter until I feel really happy with everything I've already done. Often I'll give it a week and come back to it and realise I want to rework a section. I never type the end until I am ready to send it off."

- Sophie Kinsella, aka Madelaine Wickham, in Writing magazine, February 2012, p.14

Interesting approach from a writer who's incredibly prolific. It made me pause when I read it. Am I doing the right thing, powering to the end, trying not to think of all the things that need changing, improving, tweaking, rewriting, binning, of the stuff I've written so far? Should I be fixing what I know doesn't work?

I must say the idea of writing the final line is a book, with everything right behind it, is very appealing. You know that feeling when you think you've got lots to do on a project, and suddenly, miraculously (and not a little disconcertingly), you realise, you've finished?

That would be nice.

At the moment I have facing me a long hard slog til the end of the first draft, just to get the bare bones of the story down, and then THE REWRITE. Which, given how much needs to come out already, and how much needs to be added in, will be more 'write' than 'rewrite'.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how to edit what I've written so far without writing the ending first. The story might yet go off in a direction I'm not expecting, and some of all that unnecessary and flowery back story might be necessary after all.

I think after all I am going to ignore Sophie Kinsella. I'm also ignoring the small internal voice shouting to me to edit as I go - just go back and change that comma, and while you're at it how about that embarrassing bit about the schoolbus? - but I'm going to ignore that too. It's *not* intuition and it *doesn't* know what's good for me. Right now it's telling me to eat another biscuit. Another one. After those eight. So what does it know.

She also goes on to say the best advice is "write the book that you would like to read yourself." I like that. And:

"Don't tell anyone about the great novel you are writing, either. Keep it to yourself. The pressure of people wanting to know about it would not be helpful."


The comment "if you write 1,000 words a day for long enough you have a novel" made me get a bit punchy though. I currently "have a novel", if by "a novel", you mean a document with 85,000 words on it (which are not all "fish"). Trouble is, it doesn't yet have much of a middle and an ending yet, and I'm pretty sure it's too flabby at the start meaning that 85,000 words will probably only be 50,000 when I've had a go with my red pen (keyboard).

"Just write 1,000 words a day and you'll have a novel". Tra la la! It's so easy!


I should be writing.

Word count this week: 0 Total word count: 93,676 First draft: 83,660