Week 96

As expected, trailing last week's notes with the phrase "I give up" brought three times the amount of normal traffic to this blog, so I'm going to take that as a barometer of public opinion and be brief. Week 96 already, need to finish this draft by 100, will she make it? Oh-whoa. < SUSPENSE

So. Here we go.


This week I finally got halfway through the story (not the halfway mark of my wordcount, mind - a fair bit of that has been shunted to later in the book) and decided to write the rest in a different mode. There are at least two stories going on in my book: one in the past, one in the present. The one in the present has caused me the most trouble by far: first, making it powerful enough when the initial interest in this book for me resides in the past story (and, indeed, the first draft was mostly just that), second, giving it a plot of its own, and now, third, how it is being told.

So far I have told the present story in just that, the present. I do this, I do that. The result has been surprisingly impressionistic; I love writers such as Woolf and Faulker and Morrison, but I did not expect my writing would come out trying to emulate them and the "stream of consciousness" style. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it, either.

This week I wrote an intro I was really pleased with. Just a few paragraphs, but it not only zipped up my first chapter, it changed how I thought about my main character too. I've been struggling with making her likeable, and this may be the way. It gives her way more control over the narrative than a mere imprint of her thoughts does. It's a lot more fun too.

So for the second half I'm going to try and write like that: in the past tense (whoa) and more deliberately manipulative. Tell a bit more, and show a bit less, and create the sort of gaps in the narrative that means it doesn't take hold entirely. The only complication is that the next bit is where the story all goes wrong, and starts to spiral. She loses control of her situation, and that should affect her narrative too, which means, ironically, a more impressionistic style is required. I need to rewrite the preceding narrative in that case; not the whole thing, just the narrative, the style with which it is told and the way in which it all hangs together.

Now that I know it needs changing, the temptation to rewrite from the start is strong. I'm trying to push forward and keep to my goal of writing a full second draft. I hoped this one would be inches away from being readable, but it'll need another quick redraft to smooth out these kind of irregularities before anyone can do that.

Word count this week: 9,717 Second draft: 67,114 First draft: 128,661


Week 91

This week has been a lesson in killing babies. Not literally of course (aHAHAHAHAHA), but in this sense:

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.

- William Faulkner (though some say it was Mark Twain - make your mind up, some!)

Or, as Stephen King puts it:

kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings

The idea is that if there's a part of your writing that you're attached to and the idea of editing it is hard... cut it loose. It is likely in the way somehow.

Lancs Cycleway 91

My first draft is a rag bag of ideas, but, it turns out, some of them aren't half-bad. Not always an entire paragraph, not always an entire sentence even, but sometimes there's something I look back on that's not part of the plan for the secodn draft but too good to ignore.

So copy, paste: and voila. An agonising day of trying to force it into my narrative.

After doing this a couple of times I realised I have to cut my first draft loose. I'll look back on it, but not just yet; first I need to get this draft coherently written and in one piece. Then the transplants can begin.

Word count this week: 9,823 Second draft: 26,901 First draft: 128,661