Friday, September 25, 2009

Return from the wherever I was

It's been a long six months since I last wrote. Everything was going fine between us, I had my novel and you had my banging on about how much I was getting done. It was the perfect kind of relationship, I could vent and you just took it.
But then something new and shiny came into my life. Promising a quick sensation release, saying my words would be out there almost immediately and people would defintely read them. Well, I fell for it. Writing short stories about a character that has lurked in my head for a few years now. Oh, how optimistically we all got stuck in. There was a website, a name, and I'd gone into seven weeks worth of content before I understood that I would be getting no more responses from the guy behind it.
Seven weeks worth of stories that now languish, crying to be set free, if only I can devise a platform.
Worst of all, I left you for this failure and never even bothered to write. The novel lay alone in its file, untouched, unloved, my mind occupied by the collapse of the shiny new thing that had so entranced me.

Cut to six months later.
My friends got married this weekend and it was brilliant. Meeting people I'd never seen. Seeing people I hadn't chated to for ages.
Then realising that all of my friends are moving on, making a life and I'm still living at home with my parents and going nowhere.
It was all I needed really, a swift metaphorical butt kicking.
So on Monday I was back in the routine. Up before 9, breakfast, coffee, then writing.

I'm averaging just over a thousand words a day, broke the 50 thousand word barrier yesterday and realised that I'm going to go past the 60k ideal I was aiming for.
Anyway, let's have the tally:
Words done Monday: 1290
Words done Tuesday: 1099
Words done Wednesday: 1712
Words done Thursday: 1067
Total words this week: 5168

Total words so far: 50080

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Done that now

Huzzah, I finally finished the awkward chapter!
It has take me a while, not being able to sleep and getting completely floored by my CFS mentally these past weeks hasn't helped, but it is at last done.
I don't know that I'm completely happy with how it has turned out, but I'm not going back to check until I do the next draft.
Could I work out how to end this chapter? Not really, I think it's now the longest one in the book so far, but I did it by letting the characters have a moment of full release from the tension with a giggling bout. It fits, it suits, I hope it works.

Now though, I can get onto the finale. Got the first big set piece coming up, which isn't action, but if I describe it properly, will still be a very cool moment for the reader to picture in their minds.

As for the project that is to follow, well, I'm putting the details in place. It's going to be a science fiction story, for adults, not the audience of this book. I may write up a couple of the short stories I have floating around in my head to get me back into that style of writing first.

All in all, progress is being made.

Words today: 469
Total Words: 34982

Monday, March 02, 2009

Councils of War!

I seem to have manouvered myself into a part which I had tremendous trouble writing in my last novel. Namely, the council of war sequence. Where all is explained.
OK, so last time was a much more free flowing affair, coming about halfway through the book and changing the course of what the reader was expecting up until then. This one is an actual council of war, planning for the battle that will take place in the next few chapters.
However, the last one took me something like 6 years to finish, so I'm not looking forward to it. This is what coes of going "Wouldn't it be cool if M could do this and this and this." Yes it would, right, how do I weave this cool stuff into the narrative? Et Voila! Council of War scene!

At least this one is not a chapter in and of itself, it's the tag end of a chapter that sets up most of the main characters viewpoints and emotional states prior to the last punch up.

So what did I do? I introduced a new character, right in the middle of the situation, where noe was planned, now I have to do something with him. OK, so he was slightly set up before, but I could have excised him from the story without a problem, now he's solved a major emotional obstacle and is going to have to stay.
I have no idea how to use the bugger in the rest of the story though. I'm not seeing this end well for him.

Words Today: 1086
Total Words: 33510

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spot on.

So I reached the end of today's section, which has mostly involved making the villain somewhat cartoonish before unleashing unexpected violence and death.
As I did the word count I found I had hit 996.
Well, can't stop there can I?
But finding the right 4 words to close out the section, because I wasn't about to start the next just yet, was quite hard. Especially as I had already ended the sequence.
But I'm a trooper, I have succeeded where lesser men might not have been all that bothered.
"Who would he choose?"
A little menacing, no? Even out of context, just knowing it's the bad guys thoughts makes it so.

All done for the week. Maybe time to get back to the comic pitch I have to do a rewrite on. I have decided to scrap an issue I'd planned and replace it with something more fantastical. As the artist said, I'm not playing up the fantasy elements enough, well this one should do it.
It's also planned as a mostly silent episode now.
Let's see if that sticks.

Words today: 1000
Total Words: 32424

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Return to the fold

Well, that break lasted a lot longer than planned.

Last week was supposed to be a week off and of doing some research. Instead it became a week of finishing a chapter on Monday, then playing GTA 4 and watching films.
I went out to see Slumdog Millionaire, which is a wonderful film and I've had the soundtrack (an Oscar winner dontchaknow) on almost constant spin.
But halfway through last week, I realised I dodn't know how to proceed from the point I had stopped. Couldn't think of which character to follow and focus on. My main idea, it turned out, I had already done properly and in full in an earlier chapter. So that was out.

And so, until today, I've been stumped. But then, as so often happens, I made myself sit down and begin to write. Just follow the protagonist for a bit, put the words down and let it come. As it nearly always does, this sparked off ideas and now the chapter is on the move.
Part of the problem is that I'm now racing headlong into the climax and I'm worried about word count. A stupid thing to get hung up on I know, but I'm tempted to try some padding, but also think that if I crack on with plot the words and situations are there to reach the goal of 60k.

Meh, I at least have got some traction back now. But I'm disappointed because if I'd kept up the pace of early January, this novel would be maybe a thousand words away from completion now. Instead it's half done with about a sixth of the words being the first 4 chapters which I haven't written yet. They'll probably be the last things I do actually write.

Words Today: 752
Total Words: 31424

Friday, February 13, 2009

Week's End

Well, two writing days out of five isn't great, but it's better than none.
Another thousand words today and the end of a chapter.
I've probably got one, maybe two more chapters I could write without diving back into the research, but I think I'll take next week off from new writing and change focus to research and rewrites on other projects.

In other news, my latest pitch to Abaddon fell at the final hurdle. Apparently I've never been so close before, so I'm getting there. Came up with 5 new ideas for pitches in the four hours after I got the rejection, I'm sure there will be more by the time the submissions gate opens again.

Words Today: 1192
Total Words: 28143

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A slothful sense of no motion

Well, last week was mostly a bust. Spent all day Monday in bed, barely able to do anything. Couldn't even think about writing. The rest of the week wasn't much better, but I did get the first part of an action sequence done.
Then that was it until today. Part of that is because I went to see some friends in Reading over the weekend, which completely took it out of me.
I've managed about 45 minutes this morning, and that's it.
I have at least finished that action sequence, now I'm about to get going on the following one, which leads onto another one, and then there is a break before the big final action set piece. So I'm in sight of the conclusion.
A couple of issues as there are some plot points happening elsewhere that I should be making reference to, but I don't want to lose the momentum I've built up.

Words today: 653
Total Words: 25810

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Just over a thousand words in a about 40 minutes. Head feels like it's squashing my brain, which is the sign of a bad day coming.
So an hour early bail out here, can feel speech just slipping away. Still, had a character make a relevant point, one I'd not even considered until today.
Know what the next big action scene is, now all I need is a better fix on the location of one of Britain's treasures - not a lost one I hasten to add, they know where it is - I just need to know where in the where it is.

Words today: 1043
Total Words: 21950

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back on Track

Today was a good day. I've set up things that are going to be important at the finale. The female lead is also getting more of a personality, cheeky little minx that she is. I'll have to go back and insert some stuff into earlier chapters to make it all gel, but that's what redrafting is all about.
Word count is also back up to acceptable levels.
Once again, the chapter that I had so much trouble writing, the one that took up all of last week, has turned out to be a bit of a beast, nearly 5000 words. Making it nearly a quarter of the whole that has been written so far. I could probably chop it into two, but I don't really want to.

In other problems, it turns out my big action sequence, planned before the giant blockbuster budget breaking finale, needs a complete overhaul, what with there being none of the geography I need for the planned sequence to work being anywhere in the vicinity. This is the problem with real world set stories, you're tied to what actually exists when it comes to cliffs and such. Oh well.
Looks like Plymouth is in for an utter beating.

Words today: 1758
Total words so far: 20906

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Week of Little Success

Well, this week has turned out to be a bit of a wash all around really. The problems I was having last week spilled on into this and there was little progress made, I didn't even get any words done on Wednesday or Thursday.
However, on Wednesday I did realise what my prblem was, I was trying to write an action sequence that I hadn't thought through properly. I had my hero's motivation for doing it, but not the reasons for the challenges he was being set. Once I had that worked out I got onto the final part of the challenge and this is where there was a great grinding to a halt.
See, my usual method is to imagine action sequences and then build the story around them, getting people to the places they need to be with the equipment required. This often means an action sequence planned for one story may not be workable, so it gets filed and re-used in another.
This time I worked to a point where I needed an action sequence, but nothing in the action store was right for it, not even remotely. This meant I had to stop and properly think through what I wanted to happen.
All the other major action points for this novel are fully formed and with a few minor hitches (as in the next location that begins an action sequence is nowhere near a beach of a big cliff with stairs running down it's length. So a rethink is coming and it looks as though Plymouth's in for an invasion of beasties along with a second car chase.)
Well, today I finally sat down with the action sequence in my head and it is done. Finally I can get things moving again. It's not quite a straight sprint to the finish now - there's research that needs doing to get specifics of places that will be required to build the next few scenes around - but there should be no more unexpectedness.

Words today: 1062
Total words: 19143

Friday, January 16, 2009

Locked Room Problem

It's so hard today. All I have to do is get the hero out of a locked room into a corridor where I can throw all kinds of craziness and get back into the action.
Shouldn't be too hard should it?

Well apparently, it is! I have just written 200 words of the most circular reasoning ever. If this then this, which means this, so this is that!
That will require a very hefty rewrite, but right now all I want to do is get the hero to escape. Why can't I manage that?

I can feel my fingers trying to cramp up at the very idea of doing more on this bit, which is never a good sign.
But it must be done. The story stops dead here if I don't.

Yesterday was about a 300 word day and giving up after 45 minutes. Today I MUST hammer through this.
If I'm still stuck in this room come Monday there's an exponentially increasing chance that I will bail, find all the usual reasons for not continuing on. And that's not acceptable.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold Car

I'm having a real problem getting started this morning. I feel like an old car that someone's trying to make go on a cold and snowy morning.
It. Just. Won't. Ca. Cat. Catch.

I know what I'm writing this morning, an escpae from a locked room. There are story, character and emotional reasons for the escape, which is a nice trifecta. My only problem is that I cannot fix the geography or contents of the room in my head. Once out of the room I have the free reign to go a bit bug nuts with obstacles for the hero to overcome. But getting him out of the room in a way that shows him to be resourceful, brave and desperate? Drawing a big blank.

I was hoping that setting this down here might fire up some inspiration.
But no.
Instead I now have Blogger voice going "Wow, you really don't know what you are doing today do you?"

Doesn't help that yesterday ended up a bit of a washout as I had to give up after an hour to take my Dad to my Nan's. So I didn't quite hit 1000 words. The wordcount this week is very much down on last week's, there's been no epic 3000 word action sequence day. Thinking ahead, I can't see another section I know quite as well as the car chase, so there may not be again.
Plus I'm umming and ahhing about whether I need to add extra events to stretch the wordcount all the way to novel length. Chapters keep ending at about 1600 words, which would mean over 30 chapters to reach 60000 words, which is the target. In current plans, I'm about halfway through and on less than a quarter of the words.
OK, so I still have chapters 1 - 4 to write, and they are quite actiony and big, but I don't see them breaking the 4000 limit they'd probably have to to catch up.

Total Words at start of this morning: 16572

Monday, January 12, 2009

Week 2 - Villains and Monsters

Well, day 1 of week 2 and I'm still getting up and going to work at my desk.
This is a good thing.
Last week I went to Brighton on Thursday after my work and a very sudden meeting with my advisor. I hadn't managed to get into Brighton to pick up my comics for about 6 months (I can tell this because there were 6 issues of The Walking Dead for me to buy), which meant that there was a big old stack of nearly 40 comics. Costing me, well, let's just say it was not cheap.
So I won't leave it that long again.

Unfortunately I overestimated how much energy I had to spare and had a major crash on the train home.
I had really forgotten just how bad my bad can be. I was pale, sweaty, feeling nauseous. Unable to sit properly or hold my head by by use of my neck muscles alone. I must have looked like I either had the plague or was going cold turkey.
It's been a long time since I overextended myself like that and now I remember why.
I guess I just have to stick my hand in the fire every so often to remind myself that it's hot and it hurts.

That left Friday as a kille and I had to quit after 45 minutes. Managed about 700 words though, so not a total wash-out.

Today I start after a weekend of not exactly taking it still, by being mostly sedentary.

Today I have revealed the villains history, which did not even exist until this morning, when I was stuck for what actually happened in this chapter/scene.
But with his history now fixed, he becomes more than just this shadowy boogey man that he has been.
Plus it gives our wise character real motivation beyond the obvious to lay the big ole smack down in the finale.

Today's Word Count: 1787
Total Words: 14613

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Day 3 hates me.

And here's where it becomes hard.
Woke up this morning knowing that I had no real clear idea of where today's writing was going to take me. I know the general ideas I need to get down, but I haven't been through the specifics in my head. This is where the word count slows considerably normally.
Added to that today is the first day I'm fighting with my CFS to get anything done. It was going to happen sooner or later, it just seems like it's sonner, which is a bugger.

Yesterday went well. Another chapter completed, the following chapter started. Only 2000 words, but that's the target I like to aim for.
Now I have to work out how many people are going to appear in this new section, do I need to create a new character. And horror of horrors, if I get past this bit I DO know what comes next, but I have yet to name the villain!
Argh, I hate naming characters, it's not something that ever comes easy!

Total words at start of today: 8994 (Almost a 6th of projected total, and I started on chapter 5!)

40 minute early bail out today. Can't concentrate any more, CFS kicking my brain to mush.
Still, 1305 words done. The mysterious M revealed, with humour and gags that hopefully are funny.
Total words at bail out: 10304

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year, New Plan.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, we're back.

With today being the first full week of the New Year, I'm starting a new regime. The plan is to have the first draft of the new book finished by June 15th. Only really getting into it from today onwards, after a couple of half hearted goes last year.
Attempts will be made to keep a semi-regular posting schedule on here as well.

I'm going to treat writing this like a job. At the PC from 9-11 every day, longer if I want, but minimum 2 hours a day. Target is about 1500 words per day.

However, in the first 20 minutes of this new scheme I've already reached 629, if it keeps going this fast then the first draft could get done a long time ahead of schedule.

Total words as of this post: 4518

Edited to say: 2 hours = 3022 words.
Total words at end of today - 6911