Ready, Set, REVISE

November 6, 2012

I suppose I should fill in the space here:

I finished the first draft nearly a month ago now (10th of October) and the final wordcount was 145,136… phew… I’ve got a lot of work to do. Time to begin revising. Will update when I’ve actually begun.



June 5, 2012

Words Up: 16, 839

Words in Total: 110, 162

Aaannd to no one’s surprise, it’s not done!

But it is getting there. I can see the end! I really can. The new deadline, June 29th is looming, and I have a lot to do… I really don’t know how long it’s going to be. but another 16,000 words seems pittance at the moment. I shouldda done more.

Work, Work

April 26, 2012

Words Up: 9, 536

Words In Total: 93, 323.

Just so it goes on record: I have done something in the last fifteen days! Not enough… but some.

I know there’s going to be some tramping through a forest soon.

Grumpy Old Women

April 11, 2012

Words Up: 4, 493

Words In Total: 83,787


I love the “Freshly Pressed” section of this site. I keep getting peckish just looking at all the nice food people are eating…

ANYWAY, so I’m still a rubbishy word-count-by-day-keeper, but since I’ve been so productive the other week when I have got a chance to sit down and write in moments when I’m not ill or distracted* I’ve been thinking, “1,000 words?! What are you, a wimp? Let’s get that to 2,000 at least!”

Which is helpful. Kind of.

I owe some of the most recent word count to the fact that I watched Gone Baby Gone last night and absolutely loved how foul mouthed and moody all the characters were, and I realised that the mentor of my sweet, grumpy, foulmouthed A and T might benefit from being as foul-mouthed and moody as they were. I also had an epiphany about how to make the exposition more interesting which is SO HELPFUL AFTER I’VE ALREADY WRITTEN THE DAMN THING. Thanks, brain. Oh well.

The good news, for now, is after briefly contemplating going back on the 10,000 words or so that would be necessary to re-write exposition I pussied out and decided to tackle the problem (if it is as much as a problem as my idea-leaping mind is making out it is) on draft 2. Much better.

But anyway, going back to grumpy mentor… what’s interesting about going back to edit her introduction and lines last night is that actually… there wasn’t a huge amount to edit. Mathilde (the mentor) was already pretty grumpy, actually, and a lot of her lines I found could be read into as grumpy if you knew that’s how she’d be saying them. All I had to do was edit the language she uses (foul) and alter some of the vocabulary to make it gruffer. Of course, now she’s living and breathing differently she’s also going to be a little more resentful about her appointed position, but I think I’ll be able to get her over it, especially since she’s so much more interesting.

I’d made her a somewhat grandmother-warrior character, but had automatically written her as kindly (in a knee-jerk reaction to finding an old woman in my story). I considered using cliches like frail and a bit mad too, but I decided that it would be better to create a strong, fierce, lonesome type. A good change, in all.

Oh yeah… so 80,000 words. There’s a word mark I’m pleased to see the back of. Although it technically means I’m a third of the way through and it doesn’t quite feel that way yet. We’ll see… end of May/ 120,000 words here we come…

*both are, unfortunately, common.

Not Squinting

April 4, 2012

Words Up (since last posting): 10, 800

Words in Total: 79, 294

So while my resolution to keep this  space updated at regular intervals has waned, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got something done (although you can’t say that its been a 1,000 words a day sort of a business).

The good news is, the massive exposition is done and I can move on. I’m not happy with it, exactly, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be, nor was it as taxing. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. It’s nice to feel my feet on the path, even if I know I’m going to have to refine the shee-ite out of it later.

I’m still a little worried about certain characters and not letting them have their moments, which is another thing to go down on the “must iron-out on second draft” list, but the end is definitely in sight not as far as to have to squint, as I move to the end of the second third.

I’m getting a rough shape of how long it’s going to be. Another thousand words and I’ll be happily in the average-novel-length (80,000) and another forty thousand words and I’ll be at the other end of the average (120,000). I think it’s going to be something like 150,000 in terms of what I need to happen, but I could easily be wrong. Some plot ends actually are relatively simple to solve, I’m finding, and though some parts seem fiendishly complex, there’s always a way through.

Today, I’m going to be moving my mains (A, T & J) into the emotional zone, always a tricky for teens, but more so now I find that A isn’t quite as emotionally unavailable as I thought she was.

In fact, emotional vulnerability, I’m beginning to recognise, is my go-to departure point to keep my charactersat arm’s length. I am the opposite of emotionally unavailable. I have my moments of aloofishness, but generally I’m pretty honest about how I feel about things and if something’s wrong in one of my relationships, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be the one dragging it out in the open and saying, ‘Hey, this is weird. What are we going to do about this?’ I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty generous emotionally too, even if I don’t actually vocalise it.

Which is why I guess it makes sense that A & T are categorically not like that. They have different reasons for avoiding emotional interactions – A’s is more a lack of self-awareness – I think she’s afraid of what she’ll find if she looks. T has completely the opposite problem – he’s completely overwhelmed by himself and the way he feels, and his best defence is to shift and hide from it. The thing they share is they aren’t overly gifted at articulating themselves.

But that’s what’s great about writing characters like that – when they do express themselves, they do it in a way that feels genuine, because they have to dig deep for it.

Hum. Ok, musing over. I better go and get the emotionally stunted back to their loggerheads. Anon!


Slow Go

March 18, 2012

Words In Total: 68,494

Oh dear. Not a good week of work, all told – to the extent that I’m not sure (too lazy) to figure out how many words up I am…. I have, however, written, so at least there’s that.

I’m struggling with this part – I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that I’m in the middle of a lot of exposition which I’m (just) managing not to make boring. I’m also discovering a fair bit about the characters that I didn’t know about before which is pretty cool – I just hope it works. On the plus side, I’m obviously making much better progress since I started the blog than I was before. Given that I’d had to cut back to 40,000 ish words to begin with. I started this draft at the end of last May which basically means I’d only covered 40,000 words in eight months (to be fair, a lot of that time was spent figuring shit out but if I compare that to the motivated (dare I say disciplined(?)) writing that I’ve done since February – I’ve managed to quadruple my output (25,000 words since this blog’s been up) which isn’t too shabby, let’s be honest.

I haven’t, however, managed to keep to my original goal of finishing the first draft by the 23rd of March. My new date is May 29th.


The Tricky Bit

March 7, 2012

Words Up: 4,060

Words In Total: 63,421

I wrote quite a bit today (the 4,000 + being a culmination of the last four days) and I’ll probably write more tomorrow…

More prominent was a hell of a lot of thinking – because once again I’ve written myself to a place in which I’m going to have to do the biggest info dump you’ve ever seen. Seriously. Think smelly with flies.

And the great problem with info dumps is that obviously, you want your reader to be interested in the way that it all unfolds rather than bore them to tears. The problem is, I don’t have time or the logistics to draw this information out – my girl needs to know her shit there and then or the story simply can’t go on.

With that in mind, I’m also callously using one of my braver peripheral characters as the info dump-er so I’ve got the added pressure of making her interesting as well as full of a lot of know-how. Kind of like Dumbledore. A female Dumbledore. Only not quite so chirpy.

The other thing with info dumping is that, because what I have here is a kind of glorified question and answer session, I’ve got to consider the dramatic weight of each piece of information and think about what would be most important for my protagonist to know – what would she want to know first, above all other things?



March 2, 2012

Words Up: 4,668

Words In Total: (Wait for it…) 59, 310 (!)

Wow… I don’t quite know where all of it came from, but I guess if you show up for work, the muse gets interested.

To be fair, I’d say about 1,000 words of it, again was from the “cut” portion of work, before – but I’m not going to sneeze at it seeing as I’ve done quite a bit of toggling and fiddling and moving about. The best part of writing today was getting to describe this amazing city – the inspiration of which is drawn from all sorts of places. It’s a little of this:

and a little of this…

and some of this too:

by Blinck, of deviantart

I’ve had such a wonderful feeling of wellbeing these last few days – knowing that I’m on the right track. Long may it continue!

I still get stuck for words every so often, but they’re not really bad words, and I know I’ll be able to come back and change them later if I want to. I’m still trying to get the balance right between how a character would really say something and trying to be as evocative as I can. I don’t think either of my main characters (the ones I’m writing about at the moment) are great at articulating, so sometimes I have to stick with an expression to make sure it sounds more authentic than something that’s maybe… grander.

Anyway, as always, I’m hoping I can keep it up. If I can (please, please, please, Muse – stick with me!) my original first draft deadline of the end of March might not be as insane as it currently looks.

(Aside: And LOOK – I’m way over the place where I had to cut was before!)


March 1, 2012

Words Up: 1,615 (+ the extra 192 words of the chapter I managed to get down after posting yesterday)

Words in Total: 54,599

To go up, or down? Today, we went down – so we could go up!!

One day, when this is all over, this will make sense. In the meantime, how ’bout them Disney movies?


I am still not over Disney films and how much they can teach you about narrative, style and incredible characterisation. In the last 48 hours I have revisted: Beauty & the Beast, Tangled, Hercules and Tarzan.

They were all pinnacles of how characterisation ought to be achieved. The feat of the animators goes so depressingly unrecognised (but probably not unpaid, I daresay). Tangled in particular really shows the depth and sophistication that animators can muster out of a face. I definitely don’t like it more than Beauty and the Beast (nothing compares for me but the awesome that is Mulan)… but it’s definitely got its place on the shelf place in MY SOUL. (too dramatic?) It shows how easily storytelling is limited to merely the writing of such tales, as is my task.

The Muse, The Muse

February 28, 2012

Words Up: 2,334 

Words In Total: 52,791

She’s a flighty, difficult, perpetually distractive temptress, and for some reason, I always imagine her to look like this:

She hauled herself out of her own arse today and rewarded me with over two thousand words. AND I don’t even think I’m done for today, but pretend I didn’t say that… just in case I cursed it.

Today I wrote about monsters, teeth, a face getting ripped off, bravery and help.

It’s been a good week’s break and I’ve got at least 7,000 words to catch up on so… good work, but lets not rest on our laurels, shall we?