Less than 300 words

November 30, 2010 at 8:11 pm (Uncategorized)

There are a few hours of novelling time left and I’ve accepted that I’m not going to reach 80,000. I was hoping for a last minute burst of inspiration but I think I’m all written out, to be honest. Still, 74,772 words in 30 days isn’t at all bad really. Maybe later this evening I could manage another 228 words (is that right? my maths is crap) and get to 75,000 words which would be quite nice.

Last night I sat and read through the novel for the very first time. Yes, I have literally written 74,772 words without ever once reading over what I’d written. And you know what? It’s not half bad. There are some howling mistakes in it (early in the book, they go downstairs to the office in the nightclub… a few pages later on they go upstairs to the offices) and I’m still missing an ending, but I’m not far off that either and I’m hoping that my friends Vanessa and Linda might be able to provide inspiration for that final, critical scene. There are some really good bits. There is potential to add lots more scary moments, and some of the characters are definitely worthy of further development.

So Nano this year was a success; certainly much better than last year, when I only managed 12,000 words or so (although I did write about 50,000 words in the process of editing Into the Darkest Corner, nevertheless that doesn’t actually count…)

I’m going to try and write the ending in the next couple of days and then leave it for maybe a weekend or so, and then go back and polish it slightly before sending it in. I hope other people like it as much as I do.

Lots of love to all of you, and thank you for going on this year’s Nano journey with me!! xx


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65,740 – Going with the flow

November 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm (Uncategorized)

I wrote a pivotal scene today, so pivotal in fact that it’s changed the whole focus of the book.

It’s one of the great mysteries of Nano that you can write the bulk of a novel thinking you know where the plot is taking you, only for something dramatic and unexpected to turn up and make you realise that, actually, it’s all been about something else all along.

So I estimate that I’ve got about another 20,000 words of plot left to write; all of a sudden I have a beautiful, logical, heart-stopping and almost poetic ending, and I know roughly how I’m going to get there. I’m fairly sure there are going to be some more dramatic twists revealed to me in the next fortnight, hopefully they won’t be too devastating. Already I know I’m going to have to go back and make subtle tweaks to the text now that I have a clearer idea of where all the characters are headed, but that’s certainly do-able.

I’m sure there will be at least one more trough in my way, another moment where I will feel that the whole thing’s useless and should be binned forthwith, but for the time being I’m going to enjoy this feeling of certainty.

I know this is probably a mistake to admit, but I love the moment where the characters reveal themselves. This follows a pattern much like real life: for some of them it happens quite quickly and you know who they are and what they’re about pretty much as soon as they open their mouths. For others, it takes much longer and there comes a point where you realise the person you thought you knew had hidden depths and a strength to them that you wouldn’t believe. So it is with one of my characters. All the way through the book I thought I knew him, and yet I’ve just written a scene and he’s revealed himself to be someone quite extraordinary. It’s changed everything, absolutely everything, and where a few pages ago I still didn’t understand why some things had happened, and what function certain things served, now it all makes sense. And there was me thinking my book was about X, and it turns out that it was about Y all along!

(I know I must sound like a mad woman; this is just the way I write. If I knew what was going to happen, there would be no point in me writing it down.)

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November 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m feeling much better now – a very productive writing day, and I’ve managed to leave it at a scene I can continue with next time I get to the laptop.

My cold’s still grim 😦  but I managed to fit in a bit of baking which always perks me up a bit.

Back on track for 80k by the end of November, and at last I’m heading somewhere towards an ending…

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November 19, 2010 at 9:39 am (Uncategorized)

Oh dear, so much for writing a blog entry every day…

I have been writing though, at a much reduced pace. This is partly due to a horrible stinky cold (why are colds ‘stinky’? I haven’t smelled anything good or bad since Tuesday) and partly due to the resurrection of the infamous Inner Editor, who has been feeding me all sorts of lines such as:

“It’s crap. You might as well stop now…”
“You don’t have an ending yet. What sort of a writer are you? You might as well stop now…”
“This pile of words is worse than useless, there is no point carrying on, you might as well stop now…”
“You did your 50k, there’s no benefit to writing more, you might as well stop now…”

Well, I say, DEATH to the Inner Editor!  I know it’s crap! So what!  I might just write an ending where aliens turn up, or a bunch of axe-wielding clowns, or – or – Mr Wallace my A level English teacher with a TASER and a jar of Manuka Honey!

[thought: maybe had too much Lemsip.]

I also remember having feverish dreams the night before last where all of a sudden the ending of the novel was revealed to me like a beautifully landscaped path up to heaven and it all made perfect sense. Then I woke up and held on to the feeling for a fraction of a second, and then it was all gone. Who knows what that perfect ending was, although it could have been something like ‘the donkey did it’ and that would have made sense at 4am when unconscious, but in the cold light of Friday morning it probably won’t do.

[thought: I’d better get dressed in case the postman actually knocks on the door today.]

So, I feel better about writing today. It’s my last day off (the last three weeks have raced past!) and I’m back to work on Monday, so if I can get beyond 62k today I will be a happy bunny. Nothing seems to be quite firing me up as much as it did last week. I’m avoiding Write or Die although I haven’t closed the tab down on my browser; it’s sitting there looking at me like a malevolent garden ornament.

I will be back later to report on progress.

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November 15, 2010 at 9:12 am (Uncategorized)

I made it past the 50k!  Not bad – 50k in 14 days, I think that’s my personal best. To be fair, I have had the whole day to write and I haven’t been interrupted by anything tricky like real life – and I know that I did spend an unbelievable amount of time Faffing About on Facebook, so really if I’d committed myself properly I could have written much, much more by now.

So – no excuses!  Onwards into Week Three – my last week off work, so I’d better make it count…

I’m celebrating with a visit to Bluewater with Cat – we are going to have a Blue Monday Yo Sushi and maybe a cheeky little coffee as well. Then back to the laptop.

My 50,000th word was ‘beautifully’.

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Thoughts on Bargain Hunt

November 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm (Uncategorized)

All this week I’ve found that Bargain Hunt seems to be on at the time that I go to make something for lunch.

And I’m coming to the conclusion that it would be probably better and certainly more profitable if they bought the items from the auction, and then tried to re-sell them at the antiques fair. How long has this show been going? Hasn’t this ever occurred to anyone else??

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Made it

November 12, 2010 at 9:25 am (Uncategorized)

You, me and the household chocolate supply will all be relieved to hear that I made it to 43k last night, in fact nearly all the way to 44k! I would have carried on but my eyes were closing and I hadn’t even turned the electric blanket on, so I had to wait for a wheatbag in the microwave.

I had lots of good ideas as I was writing at speed last night, but like a fool I didn’t write them down at the time (FOOL!) and this morning I am staring at page 91 of my novel thinking “…um…”

It will come back to me, I’m sure it will. I will re-read yesterday’s efforts and see if that sparks anything off. My main thought on the novel at the moment, as it emerges from the mists of my foggy brain, is that the line between ‘goodie’ and ‘baddie’ in this book is unclear. In fact I don’t even know if I’ve got any goodies at all. I think I’ve just got different degrees of baddie.

More later. Probably.

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November 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Yay, my Nano Mojo is back!  All thanks to Write or Die.

I did a lot of my usual Faffing About this morning and then this afternoon I set Write or Die to 30 minute stints, much more than my usual. I seem to be able to do about 1000-1200 words per 30 minutes. Who knew?

On a much more positive notes, the plot bombs I was worrying about yesterday seem to have fizzled out all by themselves. I wrote a cracking scene this afternoon, even if I do say so myself. It’s funny that if I sit and think about the plot too much I worry about it, whereas if I just force myself to write, the characters say things that make me realise that I’m not actually in control of the plot anyway, so why worry about it?

I know that sounds weird and freaky. But seriously, once your characters get going they come up with some lines and you find yourself thinking What? and then later on in the story they say or do things that make the earlier lines make sense.

Which I realise I’m not doing right now – making sense, that is.  All I’m saying is, when it comes to Nano, go with the flow, and all will be well…

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Today’s procrastination is brought to you by…

November 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Sorry about this.

It all came about because of Write or Die. The punishment music today included Hanson’s Mmm Bop, and, perhaps worse still, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, but before all those was this:

I’m going to put the actual sensible bit in another post, I think, just to escape from the madness…

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Additional pressure and incentives

November 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday was a good day, or rather yesterday evening was. I’ve realised that despite the apparent bliss of having the house to myself all day with nothing to do but write, the wordcount increases more easily in the evenings when the husband and son are at home making a racket. I plug in my noise-reducing headphones and get cracking. As a result I’ve made it all the way up to the dizzy heights of 36,101.

Today was less successful again. I think I’m tired from last night’s writing marathon, and I’m starting to encounter plot bombs that are likely to go off in about 15,000 words unless I deal with them now. Plot bombs like “why doesn’t she just…?” and things like that. I need to find an answer now or else it may put the ending in jeopardy.

(I still don’t have an ending. Don’t worry. It will turn up.)

Aiding me in the evening writing is a wonderful program called, jauntily, ‘Write or Die‘. You set the number of words you want to write (say, 1,000) as well as the time limit (say 20 mins). You can set these separately so you’re either working to a time limit OR a wordcount, but I find it sharpens the mind further if you set both. You can select the severity of your potential punishment (ranging from Gentle to Kamikaze), and the grace period before these punishments are brought in (forgiving, strict or evil). Then you write.  If for any reason you find yourself staring into space, the consequences begin with your screen flashing a horrible shade of red, continue on to loud noises like babies screaming and, if you still don’t knuckle down and get writing again, sooner or later it will start deleting what you’ve already written, one painful word at a time.

It’s been very productive on the occasions I can tear myself away from Facebook to use it.

By the end of tomorrow I will be at 43,000.

If I don’t manage it, then… I will throw out all the chocolate in the house (and there’s quite a lot).

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