Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

The 20 Day Novel: Day 15

OfficeAt two o’clock this morning I realised I’ve got the story wrong. Something happened about ten chapters ago that I didn’t see, and it’s completely changed the end of act two, and radically altered act three. It made me get up and pace, which is annoying when you really, really need to go to bed. It’s an excellent twist though, something I hope you won’t see coming (I certainly didn’t).

I’ll need to go do some rewriting to make it fit, but not as much as you might imagine. No chapters need to be changed, and the action doesn’t even need to be altered very much. I just need to drop a couple of clues and change a bit of emphasis here and there. Light touch stuff. It’s as though somewhere in the midden of my mind I knew about this twist all along, and left the story the right shape to accommodate it.

I’m not going to do any of that work now though. That’s for the second draft in 2014. For now, I’ll continue on it’s fixed already, and worry about the details in the New Year.

At the moment The 20 Day Novel is 57,436 words long. Scriv would like me to write 7094 words on each and every one of the remaining days of this project in order to bring it in at 100,000 on time.

Scriv’s been smoking crack.

11:00 – 12:00. 678 words. Starting to get warmed up. I’ve changed the soundtrack to Gears of War, because in their separate parts of the story Ro and Scott are both descending into dark places where bad things are going to happen. It’s kicked things up a notch. I need scary, tense, aggressive, and haunting in equal measure, which Jablonsky’s work on GoW serves up nicely.

13:00 – 13:45. 852 words (1530 total). I’m picking up speed now. The music is a perfect fit, and I’m having fun. Tight corridors, noises in the dark, and BFGs.

14:00 -14:45. 752 words (2280 total). Nearly done with this chapter, then I’ll skip the next, and pick this straight back up in the chapter after that. Really enjoying it today. Not the sort of scenes I’ve written before, and they present all sorts of challenges balancing tension and movement. I don’t think I’m getting it quite right, but that’s what second drafts are for. Going to go and stretch. This book is wrecking my back.

15:00 – 16:15. 1096 words (3379 total). Onto the next chapter. There are weird hordes and an enormous wall. Ro’s going to go from the side with no hordes to the side with hordes. She’s not looking forward to it at all.

Broke to prep dinner and go to the shop. If the shop did not exist I would have had no exercise at all for the last three weeks. Think on that.

18:15 – 19:00. 647 words (4026 total). The late nights are starting to really hurt. I don’t think I’ll get anywhere near the target today, but if I can just finish the current chapter I’ll still call it good. Anyway, off to make dinner. After that, family movie night. Then…

Well, we’ll just have to see. I find it difficult to imagine myself staying up tonight.

So, Eva asked whether we could hunt out a movie called The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas for our family movie night, as she’s halfway through reading the book in class and heard there was a film. I’ve never heard about the book, but from what she said knew it was the Second World War, and involved a boy in a concentration camp. So yeah, I knew we might in Anne Frank’s neighborhood.

Holy god. I only got a sense of how bleak the ending was going to be about halfway through. We get there, and Kirsty’s in tears, Eva’s mouth is hanging open in shock, and I’m shaking my head in admiration. Brilliant film. The next hour spent with Eva asking about the sorts of things that happened in those camps, and me telling her. Some times I wish I were the sort of parent who could wave these things away, but I’m not. She now has more than enough information to give her nightmares for the rest of her life.

An extra 174 words to finish up a section, and I’m done for the day. I need to sit and chill. A paltry 4026 words in total today, but I don’t feel bad at all because the novel has a whole new energy after last night’s surprise twist. The manuscript is now 61,636 words long after fifteen days work. For context, Craven Place is 65,078 words long, including afterwords and other bits of random text.

And tomorrow, I’m taking the day off. On Day 16, the author rested. I’m strung out, staying up later to worker slower because I’m shattered, and starting later the next day because I was up late. That’s all wrong, and it’s damaging the book. It probably means sacrificing the 20 day goal, but that’s what experiments are all about.

I’ll pick up on Sunday. Let’s see what that brings.

While I’m writing this novel, I’m also preparing to release another called The Flesh Market towards the end of January 2014. A story of science, murder, obsession, and the walking dead, the book creeps between the slums of 19th century Edinburgh and the ivory towers of its academia. In the next few weeks, well before the book is released, I’ll be giving everybody signed up to my email newsletter a free ebook copy for their Kindles, Nooks, smartphones, etc. At the top right of this page is a ‘Newsletter Signup’ box. Stick your email in and you’re done. Your details will never be passed on, to anybody, ever. Thanks!

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4 Comments

  1. maryrajotteDecember 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Scrivener must have been hanging out with our Mayor Rob Ford 🙂

  2. Richard WrightDecember 13, 2013 at 2:04 pmAuthor

    I suspect it has various degenerate associates. As long as it stays useful, I’ll turn a blind eye.

  3. Jackie BDecember 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    BFG? Big F-ing Gun? Big Friendly Giant? ….

    • Richard WrightDecember 13, 2013 at 5:42 pmAuthor

      Heh. These ladies are packing heat.

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