Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 20 Day Novel: Day 3

TarringtonI think I’m going to get away with it. My migraine has deserted me entirely, but it’s receded from yesterday’s weird horrors. This morning I have a broken-glass headache and a bit of nausea, but that’s better than I expected.

Still, with yesterday a complete wash I’m on the back foot a little and looking to make up some ground (and it’s only the third day…). The 20 Day Novel currently consists of 6249 words. All things being equal, Scrivener would like me to add another 5208 words to that today, on order to stay on track. I also hope to get the edits finished on The Flesh Market.

Today, I’m going to start with the new book, and do edits in my downtime. I’m introducing the little village of Tarrington on a foggy February day. Tarrington isn’t like other villages. There are no roads leading into it, for a start…

Ugh. Have just heard that writer Joel Lane, responsible for some of the most profound stories I’ve ever read, passed away a night ago. I never met him, though he was a stalwart of the UK genre scene, but his fiction always found ways around my defences. A sad day. He was only fifty.

10:00 – 10:45. 1119 words. Not a bad start at all. A lot of this stuff is replacing the chapter I scrapped on Monday, so I already know the ground I’m covering. Time for a break and some fresh air. And some painkillers. Hundreds and hundreds of lovely killers of pain.

I’ve just realised that the little men who sit outside my window all day scraping it with tools have yet to make an appearance. I am probably jinxing it even pointing that out…

11:00 – 11:30. 737 words (1856 total). The new chapter three is complete, replacing and completing what I scrapped. One big revelation introduced (what Tarrington is), for the reader if nobody else. Charlie and Ro have hit it off, and things are in place for the first big disruption in the plot. With a status quo forming, it’s time to introduce a little havoc. First though, I need to revisit Grant and his team from chapter one.

My writing soundtrack for this book is Bear McCreary’s five CDs worth of Battlestar Galactica soundtrack. It’s occasionally fractious, and often insanely beautiful. Good storytelling music for this very modern, very gritty novel.

Time for another break. I’ll work out how to start Grant’s new scene (which features a tricky interview) while I head to the shop and get fish and veg in to make a pie.

I like pie.

The little men are outside my window again. Am now worried that I am the only one who can see the little men.

12:05 -13:30. Switched over to The Flesh Market edits for a while, so no new words on the novel. Looking forward to being done with these. I’m not enjoying these split days. The end is in sight though, thankfully. Going to go and snatch a yoghurt for lunch, then get back to The 20 Day Novel.

13:45 – 14:30. 1054 words (2910 total). Characters have started flirting, which is good. It’s the sort of book that needs that sort of thing. The interview itself is not going so well. It’s messy. There’s blood, and flies, and protective latex gloves. And flirting, obviously.

Eva has returned home from school to announce that on Friday I will be attending her class presentation on her recent school trip to Orcha. Apparently, she plays somebody who poisons somebody else to death and gets incredibly upset about it. I remember from my own distant childhood how school trips could be a social trial by fire…

15:00 – 15:50. 520 words (3430 words). Not many words in that session, but they’re important ones. That’s a key concept for the whole book laid out in a couple of paragraphs. I think I’ll probably rejig it many times before the novel is done. If the reader absorbs that bit, then the rest is plain sailing. If they don’t, they’re not going to have the faintest idea what’s going on.

16:40 – 17:30. 1100 words (4530 total). I’ve discovered a lovely relationship between two of the characters on this team. It’s furtive and secret, and slightly guilty. A nice thing to stumble on, as I wasn’t at all sure about their history when I started the section. Anyway, that’s chapter four done. Off for a long break, in which most of ‘making a pie’ will happen. When I get back I’ll rejoin Ro and see how she’s getting on with that difficult first day.

My pie is in the oven, and I’m back in front of my laptop. This is the correct order of things.

19:10 – 20:10 (with a quick break to eat pie). 901 words (5431 total). Chapter five is well under way. Charlie and Ro meet Ig (who didn’t exist in my head until he was needed in this scene, and might grow into something interesting), and Ro is warned off Dan Starkey. An emergency is about to happen, which seems as good a way as any to start tomorrow’s writing.

So today I managed 5431 words, a little more than I was aiming for, and The 20 Day Novel grows to a mighty 11,678 words. Not bad, given I’ve had a monstrous headache all day. I’m going to stop writing now, and maybe run myself a bath. I like to have a bath after I’ve had a pie.

What? Don’t you?

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