Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 20 Day Novel: Days 4 & 5

InterwebzWell, what time do you call this? Where the hell have you been?

Actually, it’s my fault. Or somebody in India, anyway. Our Internet was completely dead yesterday. Do you think I was thankful for that? DO YOU THINK I WAS THANKFUL!

That was a Thanksgiving reference, there. In case any Americans swing by.

I kept my usual notes anyway, and here they are. I’ll pick up today at the bottom.

I was up at dawn, and sitting editing chapters of The Flesh Market by 07:40. Unfortunately, the Internet is an arse and I was not able to show off about this unusually early start to the day as I would have liked. What’s the point of making an effort if you can’t show it off?

I stayed with The Flesh Market for the whole morning (for the end is in sight) had lunch, and am now finally switching to The 20 Day Novel. The book is now 11,678 words long, with seventeen days left on the clock including today. According to Scriv, I should aim to complete 5202 words before I finish today. With time already spent on editing the other book, that feels like a stretch, but we’ll see.

It’s a dangerous business, doing so much work on both of these projects at the same time, because the day doesn’t always balance out. On the other hand, they’re so different in style and tone (one a historical novel, the current rooted much more in the modern day mundane) that switching between them is almost like taking a break. They’re each distinct enough to hold their own, and resist blurring together.

13:30 – 14:20. 1121 words. Picking up chapter five where I left off yesterday, with an emergency in progress. Well, not really an emergency. Business as usual. That’s what Ro and Charlie are there to deal with.

14:50 – 16:00. 1006 words (2127 total). Oh, it’s a struggle today. I’ve finished that chapter though, in which Ro and Charlie are brought face to face with somebody they did not expect. I’ll have a break, get a coffee, and see what else I have in me today.

That should, of course, have read: I’ll have a break, then run a bath, then sit in it for ages, then come back and see what else I have in me today.

18:30 – 19:30. 773 words (2900 total). And I’m done – brain-fried. Spent too much time on edits this morning, and didn’t leave myself enough brainpower for a full day writing on top.

So, 2900 words today. Far short of what I wanted, but at least there’s a solid reason. The 20 Day Novel is now 14,457 words long, and I’ve some ground to make up.

With me so far? Good. Today will be a later start, as Eva and her class wish to tell me all about their recent school trip through the medium of song. When I get back, I’ll be heading straight into The 20 Day Novel. Scrivener has given me a stern look, and demanded that I add 5346 words to the manuscript today. It would be nice to crack 20,000 words at least, but we’ll see how it goes.

Back from the show. It lived up to my expectations in every way. Eva was brilliant, though. She doesn’t back away from performing at all – throws herself at it, in fact. It’s something that she can feel sure of, when other things don’t always make sense. Reminds me of me. Here is a poorly composed photograph of the event.

DivaYou’re welcome.

11:10 – 11:55. 708 words. Off and running for the day. There’s a lot of running happening on the page too. because of the panic alarm. Luckily there’s a tiny but staggeringly intimidating Indian woman with an enormous voice on hand to point everybody in the right directions. Going to stretch my legs, then straight back.

12:05 – 13:00. 793 words (1501 total). Nearly done with that chapter. There was an emergency, but nobody quite knows what it was… Time for a slightly longer break and some lunch.

I was in the kitchen anyway, so blitzed up a marinade for tonight’s kebabs. Coriander, mint, lemon, spring onions, and chilli. If all goes to plan this will transform the ordinary chunks of chicken I have smothered with it into tiny balls of PURE TASTY.

14:10 – 14:40. 358 words (1859 total). Just a short hop to finish that chapter. About to start the new one, which needs a new character I haven’t invented yet. Going to go and do some hurried inventoring, and see if I can get her ready for show.

15:10 – 16:40. 1223 words (3082 total). The new character is a he, not a she. He wears unnecessary waistcoats, and scowls a lot. It’s a start.

 17:00 – 18:00. 823 words (3905 total). We’re getting there. Ro experiences what might be inappropriate office behaviour, but she’s more than capable of seeing it for what it is. I’ll be most of the way to my word count by the end of the next session.

18:20 – 19:00. 536 words (4441 total). End of the chapter, marked by many of the protagonists agreeing to meet up and get very, very drunk. The next chapter is tricky, but I’ll get it started and hit that word count.

No I won’t. Dinner cooking has started, and An Adventure In Time And Space has hit iTunes. My evening is now booked. So, 4441 words today. A shortfall again, but it’s early days and the novel is finding its feet. So far, it’s 18,883 words long. I won’t even look at it tomorrow, but on Sunday I’ll put my editing hat back on and go over these first seven chapters, ready for more writing on Monday. I think there’s a lot that I really like. It’s already going in some directions I hadn’t thought of last weekend, and has even made me laugh out loud once.

Hope you’ll join me for round two…

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