Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

December Book

The December Book: Countdown, Day 3

November 6, 2013 by Richard Wright in December Book, Journal, Writing

Halfway HouseA much better start to the day. I went to bed early and was up at six. Out for a 5k run through the grey haze. The temperature at night is dropping fast here in Delhi, and that seems to cause a low smog to cluster through the city. Kirsty has been told that this is actually the residue of recent fireworks clinging on like a gunpowder ghost, but I’m a bit sceptical about that. I vote smog. Came back, stretched, had coffee(s) and breakfast, saw Eva off to school and Kirsty off to work, then caught up with some news (Governments spy on each other! Tabloid editors are irredeemable shits!). Finally started thinking about the day and the book ahead.

In two days The December Book has jumped from 50,456 words to the current 61,909. To stay on target and make 90,000 by the end of Sunday I need to hit 5618 words today. I may try for more, depending on how it goes. I’m starting to think I’ve underestimated the length of the thing. I don’t feel like I’m two thirds of the way through the story, though I’m two thirds of the way through the estimated word count. It’s always difficult to tell. Chapters can squeeze in more event than I always plan for. To be on the safe side, if I can do extra words I will.

It’s ten in the morning, and time to start the words.

10:10 – 10:50. 820 words. That’s the scrapping chapter wrapped. It’s shorter than it should be, but I think there’s more to go in, a bit of background and colour behind the fisticuffs. That’s for the edit though. Right now, my coffee mug is empty. This must be attended to.

Back now. Was ravenous, so took an early lunch. About to enter a brand new location in the chapter I’m starting, and as it’s a critical (and real one) I hit the books to remind myself of the layout.

11:25 – 12:15. 932 words (1752 total). Men are drilling holes in things outside our window while I’m trying to write. I want them to fall of scaffolding and die. Is that wrong of me?

In better news, this new chapter is coming along very well. It’s another which I hadn’t realised was going to happen. That seems to be happening quite a lot, despite this being a very structured novel. The historical events the plot follows mean that the book has always had a certain shape. It’s a real pleasure to find it diving off here and there to do its own thing though. Off for some fresh air. And possibly to throw things at men drilling holes.

12:45 – 13:55. 803 words (2555 total). It’s going a bit slowly at the moment. A lot of back-referencing to earlier scenes, which means I have to stop each time and actually read those scenes before I can continue. Going to stretch my legs, then come back and nail this chapter.

14:30 – 15:15. 924 words (3479 total). Chapter nailed. I’m not as far forward as I thought I’d be by this time today, but words are happening so it’s foolish to complain. A quick break, a bit of reading ahead of the next chapter, then onwards.

But not yet. Eva’s home from school and full of cool stuff to tell me. Also, she has an awesome Halloween poem to read to me. In the accompanying drawing, two kids out trick or treating are slaughtered by a real vampire, who is taking the opportunity to mingle freely in his Dracula togs. I sense my influence.

16:05 – 17:00. 806 words (4285 words). There are parts of this book that aren’t playing out remotely as I imagined. This new chapter is one of them. It’s all to the good though. I like surprises. Will break now and whip up a marinade for some chicken. Kebabs later. While the meat’s soaking up flavour, I’ll come back and try to make up the rest of today’s words.

Meatstuff is becoming tastyballs. Dwell on that image. Dwell on it long and hard.

18:20 – 19:05.  1345 words (5630 total). And I’ll call it a day there, having eased over my daily word count by the skin of my teeth. So much for doing extra, but at least I’m still on target. I’ve stopped close to the end of a chapter, and the last five or six hundred words will be an easy way to start tomorrow.

So today 5630 words were added, bringing The December Book up to 67,536 words. I’ve cleared 17,000 words in three days, and things are starting to get really exciting from a writing perspective. All the final pieces are dropping into place, and things that seemed murky (and which I didn’t know how to resolve ten thousand words ago) are fast resolving themselves without a great deal of pushing and shoving from me. The book knows what it is now. I can actually see all the missing bits. It’s just a case of filling them in. I’m almost certain it will be over 90,000 words though. Maybe closer to 100,000. It doesn’t matter, now that the last bits have revealed themselves. The next few days should be fun.

A good night’s sleep helped. I’m going to do that again, I think. I’d really, really like a big word count tomorrow, in case I’m right about the book’s length.


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