Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

December Book

The December Book: Countdown, Day Six

November 11, 2013 by Richard Wright in December Book, Journal, Writing

Fallen GravesI took the weekend off. Originally I planned to write through it and hit 90,000 words on Sunday, but in the end I decided there was no rush. When I started doing this full time I intended to keep my weekends for myself, and I’m glad I did. I suppose that’s what weekends are for – breathing space from whatever you spend most of your life working on – and writing is no different from any other job in that regard. We all went out and saw Thor: The Dark World on Saturday. It was excellent. I enjoyed the first one, small and simple though it was, but the sequel was much more ambitious and epic. Just what you expect from Norse gods chucking big hammers about.

So, pushing back two days means I hope to hit 90,000 words by close of play tomorrow. The way the novel is playing out, it may run over that word count, in which case I’ll keep going until it’s done.

I’m starting the day with 76,400 words on The December Book (less than I hoped – Friday was  frustrating disaster). Scrivener tells me that I therefore need to clear 6,800 words today, if I’m to have 90,000 words by the end of tomorrow. That feels frankly ridiculous, so I’m going to try not to think about it too much and just get on with the day. We’ll see what happens.

Okay brain, wake up. Edinburgh. Arrests. Interrogations. Here we go.

09:45 – 10:20. 821 words. I will drink all the coffee now! Seriously, for so early in the day, I’ve managed to drink a ridiculous amount of coffee. The police special caffeine division will be knocking on my door shortly to ask where all the coffee went. I am drinking it. All of it.

10:30 – 11:00. 632 words (1453 total). A quick stop to refill my cup. The doubts I had about the first bit of the chapter have vanished in light of the second. It all flows. Thank god.

11:15 – 12:10. 826 words (2279 total). That chapter ended much better than it started. I’ll go back in a couple of days and balance it up. Started the next one, and it still seems to be ticking along. Kirsty’s home for her lunch break, so I’m off for a chat. After that I’ll head out to the garage, grab some supplies for Eva’s four day school trip into the wilds of India (she’s away at an ungodly hour in the morning), then back for more of Edinburgh’s darkest underbelly.

13:10 – 13:50. 919 words (3198 total). Events that I’d hope to contain in one chapter are spiraling across two, but there’s a shape to the conclusion now that I didn’t have before. I think that shapelessness is what gave me such problems on Friday. While much of this book can be written loosely around true events, the last couple of chapters are very specific. It feels good to have it on the page. Time for a quick break, then back before Eva comes home from school. Things should go well this afternoon, so long as nobody delivers an enormous rug mid-afternoon that we have to drag quarter of a mile along the road and up three flights of stairs. I’m almost certain that won’t happen though. Seriously. What are the chances?

14:10 – 14:30. 134 words (3332 total). Writus interruptus. Somebody delivered and enormous rug that I had to carry along the road and up to the flat. Who’d have thought? The delivery guy tried to photograph me taking receipt (A white guy! This’ll be something to show the kids!). This happens more often than you would think, out and about in India. I have developed a range of responses, all of them sharp and entirely in the negative, which seem to effectively hurdle the language barrier.

When I got back, I had a daughter again, and as she has a new certificate of awesomeness from the school I made appropriate noises of paternal pride. I already knew she was awesome of course, but it’s always nice when she gets it too.

Sharp shooting pains in my belly then alerted me to the fact that I have not eaten anything today. Yes. Yes, I do feel foolish. Thank you for asking.

Had an egg sandwich. As I was about to sit back down, Kirsty came home from work. My sessions get a little bitty after 14:00, when Eva’s school day finishes. For the rest of this week she’s away at camp, so that will give me an extra hour or two if uninterrupted time in the afternoons. It’s good timing. The more I write, the more I’m certain that the book wants to be longer than 90,000 (at least in first draft).

Oh, and we unwrapped the rug. It is everything I ever dreamed a rug could be, and more. I am not entirely certain how I passed through life, without this rug to walk barefoot upon. How foolish and naïve I was, to believe myself satisfied my lot.

It’s a nice rug, is what I’m saying.

16:45 – 17:30. 1049 words (4381 total). That chapter done. Some clunky exposition in there, which I need to make more organic later on. So far, one day in the plot has stretched over two chapters instead of one, but I’m not done yet. Here comes the third…

17:50 – 18:30. 856 words (5237 total). Nope, checked my dates and I can move this chapter to the day after. Excellent. The Doctor is in, and the world is about to come crashing down on him. Time to take a break, and whack some dinner together. I must find things to stir and fry.

20:15 – 21:40. 1783 words (7020 total). I almost didn’t come back after dinner, but I’m so glad I did. The chapter is finished, after fast becoming one of those where characters take over and write themselves. I think it was David Gemmell who once said in an interview that whenever he didn’t know what happened next in a story he just sat two characters down next to each other and got them arguing. He’s probably not the first to say something like that, because it’s a true thing. In this case, the conversation was a verbal sparring match that took the scene all the way to where it needed to go. Another chapter that was just a pleasure to write.

So today I slightly exceeded my target, adding 7020 words to the manuscript. It’s more than I accomplished on any given day last week, and keeps me on target. The December Book is now 83,413 words long.

Tomorrow’s going to be a bit hellish, as I’ve a 04:00 wake up call in order to get Eva to the train station and her school trip group for 05:30. I’ve no idea what state I’ll be in to write after that. I’ll just have to sit down and see what happens, which is no different from usual I suppose.

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  1. maryrajotteNovember 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Oh man, I need to write a story that includes a Police Special Caffeine Division! 🙂

  2. Richard WrightNovember 11, 2013 at 9:54 pmAuthor

    The PSCD, yes. It needs to have adventures. Go to it!

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