Edinburgh, gaslight, murder, obsession, and the walking dead.
With only a chapter and a half left to complete on The December Book by the end of Friday, I couldn’t force myself to take the weekend off. I didn’t work too hard – a chapter on Saturday, and a half chapter to finish yesterday morning – but it’s done. The final word tally, for those among you afflicted with OCD who might do yourselves harm if I leave it unsaid, was 104,600.
The book has been in process for about three years, but more than half of it was written in the last two weeks. That’s been an educational experience. Of course, during those three years I’ve done a lot of thinking, and it could well be that without all that cogitation and the decisions and ideas that came about during it, I wouldn’t have been able to write the second half so quickly. It’s often said (by writers) that a great deal of the time spent writing a novel has nothing to do with the keyboard, and a great deal to do with staring out the window. I had all of that staring done and dusted by the time I sat down a couple of weeks ago, and that may have smoothed things along.
Or perhaps that’s just an excuse? It bothers me, that it might be. Could I have written this novel sooner if I’d not allowed myself to procrastinate so much? I’ll never know, because this book is its own thing. What I can do is see what happens if I take the approach of the last couple of weeks and apply it to a new book. I have one that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and even started a few years ago. I know the concept – the one-line elevator pitch – very well, and have a decent idea of some of the big arcs of the story. The detail is a mystery to me though. On Monday, I’m going to reread the decent first chapter, scrap the ridiculous second, and push on. I’m going to see if I can get the first draft done in twenty working days.
I’ll be blogging through my days on that book too, just as I have with The December Book. If you’re interested, feel free to swing by and follow along. Keeping a sort of diary through the day has been immensely valuable in switching to the new way of working, and I think that has to do with accountability. It doesn’t really matter whether anybody is reading or not. The blog has made me accountable to myself, and that’s kept me coming back to the keyboard each day until the right number of words existed. Doing it again should bed the process in, and by the time I’m done it will hopefully be a proper habit. So, The 20 Day Novel starts next week.
As for The December Book, I’ll be taking this week to reread and edit it – turning it into The Flesh Market in the process – and then hopefully off to an editor. I still want to have it ready to publish at the end of January (doing so is a pretty vital part of this freelance year).
Today though, I’m catching up on things I’ve neglected during Book Time (which is like bullet time, with less karate and more typing). I’ve a fortnight’s email to catch up on, for a start. Sorry if anybody’s been waiting for a reply to something.
How do I feel, with the first novel manuscript of the freelance year under my belt? Satisfied, definitely, but it’s not like the movies. No parties or fireworks. I’ve completed a major project, but just as it was when I dayjobbered, the next one is just around the corner. It’s still only the second month of this freelance year.
This is a great start, but only the start.