A couple of months ago, I finished up at a dayjob to see what I can make of a full year of writing full time. I’m keeping track of during these Friday blogs (well, usually it’s on Friday), and previous installments are racked up here.
It’s hard to concentrate on 2013 at the moment, because no matter how I struggle I keep getting dragged back into 1828. That’s when The Flesh Market is set. I finished the first draft of the novel a week ago, and have been deep in edits since then. It’s the first major project of the freelance year, a book I’ll be publishing myself at the end of January, and that it’s complete hasn’t actually sunk in. Whatever else comes of this year spent writing, a novel was finished that might have taken months (or years) longer if I’d been writing around the edges of dayjobbery.
The edits are a consuming chore, and very technical. I’m not reading the story, I’m just going line by line through the words. Phrasing, punctuation, word choice. I’m not the sort of writer who demands that my prose be a beautiful work of art, which reflects my preferences as a reader I suppose. What I want is for the writing to get out of the way of the story. I want it to be invisible.
Making it so gives me a headache, and sucks away my will to do anything else at all (which is why this Friday blog is happening on Sunday). Still, nearly there. Once I’ve done this bit, I’ll read through the whole novel less precisely and try to make sure the story works, then send it off for better editing and some additional opinion (certain people will be receiving emails about that in the morning). I’m accelerating the usual process considerably, because of that late January deadline. Four of twelve months of this year will have passed by then, and I don’t want to leave it any later before the first project is launched.
I’m a little behind where I wanted to be on edits, but only by a two or three days. At the same time, I’m ahead of the game on the cover of the book, which already exists in draft form and is just being tweaked and played with. You won’t see it for while, but I’m very happy with what Emma, who handled my last few covers, has got. I’m being a bigger pain as a client than previously, requesting lots more small changes than usual, and that perhaps comes from still being in the heart of the book myself.
As though this wasn’t busy enough, tomorrow I’ll be embarking on a twenty day novel. The loose process I used to finish the first draft of The Flesh Market was so effective that I want to see how it goes on a whole novel. I’ll be blogging daily as before, and hope some of you will follow along. In the end though, it doesn’t matter who is or isn’t reading. The blog made me feel accountable while I finished off The Flesh Market, to myself if nobody else, and that was extremely motivating.
It’s going to be quite a challenge. There’s a lot of other things happening in the next few weeks. I have a half marathon that I’ve under trained for in December, and on the 19th I’m jetting off for a break over Xmas. That vacation gives me a hard deadline. My twenty days will be working days, Monday to Friday, and the last of the twenty is also the day I fly out of India. Nothing like a hard deadline. If you want to follow that novel-in-progress along, pop back tomorrow and we’ll begin.
In other news, book sales have been dreadful this month. Really poor. I don’t see any reason why they’ll pick up again before The Flesh Market sees the light of day, which is all the more reason to get that moving, but you never know. It may be that the competition from big publishing is too intense at this time of year. Lots of big hitters are coming out for the festive market, and readers only have so much time and money. For the next month or two though, barring surprises, I’ve no money coming in worth talking about.
Oh, and I’m also still working on the three novellas I’ll be releasing next summer, The 52 project, and three other opportunities that have cropped up. It’s good to be this busy, but working out what to prioritise on any given day can be a bit of a nightmare. That’s another reason why blogging along on the progress of one novel is helpful. It pushes one thing to the fore, and without that everything would constantly be in progress and nothing would ever be finished.