Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 20 Day Novel: Day 6

Tiny MenI think the little men who live outside my fourth floor window might be packing up. I will miss their endless scraping and banging, and their inexplicable chainsaws. I may even be a little lonely.

Up early this morning in order to make myself as impoverished as humanly possible through the twin means of Amazon and Xmas. Eva spent the weekend on Amazon, scouring for additions to her Christmas list. Those little numbers next to those funny currency signs mean very little to me daughter.

It worked, too. I’m now very poor indeed.

I’d better write some books to sell, I suppose.

Picking up from Monday, The 20 Day Novel is currently 18,883 words long. That’s pretty fair, for five days work, but also a little less than I’d prefer at this stage. That’s no surprise – this book is terribly unplanned, so has needed a little extra time to find its shape. Act one of five is pretty much done though, and the direction now is clear. I’ve quite a lot of characters to follow through with, which means there’s a lot still to fill out in order to justify them turning up in the first place.

I finished chapter seven on Friday, so am opening up chapter eight this morning. Scrivener says that I should probably try and complete 5407 words today if I want to avoid losing more ground. That’s about two chapters.

Let’s go.

11:00 – 12:10. 1033 words. This is the bit where serious problems start to emerge for one character, and those are what’s going to drive the whole plot through chaos and calamity. Charlie has a decision to make, and he’s going to get it very wrong.

12:30 – 13:00. 414 words (1447 total). Slowed right down for this bit. It navigates difficult emotional waters – they aren’t the tricky bit, so much as grounding them in an actual working scene is. Going to go and pick up something for dinner, then come back to it.

Back, and with a better idea of how this scene goes.

For all the good it did me. As I typed the above, a call from my driver to tell me he’d been in an accident at the front of our block, so I had to go and deal with that. Not our car’s fault at all (he was undertaken as he was turning off a roundabout), although the two young Indians in the other car offered some creative interpretations of the traffic rules to demonstrate their innocence. Round two when I speak to them tomorrow, but it will basically involve them getting very excited and me hanging up a lot. Still, if I had specifically asked for something to come along and completely disrupt my afternoon, it is difficult to see what could improve on that.

15:30 – 16:30. 462 words (1909 total). Meh. Today is going down the toilet. Still distracted by that car accident, which is just annoying. Also, this keeps going through my head. At this stage it’s almost inconceivable that one of the fatalities not yet named isn’t a guy Kirsty and I worked with for several years when we were in Glasgow, and one of the serious hospital cases certainly is. There’s no point even hoping for the best, really. Such a random and senseless thing to happen – there isn’t really a way to properly process it. It’s all too bizarre. Our thoughts and hopes are obviously with those caught up in it and their families, but like so many others we’re sitting here feeling pretty useless. It’s a little heartening to read about so many people putting themselves in harm’s way to help on the night.

It’s odd trying to get on with ordinary stuff, sensing how many other friends and colleagues must be feeling.

17:30 – 18:45. 774 words (2683 total). Well, I’m not decided yet but it’s difficult to see myself getting much more done today. One chapter, instead of two, and I’m even further behind. I need a couple of big days now, to balance things out. Maybe I’ll come back to this a bit later. I won’t close it off yet, just in case.

Nah, we’re definitely done. Today stands as evidence that you can run to the other side of the world and lock yourself in a room, but the real world’s still gonna getcha…

A measly 2683 words added to The 20 Day Novel, bring the total to 21,566 words. I have to confess to a little worry now. There have been too many days like this, which means the daily count of words I need to produce to finish before Xmas is growing beyond what I can reasonably maintain over several days. Tomorrow I’m going to have to try and do an extra couple of thousand words over and above whatever Scriv tells me I need to complete to get things back down again, which would make it the biggest writing day of the year…

If I were a plumber, I would be looking at the project and sucking air between my teeth while shaking my head sorrowfully.

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