Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 20 Day Novel: Day 9

XmasI’m starting this entry just after midnight, as I can write a little more before I go to bed. Yesterday (a couple of minutes ago) The 20 Day Novel was 28,328 words long. Scrivener would like me to write 5972 words today in order to stay on track. As I mentioned yesterday, 6000 coherent words in a day is not the norm for me, so that’s a little worrying. On the other hand, it’s something to aspire to…

With a head start on the day before I go to bed, I might actually get there. We’ll see.

00:20 – 01:00. 678 words. That chapter is done, and so am I for the night. The first few chapters of the book were mostly set-up, with a few things teased that could play out over time if I revisited them. The last two chapters have defined the direction of act two, giving the whole thing purpose and playing nicely off some of those earlier hints I left myself. I need to go back this weekend and remove a few things I’ve changed my mind about, as well as plant a few new seeds to support some of the choices I’ve made since then. A good day though. A very good day indeed.

And I’m up again. I gave myself a bit of extra time to sleep this morning, which of course meant I was up at half past six. Meh. I’d go back to bed, but that would involve waking up all over again. I didn’t much care for it the first time.

I’m looking forward to Xmas. Actually, I’m looking forward to December 19th, which will be my next proper day off (although I’m not writing this book on the weekends, I’m trying to use those days to attend to everything else). I can’t play the martyr too much, because it will be followed straight away by lots of other days off, lasting until the start of January, and most of them spent in the Philippines and Hong Kong. All of the pressure I’m putting myself under now is in anticipation of those two lazy weeks doing not much of anything at all. On a boat. In the sun. When I’m feeling tired and under pressure, those are pleasing things to picture.

Today’s chapters are the first response to and backlash from yesterday’s change in direction. I don’t know a great deal about these chapters yet. There are a couple of things that need to happen, but the rest is still story soup.

10:30 – 11:30. 826 words (1504 total). One of those scenes where two people who had not intended to wake up in the same bed, wake up in the same bed. Ro is having the worst first week on the job in the history of first weeks on jobs. When I spring the end of this chapter on her she’s going to really hate me.

11:35 – 12:40. 1071 words (2573 total). Touch wood, but a good run so far. A little more to do before this chapter ends, and I may have spent too much of it letting characters get to know each other better when I should have had them on the move for the next bit. I’ll find out when I get back. For now, lunch, and some staring into space.

14:15 – 14:55. 764 words (3337 total). Another chapter down. It began with aching embarrassment, and ended up with an armed confrontation. I also have a fair idea of how the next chapter goes. I have to confess I’m very tired this afternoon, but the words are still happening in the right order, so that’s okay.

15:45 – 16:20. 679 words (4016 total). If I can get this new chapter done, which is full of briefings and mysteries, then that should take me to where I need to be before I finish. I wish I was done. I want to sink into a hot bath and make pasta.

Not simultaneously, obviously.

16:30 – 17:20. 703 words (4719 total). People barking orders! People running around in panic and confusion! This stuff is always easy. It’s the set up that takes time. Only taking a break now because I need to catch the shop. Back soon.

18:00 – 19:20 (while also chopping things and making dinner). 1173 words (5892 total). No time to chat. Family movie time. Will return to do last hundred words before midnight!

So, I watched Man of Steel. Why? Why didn’t you tell me?


Oh, that’s right, Jackie B did. Thank you Jackie B.


Dear Christ, it was awful. And I’m a major geek for this sort of thing. I found redeeming features in Daredevil, for god’s sake.

Luckily we’ve got The Lone Ranger to watch tomorrow. That should be good…

Anyway, back to work. I think I’m going to eviscerate a character now.

I mean seriously. Man of Steel. Are you kidding me with this?

No, sorry. Back to work. For all of ten minutes I suspect, just to nudge this day over the line.

22:30 – 22:45. 198 words (6090 total). A few words of interrogation to kick start a new chapter, and I’m hanging up my hat for the day.

Today I cobbled together 6090 words into a couple of chapters and change, bringing the manuscript up to 34,418 words. It’s the first time this week that I’ve actually achieved in a day what I set out to accomplish, so that’s a relief. Still, I’ve lost a lot of ground since the weekend and could still do with considerably exceeding my daily count a couple of times to start catching up again. Meh.

Tomorrow is another day, and all that.

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