Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 20 Day Novel: Day 16 (pt. II)

BackSo it’s time to forget all about the sun, the sea, the gentle rocking of boats, and get back to work. There’s a lot going on. With one hand I’m prepping Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow for release over the weekend, and sorting out a few details of Hiram Week with the rest of the gang. With the other hand I’m combing over edits to The Flesh Market, and am expecting to have a fair bit of work on that to do this week when the editor gets back to me. With the third hand…

Ah. I see. I may have to write the rest of The 20 Day Novel with something else. Picture me smashing my face repeatedly against the keyboard and hoping for the best.

I’m also giving up smoking this week, for the eleventh-seventh time. For variety’s sake I’m wearing patches – haven’t used those in ages, and they’re always fun. They’re twenty-four hour ones, and the low dose of a stimulant through the night produces extraordinarily vivid dreams. Better yet, I actually remember them in the morning. Nothing to do with writing – dreams are incoherent things not really suited to storytelling – but they entertain me. Last night I signed up to do a Phd, and took up residence on a stunning Scottish island. I can picture the golden sun on gorse and bracken really clearly. An old friend – Jen Howell – had arranged it for me for some reason. I remember feeling guilty because I had no intention of working on a thesis like I’d promised. I was going to write books, and was bluffing frantically about my purpose and qualifications.

I look forward to what tonight brings.

Right then. It’s cold here in Delhi, and dusk and dawn are a smoggy nightmare. Perfect time to be shut up in a study writing away. I’ve so far done fifteen days of writing on the book, and reached 61,636 of what I still think is going to be a be in the region of 100,000 words. I’m pretty relaxed about the likelihood of the book taking longer than twenty days to write. it shouldn’t be much longer. However, for the sake of consistency and tracking (and so Scrivener doesn’t feel its efforts are wasted), I would apparently need to write 7715 words today in order to stay on track and finish on Saturday. Uh uh. Isn’t going to happen. In fact, it will probably be a particularly slow day as I work my way back into the rhythm of the book, and get distracted by the other two projects. If I can finish off a chapter I’ll be plenty happy.

11:00 – 12:35. No words. So far, all I’ve done is re-read the last three chapters. I left off last time just before the Act 2 climax kicks off, halfway through chapter twenty-six, so I need to have the order of things solidly established in my head. It’s all looking good though, and this is a good place to jump back in. A great deal is about to go wrong for Roberta. Again.

A break, to let things settle, have lunch, and say hello to Kirsty who has popped home. Not going to get much done today, I’m afraid – I have to pop out and meet up with someone at three. Still, if I can at least finish this one chapter…

13:40 – 14:20. 586 words. Really, really slow going. Today is more or less falling apart around my ears. Am off to have a shave before I pop out.

And when I got back from that, Hiram Grange tapped me on the shoulder and demanded my attention. You don’t say no to Hiram Grange. He has an enormous Webley. Going back to this novel now, but the day is fast disappearing, and the lack of cigarettes is making it difficult to settle.

 17:00 – 18:00. 454 words (1040 total). Oh dear. This is like pulling teeth. I’m going to cut my losses and quit there for the day. I don’t know whether it’s stopping smoking, too many other distractions, or just the expected crawl of finding my way back into the story. Probably a mixture of all three. I got to the end of that chapter though, and know how the next goes. Fingers crossed that tomorrow is a little more useful. If there’s one good thing about today it’s that I feel connected to the book again.

The novel is now 62,457 words long. With my reading done, I’ll try for a much earlier start tomorrow, and see if I can push this on a couple of chapters before the end of the day.

While I’m writing this novel, I’m also preparing to release another called The Flesh Market in February 2014. A story of science, murder, obsession, and the walking dead, the book creeps between the slums of 19th century Edinburgh and the ivory towers of its academia. In the next couple of weeks, well before the book is released, I’ll be giving everybody signed up to my email newsletter a free ebook copy for their Kindles, Nooks, smartphones, etc. At the top right of this page is a ‘Newsletter Signup’ box. Stick your email in and you’re done. Your details will never be passed on, to anybody, ever. Thanks!

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