So, Charlotte, how’s the novel going?
May 4, 2011 § 18 Comments
I have no blog posts prepared. Nothing saved, nothing drafted. Nothing.
Reprehensible, I know. But in my defence, this is because I am working flat out on Ye Olde Novel Project now (so termed because it’s been going since last December and nearly six months is feeling like a long, long time). I’m writing at least 3000 words every morning. Around that I’m finishing up the final assignment for the study course I’m on, working on the story for an upcoming fantasy webcomic (more on that soon), designing clothes and making the damn things too, creating a Regency costume, trying to read more and (as of this week) planning my move overseas in July.
My brain feels like a burnt-out car engine.
That being the case, there isn’t a lot of creative juice left for Blogville. Quite a few people have been kind enough to ask how Ye Olde Novel Project is going, however, so I figured I’d half-cheat and answer that question here today.
Update #1: I’ve been telling people I’m two-thirds of the way through for about the last two months.
This is because I have been about two-thirds of the way through for the last two months. I have broken all my solemnly-vowed precepts about not going back and editing/re-writing while the draft is still incomplete. To be fair to my poor guilt-ridden self, this is because I suffered a flash of inspiration about a character (a major character) that had been eluding me for many a long week. This was great, except that I couldn’t continue writing about this character without going back and working her story through from the beginning.
So, I decide to accept this. I wrote some new opening chapters while I was at it, copied everything hand-written onto the computer (and rewrote about 75% of it) and inevitably edited up a bunch of the other stuff too. As of this week I’ve caught up with myself. I’m now finally getting started on writing the last bit, which ought to be around 40k words but hey, who knows at this point.
On the one hand I’m annoyed that this happened, as it feels like it cast about eighty spanners into the works (that’s wrenches, for you American folks). On the other hand, it means quite a bit of the inevitable rewriting and editing I’d have to do later is already done, so I can hope for a slightly shorter editing process to make up for it.
Lesson: Rules exist to be broken, even the ones you Solemnly Swear you will Live By For Eternity.
Update #2: I have no idea what I’m writing anymore.
I mean, I do. It’s a work of fantasy. I could even narrow that down to, say, high fantasy, because there are heroes and villains and something vaguely approaching an Epic Quest (sort of), there’s some magic floating about and world-rearranging events going on.
There’s also a mystery happening, some elements of the thriller, strong elements of the romance and at this point I’m having terrific fun writing the weirdest things I can come up with and I don’t think there’s a box for that at all. Writing a synopsis and trying to stick a label on it is going to be hell. And don’t even get me started on the problem of picking a title.
Lesson: Um, genre is for pansies?
Update #3: I’ve been having fun making up a lot of weird animal species. Today I was sewing and I started musing on what a stuffed toy olifer would look like. Purple and grey striped hide, long nose, fat body. Could be cute. I was tempted to make a pattern for it right then and there. Impulses like these will have to be ruthlessly stamped on if I’m going to reach the end of the draft at all.
Instead, I’m turning it into an Incentive Programme. When I reach the end of the draft, I get to make a whole crew of stuffed toy animals. And I am allowed to post them all here. It will be part of the after-draft party (this is like a one-person wrap party for writers).
Lesson: Try not to have the attention span of a butterfly. No, you can’t make a butterfly plushie either.
Update #4: I have consumed about a ton of chocolate and approximately eighty-five gallons of tea during the writing of this novel. Fun fact.
Lesson: Try to stop eating chocolate or you’ll weigh about 300 pounds by the end of the edit. There’s a good girl.
Update #5: Novel-writing is definitely the most gruelling process I’ve put myself through. It goes on week after endless week and I feel at this moment like I’ll never get to the end.
But somehow, I love it to death.
Lesson: Maybe I can do this after all.
Update #6: OH YES this is an important one. I have a cover artist.
Not just any cover artist but a seriously damn good one. It’s one of those pieces of serendipity that sometimes happen. I won’t say any more about this yet because in due course there’ll be a flurry of blog posts about this and related topics. THERE’LL BE COLOUR. Oh yes.
Lesson: Good things happen sometimes. No, really. They do.
Update #7: When I get a panic on I start listening to ‘City’ by Sara Bareilles. I’ve listened to it about eighteen times a day for the past week, and it’s still the most seriously beautiful song in existence.
Lesson: Music is a blessing.
Update #8: When one’s head feels on the verge of explosion, there’s nothing like air and sunlight and swarming insects to rejuvenate the mental processes. In the midst of the chaos of Chapter Twenty-Two I took a walk. Here is the bluebell knoll I paused to admire.
And here is the horse that tried to eat me for the apples I was carrying:
Lesson: Never carry apples when visiting horses. No, not even if you’re only planning to pass them from a distance of a hundred yards. They can smell apples from the other side of the city.
That’s it for this week. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in my tower, right at the top, behind the locked-and-double-barred door. Inside there’ll be a computer, a treasure chest full of chocolate, a magic self-filling teapot, and me.