What have I done this week; very little. Did about a thousand words of editing yesterday but then had an idea of doing my villain Steven’s Point-Of-View as diary entries. This will help with the plot at the end when he’s unmasked because the hero just has to find his diary to reveal what a nasty villain he is. I think this is a good idea but it does mean I’m going to have to re-write all of Steven’s POV bits. Will do most of the scenes with Steven twice; first from the POV of the person he’s interacting with and then from his own, diary, entry. There is a danger of describing everything, or almost everything, twice that the reader will get bored having heard all the action before. But I think it will round the book out more and give a bigger picture; allowing more characters to come forward and have their say, as it were. Will have to try it anyway. if it doesn’t work I’ll have to spend ages putting it all back the way it was.
Oh dear, have not been doing very well. After the success of finishing my first draft five and a half weeks early I did think I deserved a bit of a break so I took one! haven’t seriously got back into the writing again since. Did a fair bit yesterday but did nothing on Thursday or Friday and missed Wednesday’s check-in. Haven’t been reading any poetry either, did do some research though on the sort of thing that people had in their houses in the early nineteenth century. Enjoyed that. Other than that it’s been a very unproductive week; have managed to do most of the Christmas shopping though!
It occured to me, in the run-up to the festive season, and with all the current financial crisis that we’re all having, that it might be a good time to mention how I got myself out of trouble and managed to stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to money. First I should say that I used to be a terror for shopping (and still can be sometimes); perversely, the less money I had the more I wanted to spend because being poor made me depressed and my way of dealing with that was to buy myself something nice, preferably something shiny and beautiful. But over the years of debt repayments and high interest on my credit cards this sort of thing only ending up making my troubles worse.
The change came when a paper, probably The Times, gave away a free CD by Paul McKenna called ‘Overcome Emotional Spending’. I have listened to this CD only once but it changed me forever. That man is a genius! Because now when I go into shops I think ‘do I really need this or do I just want it?’ The answer is invariably the latter so if I don’t need it I don’t buy it. This means that I no longer pay crippling interest on my credit card, I no longer dread the run-up to Christmas, I don’t have to crawl shame-faced to my husband asking him to bail me out of my latest financial disaster and twice this month I have logged on to my online bank and found (joy of joys!) that there was more money in there than I thought.
Realising that I was buying a load of stuff I didn’t need and looked at for about two seconds really set me free; now I hardly ever buy stuff and feel guilty if I waste money. My bank balance and my soul are both a lot healthier.
What a smug bitch am I! Really good news; I’ve finished the first draft of Emily Swann, a full five and a hlaf weeks ahead of schedule! Feel dead chuffed with myself. No offense to anyone else but I have discovered that when I write, I must write really quickly because I had no trouble, when I was doing NaNoWriMo, completing 2000 words a day, often doing it between noon and 4pm. I always used to feel guilty when I read of some writers who were writing for like eight hours a day or something like that. I very rarely do more that an hour a day so I though I must be the laziest bitch around but my word count keeps climbing up and up so I can’t be doing that badly.
About a month ago I bought ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ by Donald Maass, so now I have my first draft I’m going to use this book to help me polish and edit Emily Swann. I must admit that I hate the editing process, it always smacks of failure to me, like I couldn’t get it right first time. Silly really. Another thing that worries me is that, at the moment, Emily Swann is way too short. It stands at just over 30,000 words. My first novel, Blood Addiction, was only about 45,000 words. I can’t believe I’m going to add about 40,000 words in the process of re-writing so it will probably always be a short novel. That’s another thing that makes me think my work is not good enough because I start to think that if they’re too short it must be because they don’t have depth. I’m never convinced anything I write is ever good enough though I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this.
Well first the bad news. I always suspected that trying to do NaNoWriMo at the same time as another novel was a bridge too far and I was right. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the word count, it was the simple fact that my plot for Dark Nights, Dirty City unravelled as I was typing it and I just got stuck. There was nowhere for the characters to go. So I gave up on that one. The good news is that I have nearly finished the first draft of Emily Swann and have just started writing the grand finale! Estimate that I am about 90% there with that one. At this rate I’ll be finished by the end of November which be be about four weeks ahead of schedule.
Have been completely forgetting to read a poem every day as well so need to get back to doing that. Because I’m not doing the NaNoWriMo thing anymore I will have time to do the blogging thing I’ve been meaning to do instead. Can’t say too much about that at the moment but all will be revealed in due course.
Achievements for the week: –
Thursday – We were out until about 4pm on Thursday so I only managed 970 words on Dark Nights, Deadly City and nothing on Emily Swann. Did read my daily poem though.
Friday – Managed 2055 words on DNDC and 300 on Emily Swann plus poem read.
Saturday – 1951 words in DNDC and 0 on ES. Daily Poem read.
Sunday – 1579 words on DNDC and 0 on ES. Daily Poem read.
Overview. Total for Dark Nights, Dirty City stands at 10,499 which puts me about 500 words ahead of where I should be. It’s not as far ahead as I would like but I mustn’t beat myself up about that because I am still ahead. I tend to focus on the things I don’t do and not what I do achieve. Think positive Janet! Emily Swann is standing at just under 100 sides of paper so it’s nearly 30,000 words. As expected, with the pressure of the NaNoWriMo thing Emily Swann has suffered a bit but not too badly. Still managed to do about 17,500 on it since last Sunday. I’m going to try to aim for 2,000 a week on Emily Swann; which is only about 300 words a day. I want to stay ahead on DNDC because we have a friend coming over for lunch on Wednesday so I won’t be able to do quite so much on that day. Have successfully read at least one poem (and usually more) every day.
The main feeling I’m getting from this is that, although sometimes I’m shattered from the mental concentration, the horrible feeling of apathy has left me. Sometimes I feel I’d rather clean the cooker than write! My resistance to it can be terrible but if I’ve got anything from this NaNoWriMo thing I think it is that it has shattered my resistance to writing. The trouble is I’m such a perfectionist in all the wrong ways; it’s not really writer’s block, it’s just fear of writing crap! And then there’s the ‘what’s the point because no-ones ever going to see it’ attitude to overcome as well.
Right, on Monday I read my daily poem and wrote out (by hand) about 600 words of Emily Swann.
Tuesday I started NaNoWriMo. I even got up early to have plenty of time to get started. I typed 1936 words of my novel Dark Nights, Dirty City on the first day which, even if I say so myself, was damn good! Only managed 250 hand written words on Emily Swann but felt so shattered I couldn’t face doing any more. Did manage to read a poem though.
Today, I typed 2008 words on Dark Nights, Dirty City bringing the grand total to 3944. Haven’t done anything on Emily Swann yet or read a poem but I’m planning to do that after dinner. But everything seems to be going well…so far!