Fifteen Thousand Words

I have actually found the time to write a second post this month! One of the reasons that I started this blog was to get me back into the habit of writing on a regular basis, the discipline of having to write something at least once a month for my blog gives me further incentive to continue writing my novel. It has worked. In my spare moments away from the day job I have pressed on with my book, and have now reached the milestone of fifteen thousand words. It is a key milestone to me, as I imagine this to be about a third of the way to completion.

The story has twisted and turned a great deal so far, I have rewritten characters and subplots and wrestled with both narrative and dialogue – never quite sure if I have got the tone, balance, or subtle inferences correct (let’s not even discuss grammar and syntax!). This novel started life as a playful adventure for me, I began with quite a spring in my step confident that I would reach the summit of my own literary mountain with ease. However, now I am about a third of the way in I am feeling a little out of breath, the upward gradient is becoming a lot steeper than I had expected.

Time has also been ‘wasted’ (other writers will rebuke me for saying that!) by retracing my steps – a necessary precaution to make sure I have taken the correct path with the storyline, and that those little detours along the way were merely distractions and not glaring opportunities to develop the plot in a better way. I know my characters well now, I can talk to them, even be them, when I am writing, though some are still to show their true colours. I have had a real fight with myself over a key part of the plot, which requires the reader and one of the main characters, to suspend disbelief in the improbable and impossible and take something at face value on the evidence staring them right in the face. I’ve negotiated that hurdle, and as I’ve landed on the other side on my lead foot I have accelerated away.

There is still a good way to go, but I am encouraged that this time I have not given up, the finished article is some way off but it is much closer than I could have hoped for after just a few months writing. The climbing and running analogies I’ve used are no accident, as I see the writing process, the creation of a story, development of ideas and characters, very much as an expedition, with different terrains to navigate. At times it feels like a race – a race to get all of the ideas in some semblance of order onto paper, and a race to move the story forward. The next blog post on this topic may well be after Christmas, when I hope to have reached thirty thousand words – about two-thirds of the way to completion. I would love to hear from other writers about how they cope with the daily challenge of trying to write something meaningful.

Image acknowledgment: The Power of Words by Antonio Litterio.

Image acknowledgment: The Power of Words by Antonio Litterio.

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