Sunday, 21 April 2013

A great philosopher once wrote...

naughty, naughty, very naughty

And while this is undoubtedly true, it's also important to remember the words of another great philospher. Well, writer, actually.

"The first draft of anything is shit."

I started a new book at the beginning of March and haven't said much about here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the writing process isn't really that interesting for non-writers. Sitting down everyday and bashing out a few thousand words is sometimes fun for the writer and sometimes, it's a great big pain in the bum. If the story isn't going as the writer imagined, that can slow them down which then feeds self-doubt, and that slows them down even more. But if they want to get their book finished for an agent, editor, publisher or for themselves, they haven't got much choice other than to keep going and get those words down. Even if they're writing shit in that first draft.

That's the second reason I've so far kept quiet about this book. I came up with my usual outline before I wrote a single word and I had a rough idea about my protag and antag (rough since I like them to be able to grow their own way as the story goes on). But then a problem: I didn't know the story. I was telling myself it as much as I'd be telling another person if they asked me what it was about. So several thousand words in and it's not that I'm making it up as I go. It's more that I'm in the middle of a horror story with no bite, a story that's edging towards a thriller but with too few thrills. I had a read through, made some notes and plans for the next few scenes and I kept going. And most importantly, I remembered the quote above. No, not the one from The Shamen. The other one.

And I kept writing.

I passed the 50,000 words mark earlier today. To give you some idea of perspective, I passed 40,000 about a week ago after hitting 30,000 probably two and a half weeks before that. Taking some time to see what I already had and making some fresh notes helped, but not as much as that quote. The book is now in the final twenty to twenty-five thousand words for this draft. I've got a feeling the second draft will add in another twenty or so on top of that, but we'll have to see how that goes. In the meantime, I'll get it done and remember that quote.

By the way, Ernest Hemingway said it. Before he killed himself.

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