Trucking along well last week then I got quite sick for a couple of days and didn’t write. But the time wasn’t totally wasted. While slumping around the house or lying in bed, I spent a lot of time thinking about the upcoming big scene, even though I didn’t have the energy to actually write it.
Then yesterday, a Saturday, my family went out and I stayed home because I still wasn’t completely well. After mooching around all morning in a lonely sort of way, I watched a comedy skit show on TV that really perked up my mood. It’s a bit ironic, because the scene I wanted to write was dramatic and violent and sad, but laughing for half an hour really gave me the energy to write.
I left the TV on and spent nearly three hours – by far my longest session – writing the end of Chapter Two and the start of Chapter Three. Because I’d been thinking about it, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted to say. Because I was still tired and sick and watching TV at the same time (mainly a marathon session of X-factor, a reality singing competition very similar to, say Australian/American Idol), I wrote very slowly. About 1800 words in just under three hours.
Despite the slow word rate, I am very happy with the session. I only stopped when my shoulder started to ache – I have RSI issues which is why I don’t have a full-time desk job any more – but I got the planned material written. And next I have another big scene to write, so that is exciting.
Getting started on this novel was really hard. You have to introduce characters and your world without being boring, and somehow get them started on the path to adventure. I’m sure when I go back and edit, that first chapter will need the most work. But now that the actual “story” is happening, it is going well.
It’s been a great writing week. I already talked about Monday; it’s now Friday and I’ve written every day.
On Tuesday I went back to the café for another 1400 or so words. On Wednesday the weather was miserable and I decided to try again to write at home as that was most convenient, and finally I was able to make that work. Another hour and a half with a similar result of about 1400 words. I think I was floundering around a lot right at the start so that any extra difficulty made it impossible to write, but now I am well into Chapter Two with a good idea of where I am going so it takes a bit more to derail me.
Speaking of which, on Thursday I was feeling very out of sorts and mooched around a lot in a cranky sort of way. I finally gave writing half an hour in the afternoon and added a couple of hundred words, inserted here and there.
Today I stayed home yet again (well below freezing weather during the night and still too cold to enjoy leaving the house in the morning), sat down with my laptop more or less first thing after getting the kids off to school, another 1107 words in 90 mins.
So I have proved to myself I can do it, I can write whether in the “perfect” café, or a quiet library, or at home (as long as I am here alone). Now I need to work on getting in more than 90 mins in each session. My original plan was 2-3 hours a day so I am not up to that yet. But I am really happy that I have written every day this week, even when I was grumpy and didn’t want to and didn’t get a lot done. Consistency is everything.
The story is progressing well. Unexpected side-plots keep emerging and I have to make sure I don’t give them more attention than the main story. But I get very interested in this person or that person.
I haven’t decided yet who will die in the first big crisis. It might be a literal case of “murder your darlings”. Some people already have a role planned for later, but other characters are place-holders at the moment, waiting to have their lives developed. I have to make myself (and the reader) involved enough to care when they die, otherwise they might as well not exist in the first place.
I wrote for an hour at home, between unpacking and washing all the dirty clothes and shopping etc. 640 words.
I am not entirely happy with my writing, the words on the page, but I am convincing myself to push on instead of fixing and polishing at this stage – only halfway through chapter one! The time for editing is later. This is the time to get the ideas down. I’m particularly conscious that I am just laying it all out there in a fairly bare framework: this happened then this happened and then he said this which explains how magic works etc. But I’ll beautify it in the next round.
Also still struggling to do more than an hour a day, or even to sit down to work at all. I let everything else distract me. But a bit every day will get it done eventually.