Friday, August 16, 2013

Writing a novel: the 50,000 word springboard

I used grammarly to grammar check this post because I write by instinct. And I break the rules all the time. But that's OK; as long as everything's chucked and double-cheeked before it gets out there.

I reached the 50,000 wordcount on my new novel last night. 50,000 is very different to 30,000. At 30,000 or thereabouts (mine came at 44,149 this time) there comes the Wall when the little voice of doubt gets louder and more persistent. This, I have discovered, is pretty normal and many writers have spoken about it. Thankfully. You just have to keep on going through it and refuse to listen to the doubts and negative 'oh yeah?s' 'you think you can do this?' coming from the back of the mind.

So I kept going.

And now I've stopped.

At 50,000 on an 80,000 word novel, the wind-down is about to begin. Unlike the 30,000 feeling, it's a good feeling. All the characters are there, they are beginning to know each other quite well; the story is there, the setting is there. Fresh twists have inserted themselves into the story outline. All being well it should be a sail down towards the end.

All won't be well. Not yet. Now it's time to sit back, see what's there and fix what needs fixing. A main task is to see what is happening in each scene, and if there's not enough happening, if there isn't any story progress, out it must go, or progress added.

I'll be cutting and pasting from the old Master Doc into a new Master Doc that has its chapters, viewpoints, Acts 1, 2 and 3 mapped out.

I've never done multi-viewpoints before. I'm using a template taken from this book:

Novel Writing - 16 Steps to Success by Evan Marshall

If I'd kept on going until 80,000 as originally planned I would really have been writing into the ether for the final run. As long as the scenes are there ready to be filled in, I think taking a run at it from the beginning is definitely the thing to do.

In a Guardian interview with Jim Crace this week, he puts it this way: "When you start a novel it is always like pushing a boulder uphill. Then, after a while, to mangle the metaphor, the boulder fills with helium and becomes a balloon that carries you the rest of the way to the top. You just have to hold your nerve and trust to narrative. it's been with us for thousands of years and has conferred all sorts of advantages, which is why, in Darwinian terms, it has survived."

I'm looking forward to taking part in next week's Awesome Indies Grand Opening Party where I'll be offering the kindle version of my novel The Widow's To Do List free on Amazon.

Back next week with links. Meantime, see the side banner for a selection of fantastic, quality-checked Kindle reads coming up. Here's a little info about the awesome Awesome Indies site:

"The Awesome Indies have found a way to take the risk out of buying indie. If it’s Awesome Indies Approved (AIA), a qualified publishing industry professional has determined that it’s as good as anything produced by the mainstream. Readers need no longer wonder if that book is really worth downloading. If a book is listed on the Awesome Indies, then it’s worth your time."

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