Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Halfway house

I may have got chapter 8 done and dusted yesterday, as ended up writing until past midnight on a bit of a roll. It’s a short chapter though, as it really sets the scene for chapter 9, which is a bit more long and involved. This week I really should be on chapter 9 already according to the grand plan, so hopefully I am now back on schedule.

Overall I’ve wrote 32,000 words (exactly, which I was rather excited about last night, but then again it was pretty late), and am on page 71, so its beginning to look like a proper novel now. The white board behind me has post it notes stuck to the top reminding me of things I should pop back and add to earlier chapters, and I am surrounded in general by old newspapers, Picture Posts, books from the 40’s and 50’s, my Top Twenty book with charts from 1955 onwards (I love this book, it is so helpful) and of course, my notebooks and other papers with the Chapter Plan and other helpful bits on them.

Here is a snapshot of my whiteboard,
as you can see chapter 7 turned into a bit of a bugger.

One thing I love creating with any story is an ‘age’ plan – it is like a giant table with all the characters, even the peripheral ones, and how old they are ‘in relation to each other’ in any given year. I have always done this plan with everything I have ever wrote, I love doing it for some reason. I love to know exactly how old the characters are at any given moment in time. This plan also has birthdays on, and usually I go so far to put months, eg Florence is 23 and 4 months whilst Arthur is 25 and 6 months, for example. It helps me so much to keep track of everyone, and I guess helps me build a complete picture of the character. I also add in the book’s important events to the age plan, just so I can see at a glance how old everyone is at that particular time.

So, all in all, I guess I am halfway. I would say it is harder than I thought to be continually motivated to write, even though I use plenty of tricks such as my project manager pal keeping me inline, other friends reading it as it goes – but this is more to do with uncertainty about what happens after, I suppose. I am guessing it is probably easier once you are commissioned, as then its part of a process, which sounds horribly factory like, but that is fine with me as long as it’s a creative process, and the creativity part isn’t compromised. It would probably also help if I wasn’t so stressed with something, completely unrelated, but this whole year has been a bit of an anxious time for me, in many ways… anyway, enough of that, back to book. I also worry a bit about exercise, and getting headaches from staring at the computer – my problem sometimes can be finding a balance. But don’t get me wrong, I love this, and I cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be, or anything else I would rather be doing. Hooray!

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