Novel 0.5

It’s been 3 months since my last update and the novel’s hit an interesting point. In terms of word count, I’m up to 46,187, so a comfortable half-way, if not slightly more, but in terms of plot I’m almost at the end. Bit of a problem?

I’ve been so keen to get the main plot down, that I’ve gone from A to B to C as quickly as possible, without building in much detail or nuance. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing (at least this is what I’m telling myself). The bare bones are there now, I just need to add some meat to them.

I’ve decided to use May as a month for reflecting, planning, brainstorming, structuring, and many other synonyms. I need to look at what I’ve got and what’s missing. Easier said than done. I had visions of mapping it all out on bits of paper, though also started trying to construct a spreadsheet to achieve a similar thing (as I do love a spreadsheet). I still might make use of those methods, though I’ve also downloaded a free trial of the Scrivener software and worked through the tutorial last weekend. It looks really helpful and like it should provide me with the tools to organise all my disparate thoughts; to sensibly track things like character development, themes etc.; plus view the novel at different levels of abstraction. It’s then my aim to get a full first draft done by the end of the year.

In terms of what’s there so far, I’m mostly quite pleased with it. I think. Mostly. At least some of the time. There are some good bits, or good phrases at least, I think. Writing’s fun, eh?

One thing that I have really enjoyed about the process is when I open up the document to write, I get to be surprised by reading the last part I wrote. Yes, I’ve often forgotten what I wrote just a day earlier (which is possibly concerning). On a couple of occasions I’ve been greeted by an unexpected penis (this is the only situation in which that’s actually acceptable), though other favourites have included the phrases ‘bisexual Oedipal shit’ (no, I’m not going to add any context to that) and ‘I felt like I was in a Pulp song’.

Re-reading your own work is always slightly nerve-wracking: What if it’s just really awful? But then it’s so wonderful when you’re pleasantly surprised. I re-read a short story of mine not long ago (this one, if you’re curious) and was surprised by how much I still liked it. Not that it’s as good as it could be – I feel like I’d write it better now – but again that’s a positive thing. I also spotted a typo, which bugged me, but I’m too lazy to fix it and re-upload the PDF. I should really add more short stories to the website though; I’ve got more recent ones squirreled away – I might do that soon (if they pass the re-reading test, of course).

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