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).

This entry was posted in Novel, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Novel 0.5

  1. Crashing Elliptical says:

    I really loved the short story you linked to, remided me a bit of Salinger and maybe a little of Paul Auster in style. I had my suspicions about how it would end (your subtle clues I guess), but I like how you got there with it. Was it a conscious decision to write as a male character, or did it just work out that way? You have a real talent for this writing lark!

    • Chantal Chantal says:

      Thank you, that means a lot. I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a wall with the novel at the minute, so some reassurance that my writing might be okay is very much appreciated and helps with the motivation.

      Even though I’ve owned The Catcher In The Rye for about 20 years, I’ve never actually read it, but maybe I should at some point (assuming I do still have it somewhere). Paul Auster’s kinda similar, actually, in that I’ve had The New York Trilogy on my Amazon wishlist for years, but never gotten round to getting it or reading anything else of his. So any similarities are very much accidental, but I am now very curious (and also flattered).

      Choosing a male character for that story wasn’t a particularly conscious decision – it just felt right for the story, I guess. I’ve often written male lead characters, actually, now I think about it. There’s probably some degree of subconscious conditioning there – associating certain types of characters and stories with men. Patriarchy an’ all that. Hmm… Interesting. I am more consciously trying to combat that now, but I’m sure those influences and stereotypes still sneak in here and there.

Leave a Reply