Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Still Life - First Draft




There's a disappointing dearth of Victorian-era top-hat-tipping gifs. So, this'll do.

Done and dusted. 

Still Life weighs in at a healthy 96,372 words. 

This is my tenth full-length novel. 

Of those, four found publishers, two will never see the light of day, and three have been self-published. 

I never really feel much of a high after finishing a novel. Maybe with the first couple, Lucid and Angorichina, because back then I still wasn't sure I could write that many words. It was exhilarating to discover I could. But, nowadays, I recognise it as the end of the beginning, and the start of the editing process. 

This has also changed with time. 

Back in the beginning, I used to be an obsessive continual editor. I'd read back over the chapters I'd written and fiddle with them before writing a few hundred words more.

Nowadays, I write 1,000 a day and I don't look back. It's even changed since Rosy Hours, where I'd pause to go off and do extensive research in between chapters. Now, I'll do cursory research as I go along, but I'm more likely to pop in a placeholder in bold where I know there's something that is crucial to atmosphere but not to plot, and pick it up in the edit. 

Which means more work in the edit, whereas before I'd arrive at the end with a fairly serviceable manuscript. Now, I know there's more to write. 

I read a quote the other day by Shannon Hale, which really summed it up:


I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build sandcastles.


I feel like I've just hacked a giant lump of rock out of a cliff and now I'm going to set about cutting and polishing.

I know this one needs a lot of work. Strong start, strong ending. In the middle, a bit squishy. A sense of nervous anticipation rather than elation. Can't bear to look at it right now. There's a recovery period before you lift the bandage and peer at the wound.

Still, it's a respectable length and an interesting subject. 

It's a bit early to say, but I was thinking to run submissions with this one. 

I'm already tentatively starting the next one. Taking a stab at futuristic sci-fi. Enjoying the imaginative freedom this allows in contrast with historical fiction, where many of the rules are already written. Might be a bit much to edit the past and write the future at the same time, so will probably take a writing break whilst editing. But, for now, it's a pleasant change of pace.

No, I definitely need at least one top hat in this post.




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