As part of my job I often spend a fair chunk of time talking to different types of people face to face (I dispense prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses if you’re desperate to know). It often means I get to hear a lot about what these people do for a living. I workmate was mid dispense with somebody yesterday and called me over as the fellow was a writer too.
He wrote war stories. I asked him if this took a lot of research to which he said it did but military history was part of his previous job.
He then told me that he tries to keep away from a computer as much as possible during the writing process. He always keeps a card file with his characters in and refers to that as he goes along typing. Apparently this helps him because he’s not searching through files on a hard drive when he’s wondering what each character would do.
Thinking about it that’s really good advice. This might be worth considering for book two if I get around to it.
We wished each other luck with our individual projects and I got back to work.
Upon checking my Twitter feed this morning as Scotland bubbles under uncharacteristically 28c heat I am told it’s National Writing Day. Whilst it’s not over yet it also isn’t looking like I’ll add more to my word count today. I have however written something and it’s extremely important. My book now has a title after the last 15 months of having a blank space at the start.
‘The One Who Left’.
It’s clicking into place now.
Whilst I’m writing chunks of the final stretch of the book (46,000 words as of about five minutes ago so cheers for asking) I’ve had a thought to try and encourage some conversation down in the comments section right there. Mainly because it’ll reduce that crushing, lonely feeling all too common with writers.
As I’ve said before I sat with a notebook and planned out every single character and progress of this story. I went as far as having two page question and answer sessions with each character individually. As I got underway I had the idea of sitting with my laptop on one side of the desk and this notebook by my side as a reference. The initial few chapters went past without the book though, as did the few after that. It was then that I found myself really just making it up as I went along, going off on some superb tangents. Some story ideas I’ve thought of on the spur and they’ve gone in as a trial. Characters have shifted roles because the flow of the story seemed to suit a change better. I’ll probably suffer a lot when I come to editing this thing but for now it feels great.
So my question to you all dear writers is this. Do you stick with your original plan or do you let the story go wild? What results do you get from doing it your way? As all those YouTube kids are saying ‘Let me know down in the comments’.
Something struck me today when I was adding to the word count. A whole lot of stuff that’s gone into this so far is sub par first draft stuff and it’s often been a bit of a slog getting through it all knowing that it’s pretty rubbish. Whilst there’s always the idea that I’m going to go back and sharpen up everything later there is still that whole quagmire to get through.
What struck me today though is that it’s like painting a picture but this part is just the pencil outline. Whilst it might have the feel of an image when this part is done it’ll still need shade and colour added to make it presentable.
I’m not sure why but it made me feel far better about the whole thing.
As of today I’m 45,000 words in so around 10,000 left to go. With the ending rapidly speeding into view I’ve had a lot to think about. This in turn has an effect on a lot of the early chapters that I was writing over a year ago. For now the story seems to be rounding off quite well.
It’s probably a big mistake to start thinking about new projects before you’ve finished the current one but, as I get towards the end of this story, I’m doing exactly that.
Writing another book will really depend on how well this one goes. This entire blog was created at a time when I was writing a short play and U haven’t written another one since. I’m proud of giving it a go and happy it got performed but I’m not sure bothering a stage again is in the future.
Same goes with a short film. I wrote one, it got made and I have yet to return to the format.
Essentially I seem to be trying a hand at any given medium and seeing what sticks.
Next might be a game. A lovely, story driven downloadable game. We’ll see what shape that takes as the time comes.
Everything must change.
I’m getting towards the end of this first draft and asking myself what exactly are the changes in each character’s outlook after the events that take place? How does rhus situation make them view the world differently?
For some it doesn’t seem that much. My police officer currently seems really passive. The story just seems to happen around him and he’s just three reacting to everything rather than any decision he makes driving things forward. It’s the main problem I’ve identified so far.
But maybe it’s a bad idea to get hung up on the process right now, not until U’ve been able to write THE END anyway.
Another 1000 words down.
Now I’m rapidly getting to the stage when I have to decide between two endings. One makes no sense but is quite exciting whilst the other is logical and boring. A nice combination of the two might be where we strike it if such a thing is at all possible.
In other news I found the notebook I used when planning this book early last year. I have seemingly ignored pretty much all the groundwork I did. I may regret this in a big way very soon.
Home stretch is just about there though. Not long now.
My town needs a name.
All the while I’ve been writing this book I’ve never given the town itself anything like a name. It remains in my head something of a combination of my home town of Gretna and Pittenweem in Fife. These two places are separated by 150 miles or so in actual geographical terms but I’m taking the tourism and hotel bars of Gretna and mixing it with the harbour and seafront of Pittenweem. Whilst it works quite well as a slice of Scotland it seems odd that it doesn’t really have a sense of place yet due to lacking anything of a name.
I’ve been experimenting by coming up with a Scottish sounding place name and then Googling it to make sure it doesn’t exist. I haven’t found one so far.
I’m also thinking that the place name may also be the title of the book itself.