Wednesday, 9 July 2014

writing 100,000 words

I've had this story kicking around my head for a while now. Not tens of years like you hear some writers have, but for a while. I've got to know the characters, I lay awake at night realising that something is happening in the story that I didn't expect.

I am loving writing this story. But the thing I find really weird about it is that, although it all comes out of my imagination (which must be a mucky and twisted place), I don't know what's going to happen!

It first came into being through the first homework of my first writing group. We had to write something which really focused on place. I had already imagined my two main characters, although at that point they didn't really have names. But I didn't have a really firm idea of the place that they were in.

I concentrated on the place, and it was there, rising out of my imagination rather like the beautiful clockwork vision at the beginning of Game of Thrones.

I sketched out a rough map, which I've included here, because it's changed since this (and this is, basically the Isle of Man, which is sooooo not where it's set).

My heroine was based in Chaptershill, and I described the city, which is a little bit like Edinburgh Old Town/Robin Hood's Bay/Staithes, but surrounding a hill, bare at the top.

This was my first ever paragraph:
The high hill of Chaptershill could be seen for miles around, rising out of the plain, the city creeping up its sides. Buildings, the dark grey stone of the local rock seemed to have grown, rather than have been built, one atop the other. Vertiginous drops from high windows, with stairs rising all over the hill, branching off from each other like white roots, searching for nourishment found only, strangely, at the top.
I couldn't stop thinking about what was happening in Chaptershill, and Kenny encouraged me to write it out. So I set to work planning the story.

It was only when I was about 30,000 words into it that I realised it was the second book.

So I went back to the beginning, a book not so much about my heroine, but about my hero, and the interesting path he followed that would cause such disruption.

I've been working on it when I can for a while, and back in February I promised myself that I would finish the first draft of the first book by the end of the summer holidays. I called it the book challenge, and every blog post has the latest update of how I am getting on with it.

I am not at the end of the first story yet, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, although the tunnel seems awfully twisty.

I had imagined that the first story would be about 100,000 words, and it might be. But the first draft is clearly going to be more than that, because my word count went over 100,000 words today, and I have not finished.

It's going to happen though. I'm going to finish the first draft, and one day you are going to get to meet all the characters that are milling around in my mind. 

I promise I won't kill them all.

They say there is a book in all of us.  What would you fancy writing?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 15/7/14 - 102,500. 
63,000 words done since the challenge began! 9,000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 34.
What I did last - Meeting the prodigal son.