I'm going to pretend that I've been inundated with queries about what's happening during first draft week and why all my promises of regular posts have amounted to squat.
My response? So sue me.
It's already been a rollercoaster week. Monday was just about the most productive day I've had on record. It even beats the day I landscaped our front yard. I was barely pushing 39,000 words on Monday morning. By Monday evening that had turned into around 44,000.Even I was impressed. There was a fairly huge backlog of scenes that I simply had to string together, so it was a very successful first day and bode well for the rest of the week.
Then came yesterday.
Two caveats here. I've spent a lot of time obsessing over word counts. I don't want to give the wrong impression here. Word counts are fairly immaterial. My estimate word counts are more like guesstimates and are based on how many words I think it will take to cover what I've written in the notes. Really, as long as you're up around that 50 - 60,000 plus range, you've got a novel. We're not all writing J K Rowling doorstops. The other caveat is that, Murphy's Law and all, firs draft week happens to have coincided with catching an irritating cold from my two-year-old. Best laid plans, blah blah, blah.
So I'm using both these points to defend my poor performance volume-wise yesterday. Monday was a five thousand page turner. Tuesday was a sluggish 1,500.Bugger.Part of the problem was I fell asleep. Another part of the problem is that I'd reached the end of my notes. In fact I'd actually hit the story's climax on Monday, hence the rush. The tidy up at the end is never as exciting.Now, I'd just finished saying that a novel sits above 50,000 and here I am languishing a good 5,000 words off the mark. Well, welcome to my style of writing.
Climaxes bring with them a whole lot of baggage that I hadn't thought to include in the lead up. In a lot of ways I never actually know my characters properly until that climax, regardless of how much time and energy I've put into them previously. A whole bunch of new facts come to light. My main character suddenly has a whole new past. Another character now sports a fairly large scar on her face. Yet another character has harboured a secret desire all the way through the novel. All this is stuff I have to go back and weave into the text.
Other things also come to light when you finish the climax. The narcolepsy stuff hasn't been properly integrated into the story yet. Each of the sections that deal with the main character's narcolepsy are kind of hanging out there on their own with no proper reference to anything else. This again is quite a common thing for me because those bits are actually hived off from a short story.
It's funny that on day two of first draft week, I've actually completed what might be considered a first draft, since my job now is to go back through the existing text and add in all the bits I've missed. Personally I don't consider it complete yet, but things are looking good for a complete manuscript by Friday.
The job now is to do a quick run through of the manuscript with my new notes of all the story strands that need more work, with particular emphasis on the firs fifty pages.
Why the first fifty? I'll add another post here that begins the discussion of what I want to do with the manuscript next week, since this is probably as important as the actual writing of the story.