Day Fourteen

Word Count: 27,731

Good, natural dialogue is difficult to write. Not done skilfully, it can sound stilted and awkward, as if it’s being spoken by puppets.

I’ve been writing a lot of dialogue today, moving the story along with what’s revealed in conversation, rather than in narrative and description, and I was heartened to find this quote from Elmore Leonard: All the information you need can be given in dialogue.

Says it all, really.

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Day Thirteen

Word Count: 26,619

If the thought really is father to the deed I should be finished by now.

But I’m over half way and to ring the changes, I’ve just introduced something I’ve never considered before – a murder. When Raymond Chandler was stuck he would have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand, so at least I’m in good company.

Day Twelve

Word Count 24,002

The ‘2’ is important. E.L. Doctorow said that writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Every word is important in this exercise; it’s how I’ll get to the finish, feeling my way in the dark.

Day Eleven

Word Count: 21,723

I’ve committed a crime today. I really didn’t want to but they made me do it. Sometimes you just have to murder your darlings.

Jack London said: you can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. So after a staring competition with a blank page I put my metaphorical club over my shoulder and set off to find some stimulation. I can now report that fiddling around with twenty-five different fonts, however satisfying in the short term, is no way to keep up the word count.

Day Eight

Word Count: 15,576

Thought for the day:- Procrastination is the thief of time…. surely it must be time for another cup of tea and a biscuit?

Fell behind slightly with the daily total today – work does tend to get in the way of this enterprise – but I’m not losing heart. I’m still ahead of the game and it’s not all bad news. I’ve discovered a colleague who’s also signed on for this mad caper, so I now have a real person to compare word counts with. Will we get competitive? Watch this space.

Day Six

Word Count: 13,091

Long old haul today, but satisfied that I’m still on target.

A new situation has appeared in the plot – remember I mentioned this phenomenon – where one of my main protagonists reveals a surprising new aspect to his character. It’s not ideal, and it may only lead up another blind alley, but I have to follow him. It’s quite an exciting development, so I’ll stay with it for a while.

Day Three

Word count: 5761 – a little over 10%.

Sounds impressive, but there’s a moment of panic. I don’t want to be running out of plot before I reach the finish line, so I quickly check over the storyline to make sure I’m not getting ahead of myself.

I’ve written a lot of much shorter pieces that really gobble up plot lines – this huge daily word count requires a completely different discipline. Rather than just galloping along, I have to slow down, stopping sometimes to look around, check out the scenery and interpret what I see from my characters’ perspectives. I’ve given them lives; I want to see them in their environment.