Monday, 30 January 2012

Novel Update 30/01/2012

Hello all, apologies for the slight delay.  I've spent most of this weekend travelling about Yorkshire doing various exciting activities.  I was in Barnsley on Saturday to celebrate a friend's birthday.  We spent most of the day in various pubs including a nice real ale place and two Wetherspoons.  I'm a bit out of practice at daytime drinking and I was worried that I might be hungover on Sunday but we all paced ourselves and ate plenty of nutritionally dubious pub food so I ended up ok.

On Sunday I went to York to see Robin Ince perform his Happiness Through Science show at the Hyena Lounge Comedy Club.  I'm a big fan of Robin Ince; I've seen him live several times before (I once saw him twice in one day at the Edinburgh Fringe) and I subscribe to his many podcasts, so I was expecting to enjoy the show but worried he might reuse material I'd already seen. Fortunately he didn't, and I enjoyed two hours plus interval of an intelligent, likeable man shouting enthusiastically about really interesting topics and ranting about terribly infuriating things.  Robin Ince always seems to attract interesting audiences to his shows and tonight's was no exception, the room was full with various breeds of academic who were more than happy to contribute a fact or clarify a misunderstanding.  This could easily have been terrible but Ince had created a vibe of jolly interest, so much so that when he mentioned Bishop Berkeley he received two contradictory heckles and proceeded to compère a brief discussion about the philosopher without derailing the show.  I left the show feeling enthused and interested in the world and would highly recommend seeing Robin Ince if he tours near you.

I knew I would be having a busy weekend so I made an effort to get as much done during the week as possible and reached 14,500 words by Friday night. Surprisingly I managed to get a fair bit of writing down over the weekend, writing on various trains and whilst waiting in pubs.  I would have written more but my solipsistic friend James Sizeland selfishly distracted me with beer and interesting conversation.  I'm quite proud of my writing this week, I've finished a scene I've been thinking about for a while that is really pivotal to the course of the novel but until yesterday I'd been unable to articulate properly.  The whole thing will need some serious polishing but so far I'm satisfied with how it's progressing.

I've been using a moleskin notepad I'd received for Christmas.  The piece of paper moleskin arrogantly slip in the back of their products claims that Hemingway used a moleskin, that's got to improve the writing. I'm only a few bottles of whiskey and a bunch of slaughtered animals away from the Nobel Prize.  The total word count stands at 16,297 which is 21.7% of my target 75,000.  Come back next week to see if I can hit 20,000 words.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Novel update 22/01/2012

I've had a fairly productive weekend this week.  Today I woke up early (for a Sunday) and constructed myself one of the greatest breakfasts ever fried.  This triumph of pork and grease gave me the strength to write over 2000 words and get fairly lost in some local woods.  I took a break from writing this afternoon to go for a walk with my mum.  We walked to the evocatively named "Druid's alter rock" a rocky outcrop with some impressive views of the valley.  Although we didn't spend much time on the rock as the wind was becoming increasingly aggressive and neither of us felt like a broken neck.  To escape the wind we cut through some woods hoping to find the path to the river, but we got lost and ended up going back the way we came, still it was a good walk.  On the way back we walked past a local antiques shop called Curio Cottage, a tiny building overflowing with strange old things that feels like it should be run by a kindly, magical shopkeeper in a CBBC TV show.

This week I've met my target and written 10,048 words.  This means that the novel is the longest single piece of writing I've done.  It's closest competitors are two reports I wrote for my Post Graduate Certificate in Education Studies and my B.Sc project on "Laser trapping and cooling, featuring atomic hose-pipes" which despite (or because of?) having a title like a hip-hop collaboration, was the most successful part of my Physics Degree.  10,048 words is 13.4% of my arbitrary target word count of 75,000 so while I've got a fair way to go I feel I'm on track.  Next week's target is 15,000 come back then to see if I've made it.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Novel update 15/01/2012

So far I've written 5395 words of the novel.  I'm not sure how long it's going to be in the end, the  Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula award rules define a novel as 40,000 words long and National Novel Writing Month say a novel should be over 50,000 words.  A brief google shows that most novels are longer, with the typical word count between 80,000 and 100,000.  I'm not sure how long my novel's going to end up being. I think 300-400 pages is a good length for a satisfying book.  Assuming 250 pages per word this gives me a rough target count of 75,000-100,000 words.  

I want my book to be as deep yet direct as a cruse missile with a philosophy degree and a passion for scuba diving so I'm not going to pad it out to meet an arbitrary word count but it's nice to have a target.  If I use the lower number then I can say that I've written approximately 7.2% of the book (and that I've put a bit too much thought into almost meaningless numbers).  My goal for nest week is 10,000 words which would be 13.3% of the book.  I'll update again next week and let you  all know how I've done.  

Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Year's Resolution

I've decided on my New Year's Resolution:  Finally write that damn novel I've been threatening to inflict on the world.  It's going to be an action packed, apocalyptic adventure/horror story ala Solomon Kane, Hellboy & Carnacki.  The book will feature a disparate group of characters working with/against each other to prevent the end of the world.  One of these will be the exorcist/monster hunter character Daniel Hawksworth who I introduced here last Halloween.  So far the first half of the story is in a shambolic collection of notebooks.  I will organise & expand this into a serviceable 1st draft by my birthday (19th April).  I'll find some way to publish the book by the end of the year and tweet the word count each Sunday evening.  At the moment the working title is "Dealing with Devils" and I've written 2,181 words.