So you might know that I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month. 4 days in and I’m loving it. This is apparently normal. Enthusiasm is all for the first week, they say, less for the second and madness sets in by the third. The third week is when the creativity can really flow too so who knows what insanity will be in my plotline by then.
Obviously I’ve never written a novel before, or even attempted to write a novel before, so this is all quite new. The first 3,000 words I did on a train journey on Monday morning and realised by Tuesday that they were quite boring and I’d gone on too long. The bonus of having worked in Waterstone’s doing author events for many years is that I know this is quite common, especially for newbies and can be resolved by several redrafts and a good editor. I am just ploughing on with a couple of lists by my side – the main list is mistakes I’ve spotted in the plot so far, the other is things to research (mainly police procedure). I also have a hand drawn map of my location so I don’t get the small details wrong and, most importantly of all, a bar graph to keep track of my word count. Fill it in with different coloured Sharpies.
I quite like the power of creating the people. This was the only thing I really prepared for before I started and managed to draw up a list of characters with appearance, traits etc. This morning over breakfast I created a police chief inspector with a large moustache he strokes while receiving updates on cases. Yesterday I created a mysterious Californian financial backer who may or may not have links to Scientologists.
I’m doing this to see if I could rather than for filthy lucre and fame (publishers and bookshops across the land breathe a sigh of relief at not having another deluded author tout her book to them…). Probably the best attitude I think as it means the plot can be pretty preposterous, and I get to have fun with it. It really is fun – I should have done it ages ago! So I’ll be finishing this one and planning to do another next year. (A crime series is not out of the question – I accept any potential plotlines…)
I am currently writing this in a cafe, drinking beer, listening to music and waiting for my own love to arrive so we can go to the theatre. Today on Twitter a trending topic has been #tweetstomy16yearoldself I told my 16 year old self that in 18 years time I would be writing a novel in a cafe while waiting to go to the theatre. It was only once I’d done that, that I remembered this was exactly what I wanted to do when I was 16.
I imagine though that my 16 year old self was doing it for fame and filthy lucre. And to show her dad that she could. The older version of her knows better.
I’ll try and keep you updated as to how it goes and you can track my enthusiasm levels. For now, I’ve got a quota to get through before I go to watch the performance of a play by a real writer. Alan Bennett.