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Friday, 24 June 2011

Writing: 5764 Words Hits the Target

Last night, I had a delightful evening with my brother and his wife round for drinks. We always enjoy these get-togethers and last night was no exception. But the social evening meant we didn't get to bed until around 02.00 this morning.
So, I was up at 07:15 and my mind was full of the epic fantasy I've been writing, as a first draft, for the past few months. I was close to the end and to completing my target of 200,000 words, which I hoped would conclude this first version. Around 1,400 words left my fingertips and gathered on screen before breakfast. It took longer than usual because I had to introduce a new character and that meant devising a full character profile. Then, I needed to alter the timeline to show the various changes that had happened to the different groups of characters who form the various story threads. I needed to get this right before I could handle the denouement properly. With 83 named characters (okay, so some of them are now dead), this was a fairly complex task.
After refreshment, I showered and then it was back to the keyboard. It soon became clear that, with a bit of application and hard work, I could probably finish the job today, well ahead of the target date of 6 July, when I intend to be away from the keyboard and everything computer for a fortnight (It rests the brain and allows the creative juices to concentrate after the dilution of the rest of the year).
Two sessions, with a break for some lunch, saw a total of 5,764 words added to the rest. I have now finished. And the first draft total is 200,557 words.
That will all alter once I start the editing process, which will probably begin some time shortly after my self-imposed break. Taking a step back from the writing allows the subconscious to work on it uninterrupted by the process and will allow me to discover the flaws, deficiencies and inconsistencies. I will start with a complete read-through of both volumes, taking no notes at all at this stage. I'll then begin looking at those places where the narrative has slipped into 'telling' rather than 'showing'. Next, I'll look for descriptive elements and add, remove, reduce, or expand these depending on what I have to begin with. Metaphor and simile, and the other literary devices will be the next stage. Then I'll cross-check all dates and events and look for inconsistencies with character and place, etc. Next comes the grammar and spelling check. It's as I do each chapter at this stage that I hand the printed version to my wife. She has an eagle eye for such detail and a good memory for repetition and inconsistency. It's here that we'll hopefully find any anachronisms as well. Once I've corrected any errors, I do the final read-through, aloud, to discover any errors we've missed and to check for clunky sentences.
Only then will I be ready to send the synopsis and first chapters out to agents/publishers.
Wish me luck, eh?
The flower is from our back garden, and I took the picture a couple of weeks ago.
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