Sunday, 31 January 2016

Writing progress resumed

Despite feeling pretty lousy (don't be too sympathetic - it's just a cold. We all get them) I have managed to get a good amount of writing done today. I'm at 2,806 words for the day. It's the second most productive day of January. Not much of a boast to be honest. It's not been the best month for writing.

I think I've got less written this month than any month since restarting this writing thing. With one day to go I'm on a mere 21K for the month. Just think two months ago I was bemoaning falling 2.3K short of the 50K mark. December managed to hit 42K without aiming for any special target. That's twice what I've achieved this month. Scary.

Now I could point to the fact I've now been ill twice in the month but I'd probably just be finding an excuse there and I'm not a liker of excuses. I know I have been doing a lot of revision of the bawdy scifi novel No Man's Land. I'm not far off the second revision of the book. All but six chapters are now in 3rd draft. Two of those are marked up ready for corrections/additions. All of that took time.

But the truth is I've not been feeling it this month. And I think it was down to the novel I started to write on the 2nd. I had this idea for a secret society paranoia story - a bit like a Philip K. Dick story in my head. It started well enough. On day one I wrote 3.7K. That's much more like me.

The problem was as soon as I told someone about the story it was pointed out to me that the plot and setting I'd come up with sounded like a Dan Brown book. That floored me a little. You see it hadn't occurred to me.

You see I've never read Dan Brown. I've seen one of the movies but that was focussed around the Catholic Church. I had the impression that's what he wrote - conspiracy stuff centre on Catholicism. I guess I was wrong. So it put me off my own story. I decided to take a break from it and revise the book mentioned above.

Ten days later I had not written another new word of fiction. Okay I had revised a fair few chapters and added about 1.5K to the length of No Man's Land but I wasn't writing anything new. So I made a decision on the15th. I had this idea for another Ben Williamson story and I was going to write that instead. It should help clear the palate so to say.

So the Town was started only to see output on that fall far behind previous Ben Williamson novellas. I analysed the third novella (still not going to mention the title here). On average I wrote 1,626 words per day on that book. So far with the Town I've only averaged 769 words per day.

Now 769 words is still progress so I shouldn't complain. One of my friends went several years between writing anything at all. Even now he is barely creating a single short story (c. 3K) in a month.

It's likely to change in February. You see I have some time coming up. My wife is a musician - I may have mentioned that. In Feb she is playing in the band for a pantomime. That will mean six nights in a row when I will be on my own. Leading up to that there are a number of rehearsals - more time on my own.

It's these times when I get my writing done. You see I actually like my wife and enjoy her company. If she's in the house I would far rather be with her than in this office writing. Sorry anyone out there eager to read my next Magnum Opus (or magnificent octopus if you're a Blackadder fan) she's my top priority.

That said I am hopeful I will get the novella finished before the end of February and back to a novel length project. You see these Ben Williamson novellas are great fun to write but have limited potential when it comes to sales. There just aren't that many markets out there for novellas. (BTW - if you hear of one, please let me know)

Novels are an easier commodity to hawk. Of course that might change if I do manage to get a book published. Having some kind of track record behind me might well convince publishers to look at these shorter works. One of my goals would be to get PS Publishing to release one of them. I have dozens of the novellas they've put out over the years and have enjoyed almost all of them. (No one has a 100% record.)

So I really should stop writing these Ben Williamson novellas until I manage to get selling. After all once this one is done I will have four. And although the full manuscript has been requested for the second of them, the Intersection, I am not hopeful of finding a publisher who will want to repeatedly put out my latest idea for torturing my middle aged, middle class everyman.

So I have two, maybe three, weeks to decide what the next novel project should be. Should I go back to the secret society tale? I have thought up a bit more plot for it and it twists and turns like a twisty turny thing (more Blackadder quoting). My wife likes the sound of it so it may well win out.

But I have notebooks full of story ideas; many of which have already been elevated to their own book status. There are two amongst these that would stand the best chance of making it to WiP status and both are focussed in on teenagers so I guess you would call them YA. They're both dark fantasy too.

One is contemporary - set in modern day Ashby de la Zouch. I guess as my life is also set in modern day Ashby de la Zouch this would come under the heading of write what you know. The other is set in the late 15th Century in a fictional version of a city I know well and love. They are both contenders. I think I could enjoy them both.

Well that's all for the future. For now I need to concentrate on my two on going tasks - revising the scifi and finishing the novella. I'll just have to consign any new ideas I get to the notebooks. And I will have to try to force the idea I had this afternoon to stay there. This one appeals to me a great deal. The only problem is it would result in Ben Williamson's fifth outing and I really should stay away from him and write something that has a better chance of selling.

Let's see if I can manage it.

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