I didn’t quite make Stephen King’s suggested target of finishing a first draft in three months (see earlier blogs regarding this wordcount madness) but…very nearly.
Four months. Which for me is extraordinary.
So what can I tell you about this experiment? First – hand on heart, it was tough. Even though I have more than 25 years as a journalist under my belt ( used to writing daily, whatever my mood) I still found it hard to sit down, aiming for 2,000 words day in, day out. That said, I did warm to the discipline as the manuscript began to grow so quickly.
As I have detailed in another blog, I found myself having to switch from pantser to more of a planner to keep up the momentum but I still let the characters lead the way. I tend to write in a rather peculiar style of reportage ( no surprise given my background). The scenes come to me very visually as I walk, cook, work and generally go about my life. I simply watch from the sidelines, listen in cheekily to the dialogue over my shoulder and then write it all up. As if the scenes actually just happened (which to me, it feels they honestly did). Slightly bonkers – fetch the straight jacket. But there it is.
And so now the big question is how heavy and prolonged the editing will be. What can I say?
Most people recommend putting the MS aside for a while to come back to it with fresh eyes. But we journalists are very used to cracking on with the editing.
I have a confession in that I promised my family that I would give the keyboard a break after these intense months of steam pouring from same…
…and then promptly got up early to start editing the first few chapters immediately.
They laughed. But then they often laugh at me...
Memo to all: never live with a writer.