Sunday, 5 August 2012

Second First Draft - Complete!

You know when something happens, and yes you know it is partially your fault because you could have stopped it, but all the same it didn't really have to work out the way it did, so you get really annoyed? Welcome to my world. I had just finished up writing today's blog entry, and I knew I was low on battery, but thought there was still enough, and was just about to save when... blank. The computer died. 
Plug it in, open it back up, and recover the documents...The entire blog entry is lost. It's about these times you just want an 'undo' button for your life. Just take me back to the last save point, and let me try again from there. This time I'll remember to save or plug it in on time, promise.

Ah well, it is a lesson I must keep learning. Do things while you still can. So now I will try and recall what it was that I wrote.

The most important thing and quite difficult to forget, is that I have finished my second first draft! Yes, in two weeks I have again written another short novel. And this one I had only about 2,000 words written before I started. I didn't even really know where I would start. Furthermore, I managed to basically write it from beginning to end, which is something new. Now, I think some of the pacing is a bit off, and I might need to go back in the second draft and add a few things in, but that is what second drafts are for. However, as it stands, I have just over 70,000 words which have a beginning, middle and extensive endings (as this is the final book in the series). Right up until the final day of writing I couldn't work out if there would be a fourth book, because I couldn't decide if I would be able to deal with all the wrapping up I needed to do, or whether it would be better to take one or two points and turn them into a new book. But, as it happened, I managed to wrap it all up, give everyone their just desserts and have an epilogue to give my main character and extra little gift for sticking with me so long. So, yah me!

It is a bit sad, though, as that is the end of Sally Hunt my first ever novel/series length character. Have I done right by her? Have I given her a happy enough ending for all the pain and difficulties I put her through? Will she go on to lead a normal life now, or will she have more adventures? I must admit, the very last line has hinted that there might be more adventures to come, but they might never be written. Sally might be allowed to have her quests in peace, without (hopefully) thousands of people reading into her life. I suppose I will wait and see if enough people want to see how Sally develops once she's at Uni. I will not break her peace and privacy if there is not enough demand.

And now it is on to an entirely new series. Unlike last fortnight when I tried to start the new series, I'm feeling in a much better place about it now. With the completion of Sally, I feel I am able to give my heart to a new series and develop a new set of characters to love and hate. I am also excited about being able to use more interesting vocabulary and elegant insults in my dialogue (teenagers these days, no imagination when it comes to insults). And I personally feel in the mood for a bit more romance. I watched Sally get with her man in the end (spoiler I know, but you don't know which man!) but it was really just a side plot. Now I get to develop and grow two amazing main characters and type to keep up as they go from hating each other to madly in love, with a swordplay of banter throughout. It should be pretty good. Haven't yet worked out who they are going to be exactly, but I'll start writing tomorrow and see how they want to present themselves.

The final thing I wanted to note was on how my brain was adapting to becoming a writer. I think it has taken things a bit too far. I noticed for the second time last night that part way through a dream my mind realised that the story was rather good, so then it went back and replayed the story so far, with a voice over from my brain working out exactly which words it would use to describe the scene that was playing out in front of my eyes. I woke up and thought I should write it all down, as each word had already been selected. However, when I reviewed the actual content I realised that it might be quite well described, but it was also weirdly insane. So I did not write it down. Though I think in future, if my brain continues on insisting to do this, I will write it all the same if only to give me fodder for characters' dreams in later books or if I decide to write an 'Alice in Wonderland' type story.

As to my reading, I'm almost finished All Clear, which is the second book after Blackout by Connie Willis. In the middle of this book I thought it was dragging and had lots of inconsequential parts. However, I then started to realise they were not nearly as inconsequential as I thought, which was a delightful surprise. The two things as a writer that Willis is extremely good at is first building excitement. I hate skipping ahead in books. People who flick to the last few pages before they read a book are, to me, violating the sacred trust between reader and writer. The writer has gone to all the effort to foreshadow and develop the plot, and as a reader you have an obligation if you want to read the book to read it as the writer has laid it out for you. And yet, with both Blackout and All Clear, I have had to constantly fight the urge to read ahead, to let my eyes flick to the next section of dialogue, because I am so anxious to find out what happens. Similarly, I would not recommend starting it late at night, because she does very frequently have cliff hanger chapter endings, so it is very difficult to put down.

The other amazing part of the books is how complex and interwoven all the events are. Things you're sure cannot be relevant later turn out to have been foreshadowing something else or a clue to working it all out. At points I've had to put the book down and just go 'so, if that's that, then she was there, and he must have been here, and then that thing from back there was actually this thing here, and that means...' etc. To full appreciate it, I'm sure it must be read twice. Unfortunately, a consequence of writing my own books so fast is that I have to keep reading at a similarly fast pace to be imbibing things related to what I'm writing at the time. So I probably won't get a chance to re-read it for quite a while. But still, as I am realising there are so many fantastic books out there in the world, it is amazing we ever stop to read anything twice. Though I do hope one day, at least one person will pick one of my books and be like 'Oh, that was good, I think I'll read it again.'

1 comment:

  1. Check out Connie Willis' "To Say Nothing Of The Dog", too. That one starts out slow but ends brilliantly...