And we’re back into it. This is a 100,000 word SF novel that I want people to read, like, and buy. Which means I have to actually write the thing. Sounds logical, but I’m sure there are a lot of writers out there who have faced the garganuan problem of SITTING DOWN AND WRITING.
I’m serious. Writers love their craft – no point doing it if you don’t! – but what we really love is not writing, it’s having written. The other day I was running through a final edit of The Devil in Chains, my short novella prequel to Dark Heart, before sending it out to my readers, and I got quite a sense of satisfaction as I hefted the 80-page A4 print-out. It’s only 25,000 words, but that’s actually a fair chunk.
But writing itself can be painful. Oh god, it’s like sweating blood. Every word you write absolutely sucks. Each paragraph just shows the world how awful you are. Perhaps writing isn’t my thing, you say to yourself. I could stop now and do the dishes, and take up painting instead.
Much like an athlete breaking the pain barrier, the thing that separates writers from people who want to write is that we keep going. Yep, that last couple of sentences were freakin’ terrible. Here comes another one. Ouch!
And then 100,000 words later you have yourself a book.
Of course not every writer feels like this. I’m sure for some it all just floats along and it’s all entirely pleasurable. And I’m not saying writing is actually slow, or that writers like me have difficulty in getting the words down. I don’t have writer’s block – in fact I’m pretty sure there is no such thing. I can type pretty much as fast as I can think, and as soon as the blank page is up the adventures continue and the prose flows. Lousy, awful, stinking prose. Yeesh.
But a day later, and I’m re-reading the previous night’s effort, and I’m completely hooked. That’s not bad, actually. Sure, lots to edit and fix, but it’s pretty good, and if I like it then perhaps other people will as well.
So that’s the process. Not for all writers, but for a lot, including big names and successful novelists. It’s a strange job – it’s immensely enjoyable to create a story and to see it come to life and unfold and expand in ways you never thought of. It can also be very painful to place ass in chair, power up the computer, and actually type some words. But hey, who wants an easy life.
Tonight I’m back in the action, and have done maybe half of Zoe’s new chapter, where she and an ex-colleague from the Society of Arts, Nick (short for Nicola, of course) try and take a closer look at the disaster area, only to make not one, but two quite startling discoveries. Monday’s plan is to knock that chapter off, so we can get back to the airship journey to Africa on Tuesday, which is where we return to my original synopsis.
I had a wee surprise when I updated my progress spreadsheet – for some reason, I said Chapter 2 Scene 2 was an impressed 4000 words, when it’s actually only 804. So despite a nice run this evening, I’ve gone backwards a little since my last post and am on 11258 words, with 88742 to go. Depending on time tomorrow, I’ll aim to get that under 88000.
Because every sweat-soaked, hard-won word is progress.