I’m really enjoying writing this new novel. How long has it been since I said anything remotely like that?
The past couple of weeks have been particularly intense as bit by bit I’ve picked away at what this novel actually is. I’ve had to be harsh and realistic with a lot of things; many of the things that drove me to writing this book have had to be chopped or changed in order to make it work.
In particular this involves the locations that, while they were perfect for individual sections of the story, were really acting as inhibiters to what the story wanted to do. In other words, the locations and some of the characters were holding the story’s development back without me even knowing it.
One of the most important things I realized was that the book doesn’t start at the beginning of the story; it starts two thirds of the way through. So where before I thought I only had some editing and tidying up to do to bring it all into shape, it turns out I’ve still got quite a lot to write.
It also turns out that I had to map out and write an entire back story in order to fully understand why the book starts where it does, how the characters all got there, and what their motivations were that led to them arriving at the book’s opening scene. That was an interesting process, which served to highlight all the holes and problems as as well as how much more complicated the story is to what I initially thought.
It’s been a fascinating journey that has led to me altering my entire book writing process. Compared to all my previous books, this will be the first novel I’ve written that has had full and proper outlining and preparation applied to it before getting a finished draft down.
There were around 62,000 words when I picked up Gatecrash as an “unfinished project” last month, so I now reckon there is another 20-30,000 still to go before I have it down. And it is this that excites me most. The fact that I now know what happens and am not writing blindly into the scent of a good idea is helping, and the fact that I know why and where all the little hints and twists are to go is extra helpful.
Best get back to it.
Wonderful news, Colin. Seems you’ve got it all sorted and the best bit is in front of you – writing it down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to make myself go back and look at a story to see the first turning point and make THAT the beginning or just a page or two before. Very often, the backstory is actually the first third which can (if you really can’t let it go) be fitted into the story later, as plot advance points or even part of the ‘B’ or ‘C’ story.
Also, the things I most like and hold onto, are often what really need to go…