Sunday, 19 April 2009

Writing Progress

So, about my goals for March. I didn't meet a single one as work just got too crazy. April has been easier workwise, but difficult health-wise. However, I have made some progress with my April goals (yes I know it's over halfway through the month now, but I've only just got round to blogging this, OK?). These are:

1. Write two short stories (done)
2. Edit and resubmit three short stories (underway)
3. Edit and submit three short stories (errr...)
4. Start on the sixth draft of the novel (underway)

Sixth draft? What are you playing at, Queenie?

Well, it's a tricky business, this novel writing. Sol Stein reckons his novels go through 11-13 drafts. On that basis, I'm only halfway there.

Here's how it's gone so far. I've written several other novels in the past, but never got beyond a first draft (and sometimes not even that far). A few years ago I went on an Arvon course where the tutors helped me to decide which of my ideas to take forward. The idea they liked best was one where I'd written the first draft in multiple third person POVs. One of the tutors advised me that this was too difficult for a novice novelist, and that I should write it all in single POV. So for the next four drafts I tried very hard to do this, and learned a lot of useful stuff about writing in the process. BUT the story refuses to be shoe-horned into a single person's POV, so one of my main tasks for the sixth draft is to put it back into multiple POVs. I think I'm ready to tackle that now.

The other main task is to design a proper plot - something else I've managed to get away with not doing up to now. I'm starting with that, scene by scene. I expect there will be about 80 scenes in total. So far I'm up to no. 4. I'd like to get them all planned by the end of this month, then I can start writing/rewriting next month. Some scenes, I'm sure, won't need a lot of reworking; some will need writing from scratch; some will need editing. I'll be glad when I get an idea of how many fall into each category.

I'm off to London today for a few days of jollity with friends and relatives, and a smidgen of work. I'll be taking my laptop and my plan is to work on trains, and in the early mornings, and in odd hours in between meeting people, and try to make some serious progress with the novel. Not sure how I'll get on... but it's worth a try. I'd like to get this draft finished by the end of June, although whether I manage that or not probably depends on how much paid work comes in over the next couple of months. We shall see.


Jumbly Girl said...

That's what i like to hear - a woman with a plan! Sounds like you really know what needs doing, which is always a good start. Good luck with it, it's all sounding pretty positive so far.
I'm calling my current novel draft #3 but in reality its about the 10th and I know there are likley to be many more to come. As someone once said "You never finish writing a piece, there just comes a point when you stop"

HelenMHunt said...

Sounds very organised and inspired. I'm longing to get back to my novel, but at the moment my head feels like it's about to explode with other stuff so it's not looking likely.

Lane said...

That's a very impressinve plan.

I'm interested in what you say about breaking the book down scene by scene. Plot is my achillies heel, so I may give this a try - thanks:-)

Hope you have a good time in London.

Shane said...

Your utterly plotty plan sounds like workish fun. If you're relaxed with considerable shifting about of stuff, then this could be really exciting - in terms of opening up new narrative threads, or closing losing others. It's all theory to me, though. This scale of endeavour is impressive...

As I took a train to London last week, I popped open the laptop, looked over my list of 14 paying tasks that needed to be done, and promptly jettisoned them all in order to begin to write a short play.

Queenie said...

JG: so it's not just me, then? Great!!
Helen: you'll get there.
Lane: I'd be happy to email you details of the system I'm using if that would be useful?
Shane: FAB!!! Well done, good for you, keep it up.

PI said...

Arvon is great but they are not always right.
One youngish lecturer insisted that grammar schools didn't exist in my day - and she ran a theatre.
I finally convinced her that not only did they exist for me but also my mother.
Ergo they could also have been wrong about your novel.
Have fun!!!!
PS Reading Jumbly girl I wonder if I finished far too early.