Friday, 27 March 2009


So where did the last week go? Honestly, I blinked and it sailed past. I certainly did not realise that it's been around 6 days since I last did an update on here, and that was about my arch-nemesis, football. That's just not good enough.

Bad Apple Bone has been going very well indeed. I seem to have properly gotten into the rhythm of writing every day, and for the last few have averaged around 1000 words a day, which is very good for me with my lack of spare time and tendency towards procrastination. Due to that, I now have a wordcount of 90,000!

This feels like a significant milestone, and a wild and crazy number. 90k? That's a proper book's worth of words now. The end is in sight, and I suppose part of me has always assumed that I would never finish the sodding thing. I'd get bored, distracted by something else, or just get dissuaded by the enormous amount of work novel writing actually involves. To know that the end is now weeks, or even days away is an extraordinary thing.

Plotwise, BAB (Ew, acronyms. Gross) has been both confusing and surprising recently. A character I thought had exited stage left a while ago suddenly popped up this afternoon, with an entirely new way of looking at the plot; he told me stuff I had no clue was going on, and then buggered off again. Also, the character who I thought was going to do a runner just as the shit was zipping towards the fan is fine, it's the other one who's legging it in the opposite direction. In the confusing stakes, a subplot that I have foolishly not been writing in proper chronological order has suddenly exploded in my face and revealed that perhaps I should think about which chapters belong where. Whoops. For a while I considered dropping the whole thing, but the fact is the two characters it involves are so much fun to write (bad, bad men who do terrible, despicable things) I can't bear to chuck them. And as I threw myself into sorting out their plotpoints this week, I discovered exactly how important they are to the story, and how they need to be there at the end. So that was good.

And there you are. I'm sorry this update was a largely boring one about writing, and did not contain any spewed bile about football/Chris Moyles/breakfast TV. In the next one I sort of intend to talk about my NaNoWriMo book, Bird and Tower, because once Bad Apple Bone is out the way, I'll probably need to start a proper edit and redraft on that, so I might mention it on here from time to time. That is unless I see something that really annoys me, like Ferne Cotton or tomorrow's episode of Robin "shops at Topshop" Hood.


  1. I'm always interested when people who write stories talk about their characters appearing when it wasn't expected and doing something unexpected / telling me whats what...

    I used to write (VERY BAD) SF stories and never had that happen to me, though if they are real people and anything like me, they were so glad to be off the page they probably immediately ordered a cab to the airport to get the hell away.

  2. It's odd, because I've heard a lot of writers talking about how their characters talk to them all the time, and they have big long chats. I've never experienced that, I think partly because I couldn't square it with my brain; I don't exist in their world, why would they talk to me? But often the story takes unexpected turns, and the characters don't always behave as I thought they would. Which is all part of the fun I suppose. :)

  3. I have to admit that this is the first time I have read a description of a book writing process and I am finding it fascinating. I guess for me it was a straight forward process whereby you have a plot, you know what is going to happen and you write about it. I love the fact that its not that simple. I look forward to reading the book when its finished!

  4. I love when my characters decide to do something unexpected. Both my NaNo novels had a bit character decide that they're actually going to have a larger role in the book. I also get them talking to me; I often find that once I start off a conversation they'll just continue it on without me having to interject, often faster than I can get it all down. I also had an argument with a character over her name once, which was slightly surreal.

    It's that moment where your characters stop being just a list of attributes and become actual people in your mind which is just magical, and one of my favourite things about writing.

  5. I suppose the one exception would be writing short stories, which I almost always write in the first person; this feels like talking to a character, or having a character talk through me. Still no proper conversations though!

  6. Those of you who have characters and entire worlds living inside of you absolutely fascinate me. In a 'I'm pathetically jealous' kind of way.

    People with creative ability have MAGIC inside them, that's what I think.

    I've always wanted some of that magic.

    I can word things pretty nicely, but that's as far as I'll get with 'writing'. Sad, because I'd love nothing better than to write stories...

  7. Hmm, interesting discussion.

    I plot out my stories quite heavily, but even so, the story and characters take unexpected twists and turns that come as a complete surprise. One section in the steampunk novel that I'm working on, which was a 10-word line in the synopsis, turned, completely on its own, into a 6,000-word chapter with two character's I'd never met before suddenly popping up and taking my heroes down a mysterious subplot.

    And then even in my finale, which I've just been working on, a character I thought I'd killed earlier creeps out of a shadow and pulls a gun on one of the good guys. Like, wow, I didn't see that coming, I wonder what he's going to do next?

    So it's a common feature of writing anything of any considerable length. I think with short fiction you're much more limited, so things tend to go as expected. Within the realms of a novel, there is more freedom and sometimes your subconscious decides to help out. Which makes sense - if you have created real, well-defined characters, then essentially they actually "live" in the recesses of your mind. So while you're not writing, your brain is working out new ideas and plot points and actions all on its own. Which is good, because it means less work for your conscious brain, right?