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Stuart Lennon

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First draft party!

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First draft of ‘Sean 1’ is nearly complete.

I have been toiling away, determined to finish the first draft of my first novel by the end of October. It is Saturday the 24th and I am a chapter and a half away. With a fair wind, I will declare the first draft done by the end of the weekend.

I am thinking that I might throw a party.

It would be quite a small party; just the dog and I, probably.

To anyone else, it’s not really a big deal. I will print off the draft, put it into a file and then hide it in a drawer. Not really cause for a party is it?

The dog and I know different. The dog and I have sat staring at the screen together, fighting the urge to get on Facebook and watch cats driving cars. The dog and I have argued about whether Sean should eat breakfast or have a shower. (Actually, I am not sure that the dog has contributed much to these arguments, but they have definitely happened.)

All the smart people say that a break is essential before unleashing the inner editor, so into the drawer it will go.

For the statisticians, Sean 1 stands at 51,000 words or so at the moment.

What’s next?

As you may remember, I am throwing myself into ‘Sean 2’. The aim is the write the first draft of the second novel in the calendar month of November.

As a consequence of all this industry, the blog has been a bit quiet.

What do you think of the new look? I’m having trouble posting photos right now, but I am sure that the Tech team will sort me out soon enough.

The idea is that you can use the box top right called ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ to search by category and therefore only read posts on things that interest you.

Let me know what you think of it.

‘Sean 1’ has taken 8 months. I am putting aside 1 month for ‘Sean 2.’

To quote a friend, “How bad could it be?”

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I am taking on the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge to produce a 50,000 word first draft in November.

As a warm up, I am completing a draft for Novel number 1 in October.

If all goes to plan then at the end of November, I will have two novels in draft form.

At the time of writing, the word count on Novel number 1 stands at 40,701.

As you may gather, I am feeling ever so slightly pleased with myself.

All right, I am feeling very smug and unbearably cocky.

This, of course, is a harbinger of impending doom.

But I am ready for whatever challenge is coming my way.

It turns out, that writing lots of words can actually be quite easy.

The trick is to banish one’s internal editor to the naughty step. He is not allowed back in my head until the two drafts are completed.

It is incredibly liberating to just let the words flow with scant regard for quality.

In effect, I am probably writing drivel.

I daresay that the editing will be quite a challenge when the time comes, but I have a secret weapon.

My own personal “Editing Jedi” who is teaching me the ways of The Force.

It’s more of the ‘Red Pen’ than The Force, but it’s equally powerful and well worth a look if you are learning to write effectively.

 

NaNoWriMoOn the 22nd February 2015, I started this blog.

I hoped to use it to record a journey from “I would like to write a book” to “I have written a book.”

I might also post the odd observation about the world in general.

This is post fifty-four.

So, fifty three posts in 7 months or so. Just under two a week.

Hardly prolific, but not bad, I reckon.

I have dribbled on about politics, IT struggles and even blogged from A to Z in a month.

This will be the twentieth post that has the category ‘Writing’ attached to it.

The novel got started at around the same time as the blog. By the ninth of March, thirteen thousand five hundred words were in the bag. I had set myself a minimum of five hundred words per working day and was going at almost twice that pace. Easy this novel writing.

I thought I might take a day or two off.

By the twelfth of July, I still had 13,500 words in the bag. Four months gone. Disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Time to get the shoulder to the wheel again. On the seventeenth of July, the word count stood at 18,782.

What had I learned?

Firstly, time flies when you are avoiding novel writing.

Secondly, one thousand words per working day was not exactly a stretch. If I could write ten words, I seemingly had no problem writing a thousand.

On the twenty eighth of September, the word count STILL stood at 18,782.

Somehow, I had mislaid another two and a bit months.

Seven months after becoming a self-proclaimed writer, I had actually produced 18,782 words or an average of 125 words per working day.

The really striking thing was that actual days spent on the novel was eighteen, at an average of 1043 per day.

If I am going to actually produce any novels, then I need to focus on those first ten words of each day.

This led me to NaNoWriMo, which is possibly the worst acronym type thing in history.

That such a cumbersome lump of letters was produced by cooperative of writers is a beautiful irony.

It stands for National Novel Writing Month.

Without going all technical on you, a bunch of lunatic writers commit to producing a 50,000 word draft entirely in the month of November.

It’s not strictly policed, there is no prize and you don’t actually have to pay anything.

There is a large internet forum and more localised writing groups.

Here the lunatics can whine, laugh, cry, rant or even have constructive conversations and offer each other support.

That’s about it.

“The very thing for me!”

I immediately signed myself up as a NaNoWriMo lunatic.

The thing is, I can’t really use my current draft. It really needs to be a new one.

In actual fact, there is nothing at all to stop me from doing what I like, but it seems silly to sign up and then not follow the rules.

Fear not – I came up with a solution.

“I’ll finish the draft for the first novel in October, then do the second novel as my NaNoWriMo draft. Perfect!”

This stroke of genius hit me on the 28th of September.

Allow me to summarise.

Each November writers the world over get involved in trying to produce 50,000 word drafts of their novel. Many succeed. Many fail. Many go slightly mad trying.

In order to ‘do it properly’, I have decided to, in effect, do it twice.

Once in October to finish the draft of my first novel and then again in November to finish a draft of my second.

I really need to have a good look at my reasoning process. Something is seriously wrong there.

And yet…

The word count on Novel 1 now stands at 31,037

So, if you’ll excuse me I have to dash.

I’m writing two novels you see.