While the rest of my life feels like an out-of-control roller coaster ride with no brakes, the production of the first draft of my novel was a masterpiece of orderliness. Perhaps this was a case of art bringing order to chaos (or trying to).
I don't usually care about things like how long a novel takes to write and how many words I've written and how many days and hours, let alone novel length. These things have always been unimportant to me.
Not this time.
The days of waffling on are over. At least, for my new proposed series of novels. I decided this year to get off my arty-farty backside and write much more professionally with traditional publication in mind. I've had it with being an unread self-published miserable author. Actually, I've had it with many things, but that's another blog. The New Me emerged earlier this year when I had my longish hair cut right off into a funky punky pixie cut but it was more than just a superficial newness: I wanted to go somewhere NEW with my writing as well. I wanted to ENJOY myself again.
So when this new idea came up - rather suddenly after months of musing - I decided on a very strict regime of writing. No waffling. No rushing off to do research. No arsing about on social media (which was surprisingly easy). It helped that I did a huge amount of research first and that I wrote a massive "Treatment plus Structure" beforehand. For those who know me, I design my novels using an ancient copy of Teach Yourself Screenwriting - the structure of a screenplay really helps me to focus on the novel as a whole. With ALL my notes in this one document, it meant I didn't have to search about looking for bits of data when I was hard-pressed to remember a tiny detail.
And when the strict regimen started, I didn't drop off once. I started the first draft on the 3rd of June and finished on the first of August. I wrote almost every day for one and a half hours minimum but didn't knock myself if it was less. Regularity was more important. I kept a record of this: day, date, time started, time finished and total word count at the end of that writing session.
I've never taken a blind bit of notice of how much I was writing and have always disapproved of people who do. But I needed this novel to be tight. I needed it to be the standard 80 000 words long. I even worked out the exact length of the chapters - so earlier chapters are shorter, longer chapters come before the middle for world building, then are shorter again towards the end. None of this is new but it was new to ME.
And it was WONDERFUL. I felt myself blossoming as a writer with these strictures in place. The novel is, even in its first draft state, the best thing I've ever written. I truly can't wait to start editing it, which will be at the start of September (I have to go and do Life Stuff for a bit).