Not a blog!

February 16, 2017

Nope, this definitely isn’t a blog, because I don’t have time to write a blog, because I’m supposed to be editing my novel, and if I’m writing a blog, then I can’t be editing the novel can I?

OK, maybe this is a blog, but just a little one.

So, why am I here? Well, on Facebook, yesterday, it reminded me that, six years ago I promised, on Facebook, that I would finish my novel on the day of my 40th birthday.

I even produced an Excel Spreadsheet, showing the wiggly line of my daily word count against my projected, estimated end point of 120,000 words.

 

EP_Novel_progression_from_2011

So, here I am, 2017, six years on. I didn’t finish the novel before my 40th birthday, or my 41st, or 42nd. I got stuck at 95,000 words and sat on my hands for over a year before working my way, painfully, to a massively overwritten 145,000 word total. Then, faced with a monumental edit, I panicked and ran away from the novel for another year, despite having fantastically useful feedback from my fellow WordWatchers and a small select clique of trusted Beta Readers.

I am however, finally, editing the novel. I promised my family at the beginning of January (it was not a New Year’s Resolution as I don’t believe in such things) that I would finish the edit of the novel and then, no matter what, I would ‘do something with it’. So, each weekday morning the alarm goes off at 5am and I drag myself from my warm comfortable bed and sit at the laptop and carry on the edit. In the last five weeks I’ve managed to get to the end of the novel, cutting it down from 145,000 to 117,000 words as I went. Two days ago, I went back to the beginning and started again, implementing changes at the beginning of the story that I didn’t decided I needed until I got half way through the last edit. It’s getting harder now, I’m not just cutting fat now, now I’m looking at some of my favourite scenes and ask them the hard question ‘Are you progressing the story?’ Sometimes the answer is ‘no’ and that scene has to go. Highlight, Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V – and it’s gone (but pasted into another document (just in case)). I’m now removing one of my favourite characters, because this is not her story and she’s not helping. I feel for her, we’ve spent many years together, but she has to go. I hope she understands.

I have no idea what the final word count will be, I’m trying not to fixate on it (ignoring the evidence that first time novels that are over 100,000 words struggle to find agents and publishers). I also have no how long this will take or how many times I will go round this buoy before I decide enough is enough. At least once more I suspect.

And here’s the final rub – the thought that this novel is actually picked up and published is actually terrifying. I’ve had six luxurious years to play with this novel. I’ve watched many of my fellow WordWatchers get a publishing deal and then immediately turn into book producing machines. Editing one novel, while writing another, while promoting another with the clock ticking in the background all the time, a constant reminder that they now have to produce one book a year…

I shall make the most of the time I have, because I may never have it again.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

Comments

Comments

  1. Oliver says:

    Great blog, John. You’ve truthfully reflected the sometimes halting nature of creative writing . We strive for intellectual honesty and this requires that we change our ideas over time and this is reflected in the way we view our own work, want to change it, and it becomes an iterative process.

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