Last push to 50,000

I have less than 8,000 words to go before I reach the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words, but only 7 days to go! And I’m working most of those days. At the start of the month I really didn’t think I would come close to achieving this goal. I expected to lose interest, or be overwhelmed by work, and eventually give up, as so often happens. But now the finish line is in touching distance, I am determined to succeed. I know how my novel ends, I have it all planned. I just need to get the words down on paper (or, more accurately, computer).

But there’s one thing that I know could throw me off track. I have started re-writing. I reached a point last week where I realised I had written myself into a hole and without a redraft I wasn’t going to be able to end the novel the way I wanted. So I gave in and rewrote an entire chapter (and thank God I did, the new version is much better). However, that one re-write opened the flood gates and now I am seeing all the places I could add new things and make improvements. I’m telling myself to avoid it, to resist all urges. I’m struggling to listen to my own advice.

I know I must get to the end before I go back and start again. I have two weeks in December perfectly reserved for re-writing. I need to step away from the story before I start again. I have 8000 words to write. Yet my brain keeps thinking “wouldn’t it be great if…” whilst my phone is growing ever more full of notes and my characters are telling me they want to be more rounded people.

Must… resist.

Bring on a weekend of writing (Can I reach the end by this Sunday? Time will tell).

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Chapter 4: The First Chapter

I realise the title of this post doesn’t immediately make sense.

After posting yesterday’s blog I spent my entire day writing. The first chapter of my as yet untitled project took the entire day, but by bedtime, it was written. I’m sure I’ll re-write most of it, that I’ll tear it apart being hyper critical. But for now, it’s done. I have started.

The chapter is 3000 words. It was a very start-stop process, I wrote a few hundred words, got distracted by something, came back a while later and added another paragraph. I found a spurt of inspiration later in the day, helping me to reach the finish line. And hitting that final full stop of Chapter 1 felt like an achievement.

Then this morning, doubt started to creep in. What if none of it was any good? What was the point? Would I ever really make it beyond my usual stopping point?

If I’m honest, after all that writing the bit I am most happy with is the opening. Hours of writing and the beginning was the best part. This is what I struggle with, that crushing disappointment that I can’t help but feel, when a story that my mind creates, never quite matches with the words on paper. Surely confidence in my own skills will come with time, with practise, with editing, at least that’s what I hope.

A plan for Chapter 2 arrived on a train this evening, it’s sitting on my phone ready to go. And suddenly I was refilled with confidence, excitement, inspiration. I walked home full of ambition, a plan to write another entire chapter before I go to sleep.

But as I sit here now, my fingers want to write, to stay up for hours and push on, give Marie Austen more in her life. Meanwhile, my mind is tired from the first day of a new job, the TV is playing and my resolve to write is waning.

As I try to decide whether to continue my story, here’s the opening for you to read.

Marie Austen lay staring at the ceiling, the soft blanket draped loosely across her curvy frame. She stared at the off-white ceiling, her curly brunette hair scrunched below her against the pillow, her own gentle breaths the only sound she could hear. She closed her eyes and sighed, already aware that she would regret her decision. 

Rolling onto her side, closing her eyes, Marie pretended to sleep. The bathroom door opened, her lover done with his post coitus shower. He pulled the cover back slightly, climbing under the blanket beside her. His muscular arm snaked around her waist, his legs intertwined with hers, she could smell the sweet scent of his watermelon shampoo. He held her close, softly kissing her shoulder blade as his wet hair left cold drops of water sliding across her skin. Together they lay silently in each other’s company.