If a writer is lucky, there comes a moment, usually after years of work, when the shape of a work-in-progress-novel ‘settles’ – like a jelly or some other wobbly thing. This happened today.
Three weeks ago I was ridiculously excited to reach the magical 25,000 word mark (of approximately 32,000 – 35,000). I powered on to 26k. I almost reached 27,000, but then I needed to revise. To go onwards I often need to go back to the very beginning, slowly reworking scenes (again and again) until I reach and then somehow work through a dead-end.
For many days and nights I’ve added, edited, rearranged words in Parts 1-5 and also spent hours researching Port Hedland circa1942.
The number 27,000 was in my sights so many times, but I had to go back to the beginning and edit to be able to go forward. Then I jumped ahead to the ending and re-wrote the last two parts; effectively bookending the troublesome scenes. I don’t know whether other writers do this, but it’s also what I did in Light Horse Boy. The beginnings and end became honed and more sparkly whilst the dreaded ‘Beersheba’ scene loomed. For those few paragraphs of print, so much research was needed. It was daunting and I didn’t want to get it wrong.
And that brings me back to where I am now with (drumroll for first public outing of the name) The Dog with Five Names. The story is told from the point of view of a dog and is one of two Creative Works for my PhD.
Today I reached 27,002 and it feels as if the manuscript is ‘settling’. I may well be deluded, there is always a good chance of that, and tomorrow I might change my mind about much of today’s work and have to slash those 2 words. However tonight there will be no more editing 😉