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84p

My parents have taken my son and his cousin away for the day today so after doing some cleaning around the house this morning I’ve been able to sit down with the book today and get some more of it done.

In fact about ten minutes ago I broke the 30,000 word barrier. I am oddly happy about this. Yes, the story is wobbling in places and I really need to go back and clean up major parts of it but the main thing is that I reckon I’m about halfway there. I’ve tried to drop the obsession with having a finishing wordcount over the last few weeks. When I first started back in March I was aiming at 75,000 for the only reason that the number seemed like a ‘proper book’ number of words. As I’ve gone on I’ve remembered that this is an idea originally designed for a 90 minute film and so therefore I might be better aiming for a bit less than that so as to not end up stretching the story out. One of my favourite books is Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and that clocks in a 55,000. It’s a fairly concise and great story because of it so that makes me a whole lot more confident in the long run.

With the pressure off a little in that regard I’m writing whilst feeling I can be far quicker with the story and not have to pad just to get more words in. As such it’s possibly reading a bit better.

In the meantime I’m going to make a burger to celebrate.

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Yiga Clan

I seem to have one character who I wanted to have a laid back personality but this seems to have made him come across as a complete arse due to the circumstances involved in the story.  Sadly he’s one of the main ones and the person he’s being a complete dick to is the other main character.

I have the Mother is the missing girl fresh from discovering her daughter has not returned home one evening alerting the local police officer in this sleepy Scottish village. She’s obviously in a major panic but he insists on taking her to the station so she can give him more information. I suppose the idea is that he takes his job seriously but hasn’t really ever had to deal with missing children in his career so far. Reading it back though it seems like he’s blindly following protocol until the mother actively speaks up and accuses him of wasting time.

When I was planning this story I originally tried to add in a suggestion that it was the police officer that killed the child. I almost wanted that to be the red herring for most of the story but then it dawned on me that I wasn’t writing a murder mystery so this whole thing was completely unnecessary and that aspect was dumped quickly not long afterwards. He’s therefore gone from possible killer to guy who means well but whose intentions are sometimes misplaced really quickly.

The difference between the two gives a certain tension to a scene but there’s still currently something really ‘off’ about the relationship between my two main characters.

Still, another 1000 words down today.

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Spitting Rainbows

Speeding past the 27,000 word marker and feeling that I’ll probably be around halfway once the 30k marker goes past so not that long. I started this whole thing in early March 2017 thinking we’d be looking at getting a first working manuscript in about six months. This original plan also had a target word count of 75k. If I hadn’t revised that slightly I’d now have about a month to write 55,000 words.

I would currently be going completely round the twist.

I’m also noticing that the book is split down the middle as far as quality goes. When I write about the strange stuff, the aliens, the other worlds, the shifts in time then I think I’m doing okay. When I write about the ordinary events of a tourist town in Scotland then it comes across as really dull. I could really do with ironing this out.

I might do a post soon giving examples just so you can see what I mean.

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Tree Surgery In The Sun

Yes, I’d say knocking off the Facebook and Twitter links on my taskbar after many months of them being there has certainly been a very positive step. The problem I had was that I would probably get a tiny chunk of 100 words done, find it really easy to snap back to Chrome, click on Facebook, watch a video of a cat trying to balance on a dog’s head, go onto Twitter and find that people are moaning about Doctor Who again before going back to repeat this process a few times over. I’d usually finally give up once 500 words had been put down of an evening.

Social media is a fine thing but it doesn’t half suck up time and kill productivity. Part of me is considering leaving both of them alone for a while. At least with Instagram I need to be on my phone for it so I’m usually out and about anyway when I need to open that.

As a result of knocking this on the head I’ve managed to get 2000 words done today. Yes, two thousand! This might not seem like much to most but it’s actually the most productive day as far as word count goes on this book I’ve had since starting the whole thing in early March.

I have hit a little bit of a crossroads for today though. Part of me wants to carry on and maybe even make it 3000. The other half of me wants to jack it in for the day and watch some wrestling tonight and not feel guilty about doing so.

It’s 5:30pm here now, my dinner is in the oven so I’ll probably have to make a call on that soon.

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Small Improvement

A very short note to say that I’ve discovered something that seems to have helped me with my word rate over the last hour or so.

I’ve removed the Facebook and Twitter tabs from the bookmark bar on my browser.

It’s a small thing but it’s made a massive difference.

I’m aware this sounds like the most obvious thing.

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Bug Splats

I’ve broken my spell checker.

As soon as I’ve got to beyond 20,000 words my version of Openoffice now seems to be telling me that every words in the English language isn’t recognised. The small red lines appear under every single thing I write which isn’t exactly a massive deal but does represent a small pain in the neck.

I’ve checked whatever language the software is on and, as before, it’s set to ‘English UK’. I’ve tried resetting the whole thing but no joy.

So now I’ve just settled for switching that particular feature off and just carrying on regardless.

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When You Hear The Beep 

I seem to have developed a complete inability to start writing before lunch. Today also involved another trip to a supermarket to buy food. There’s a new one opening three minutes walk away from my house on Thursday so at least I won’t need to drive as of next week.

I tried to get started this afternoon but ended up putting it off again. Then I had to pick my son up from school. I then get an hour before starting dinner to ask him how his school day went.

I got started at around 10pm. This is far too late especially considering I have work in the morning so can’t go too late. I got another solid 500 word chunk done again but I’m left imagining how much I’d get done if I actually sat down in the morning and began then.

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Hexagonal Animal 

Well that was a uphill battle.

Today I finally returned to the book but it took a long time to actually get to it. Despite planning out where I’m going on a chapter by chapter basis I was struggling with what the first sentence of Chapter 13 was going to be. It was the exact same feeling as starting the whole book off back in March.

This chapter starts on the beach by the town in the early hours of a summer morning. How exactly did I want to describe that? How would I set the scene? The blank page in front of me has been a deadly chasm nearly all day. I hoovered instead, I put washing on, I drove six miles to a supermarket purely to buy onions! All of this to avoid the act of actually getting on with the thing.

Eventually, after everybody else in the house had gone to bed I began. I only got another 500 words onto the pile but they feel significant. 

We press on.

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Other Half Assed Excuses

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Here’s what I’ve been doing all these notes in for the last week or so. It’s a change from my usual black covers. I had thought that I’d be writing just a few lines before carrying on with the book. Those few lines threw up many extra questions regarding the story that I hadn’t anticipated before. I ended up taking each of the five main characters, writing down where they were at this point in the story and confirming what they want to achieve by the end and how they’re going to get there.

This in turn also chucked in a few more questions.

So I carried on.

I had hoped that Monday gone would have been the day when I picked this whole thing back up again but it felt too early. It felt like I had to sort a whole lot more stuff out. If I had gone back to it on that day then I probably would have had to organise a lot more issues out further down the line.

As it stands I’ve just finished planning out a further twenty chapters (on top of the twelve I have so far) which I think results in events rounding themselves off nicely at the end.

I think I’m ready to get back to it.

Wish me luck.

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Art Isn’t Just Pretty Pictures

There has been much note taking, jottings and diagrams sketched. In an effort to take stock of where the story is I’ve been doing some analysis of what I’ve done so far.

‘But you should probably have done this before you started the first page Cam’ I hear all four of my readers cry from their respective rooftops.

Yes, I probably should but I’ve never written a full book before so I’ll chalk this one down to experience. I’m going through all the different characters and asking myself what they wanted at the start, how has this changed with events up to now and has their overall goal changed. It’s helping shape the next section of the book but also revealing some cracks in the foundations.

SPOILERS

There now follows below some details about the main thrust of the story as far as the book is concerned. If you’re reading all this and planning on actually buying the thing once I get it finished (bless you) then you might want to skip it. Also, if you’re just plain bored of me going on about it then you might want to do the same.

Firstly, my policeman character is the first to discover the returning girl who has been thought to be dead for the last ten years. She actually goes to his house after discovering that her own family home is now an abandoned wreck. Her Mother is back in town, he is perfectly aware of this and yet he doesn’t go to tell her straight away. He actually keeps her locked in his house whilst he goes off to investigate what’s going on down the waterfront in the middle of the night. However, if his one past regret of his career is not finding this girl when she went missing and after telling her Mother that he would, then why exactly is he doing this?

My resolution to this is going to be suspicion. He’s a sceptic on all things alien/paranormal (much more Scully than Mulder) so therefore has a belief that this child isn’t what she says she is. He has a need for control so has to work out for himself what’s going on before the Mother gets involved. There will be a meeting between all off them but not right away. I like the tension of this kid almost being kept in the house against her will and breaking out herself later.

The second main question is why is the Mother even there? She’s not getting her daughter back as she’s been officially considered dead for a decade. She moved away because she grew tired of the persistent rumour floating around town that she’d killed her own daughter. She therefore hates the town and the people so why exactly has she made it back? Morbid curiosity? Regret? A need to reconnect with the past? I currently haven’t made that connection yet and her character is really suffering as a result.

This is only the start of it.

I’ll be note taking for the next few days and aim to get back on the wagon by Monday.

 

 

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