Saturday, 16 July 2011

Write-a-Thon Day #27

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Day #27 Progress: 1,092
Objective: +12,792/+30,000

Quote of the day:
Drunken lads down the pub: ‘You’re not writing your novel, are you?!’
Yours truly: ‘Actually… yes, I am.’

Remember the towering halfway mark I spoke of in such poetic terms last night? I glimpsed it today. If the moment had been possessed of physical shape, I would have hugged it tight, particularly as it happened to coincide with me flattening the 90,000-word mark at last. Having reached the quite respectable 80,000s, I had stuck and stagnated there for longer than I’d admit to an audience larger than my bedroom mirror. And now look at me, mere weeks after rolling up my inner sleeves and getting on with it! I never thought numbers could make me this happy.

Yesterday’s work stilted by not knowing how to tackle the middle section of 9.3, I slept on it, only to find I was none the wiser. So I did what any other writer with a deadline would have done, dotted a few meaningful asterisks, and skipped to the end. I am stoked over the falling into place of the much needed conceptual bridge between Parts 1 and 2 – although as it turned out, my previously recorded epiphany might have been short-lived. Not sure. On one hand, the character involved is too dead to appear in 9.3; on the other hand, narrative will find a way. We shall see. In the meantime, some might say your cast is definitely too big if you can’t keep straight the list of the ones who are actually alive; in my defence, I shall say it’s as small as I can make it, read: half what it used to be. For someone who can’t count, I do have an unhealthy love for epic numbers, it seems. How delightfully suicidal of me.

The whole "end of the beginning" proceedings were given further spark by conscious interaction with the idea of foreshadowing / irony as discussed by my dear colleague, Eric Satchwill. It dawned on me while reading his words the other day that my foreshadowing doesn’t tend to be very shadowy – I have always approached fictional relations by being dreadfully upfront with the reader and as murky as a cup of English coffee with my characters. This tendency has just got more marked since I have started being steeped in Renaissance drama day in, day out. You know that moment in the theatre when you want to jump up and shout to Othello/Romeo “she is innocent/alive you fool, no one needs to die tonight,” yet you get some sort of twisted pleasure in witnessing a bloodshed you knew to have been entirely preventable? It is that moment I strive for, and today I knew my own emotive agenda better. The only writing tool sharper than self-awareness, I will always say provided I say it after today, is further self-awareness.

So thank you, Eric, for making me reflect on my craft enough to realise how (sometimes) spoilers can be in everybody’s interest – dramatically speaking, that is.

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