Murder Most Royal Jean Plaidy
Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb
Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susannah Clarke
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Victoria in the Wings by Jean Plaidy
Lady Grace: Feud by Grace Cavendish (Patricia Finney)
44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
The Book of Air and Shadow by Michael Gruber
It didn’t really take very long at all to complete this. Here’s the breakdown:
12 May 2008: Original exercise (brainstorm a story idea, write a back-of-the-book synopsis)
May 2008: Expand 200-word synopsis to a two-page descriptive outline (same day, actually)
July-October 2008: begin writing once or twice a week (about 30K or 60pp)
Nov 2008: approx. 30K done over the month
Jan/Feb 2009: ten writing sessions to finish it
So overall, if one leaves out the day in May where I brainstormed the idea, it took eight months of part-time work on it. If one includes May to give a better overall idea of the development time of the idea/prep time for headspace, ten months. Eight to ten months is a very, very respectable timeline for a part-time novel.
Now, could I do it again? That’s the question. It would depend on the idea and how fully it was worked out in the synops(i/e)s.
… as of 14h20 today, we have a complete first draft.
Yes, the damn book is finished. (For now. There will be revision, but let us celebrate the big huge first and most important step, yes?)
New words today: 1,713
Total word count, Orchestrated: 69,787
69,787 / 60,000
Look! I made it in under 70K! And I love my 116% with much love. (Yeah, so 60K was arbitrary when I started; I knew I’d go over.)
I knew I was making cake today for a reason.
The boy bounced into my bed at about a quarter to seven this morning and announced that it was a Grandma day, as indeed it is. We cuddled a bit and then he said:
SPARKY: What if someone took all the Star Wars movies in the whole world? Then we wouldn’t be able to watch them at Grandma’s and we would be very sad.
A: We would be.
SPARKY: And they would have taken them out of all the movie places and the schools and everything, and no one could watch them, and everyone would be very, very sad.
A: But then you and BunBun could fly all over the world and fight them and get the Star Wars movies back, and you could give them back to everyone who was sad, and everyone would say, “Yay, Sparky and BunBun!”
SPARKY: Well, that would be impressive.
He was so totally humouring me. HRH and I nearly died of laughter.
I noticed last night that Nixie has become extremely thin. I know why this is: Gryffindor bolts his food and then moves to her bowl because she has a couple of mouthfuls then walks away, expecting it to be there half an hour later. We’ve begun feeding all three cats less and Gryff and Cricket have lost weight, which is a good thing, but so has Nixie, who really can’t afford it. So this morning I gave her an extra bowl of food in my office, behind a closed door, and she ploughed through it like she was starving (erm). Afterwards she came and found me to purr at me and rub against my legs and hands, then tried to entice me into my office ahead of schedule. It was like she was saying, And now we’re best friends! We’ll play, and cuddle, and later we can braid each other’s hair! When she was born she was the tiniest of the litter, and we gave her an extra feeding every day to make sure she survived; that extra bit of nurturing and bonding time was one of the reasons she evolved into being my cat. Starting that up again isn’t a hardship at all.
There is warm air outdoors, there is melting snow, there was sun for about five minutes till it got above the overcast line, work on the anthology continues apace, and I have a single two-part scene to write before the Orchestrated will officially be a complete first draft. That’s today’s goal, and then it’s out of the way for when the anthology kicks into high gear next month as more completed submissions pour in. That’s not the only reason it’s today’s goal, of course: I’m really excited about the idea of actually finishing the novel. Usually my books get stuffed into a metaphorical drawer because I can’t decide how they’re supposed to end. Actually that’s not entirely true; thinking back, over the past four years only two have done that, the Poppy book (or Creating the Muse or the GCN or whatever you might remember it being called in its vast variety of temporary names) and the Pandora book. And I think about the Pandora book a lot, trying different resolutions in my mind. Many Names got finished, Balsamic Moon was finished (albeit in a two-page summary of the final chapter), Il Maestro e le Figlie di Coro is technically a complete first draft, although I think it needs an epilogue (I’ll confirm that if and when I ever revise it). Swan Sister is ongoing, as are the non-fic twins Harpsichord Dreams and the as-of-yet-untitled cello book, although all three are hibernating at the moment.
So yes: very exciting. I suspect starting with a brief synopsis, expanding it to a detailed synopsis, then writing from that synopsis is to be thanked for the actual execution of the project. (See how I cleverly avoided the word ‘outline’ there?) I usually prefer to write blind and discover what happens as I go, but I have to say, knowing the end helped a lot on this project. There are a half-dozen places where I would have stalled otherwise.
More tea! And I must see if those scones are still edible. And I should probably put a batch of bread on to rise.
New words today: 1,638
Total word count, Orchestrated: 68,074
I just started the final scene, or rather the first part of the two-part final scene. Wow.
I am late. Must fly.