Posted by: Best Selling Novel | December 18, 2011

First draft…224 days to go. Word count 31565

Word count 31565

I warned you that 30,000 words was looming.  That landmark came and went as quickly as summer in the UK did last July.  I’m getting through my word count at a quicker rate than David Cameron is running from the other European leaders at the moment.  Being a political ignoramus, that wasn’t intended to be a statement of my stance on the subject.  I was just looking for a suitable and topical comparison for my current literary progress.

I haven’t been cheating.  I’ve had a number of sessions recently where I have managed to sit down and write.  And write like my life depended on it, which it didn’t obviously.  As I alluded to before, since writing about a topic I knew helped spur me on, a series of events has meant I’ve been able to write more.

The more I write, the faster the story moves along and the greater the feeling of progress.  This in turn spurs you on to write more.  Whatever the opposite of a vicious circle is, that would apply here.  A little like running on a smooth open road rather than in a hilly, boggy field.  Or trying to east a huge vat of soup with a tea-spoon instead of a table-spoon.  I think I’ve proven the point and could continue to drone on with similar weak analogies.  If the storyline moves on more slowly, it’s easy to get bogged down and the writing is slower.  That’s it.

So why don’t you shut up and write more then, I hear you shout.  Well, you’re right I should and, if I didn’t need to work, sleep or eat then I would.  Until scientists devise a way to become bionic, I’ll have to continue doing little and often to move the story along.

Even if there isn’t time to write chapters and chapters, a little progress is better than no progress.  Then I’ll feel like the story is moving along.

Any more talk of little or no progress and you’ll think I’m alluding to politics again.

Anyway, I’m charging towards 35,000 this evening so I must bid farewell.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | December 6, 2011

First draft…236 days to go. Word count 27509

Word count 27509

You’re probably thinking you’ve slipped into some kind of time warp.  You haven’t.  This really is the second update in almost as many days.  A fortunate combination of a little extra free time, a chapter I could really get my teeth into and the subsequent motivation meant I found my writer’s feet over the weekend.

I promise not to get all ‘Trip Advisor’ on you but the latest chapter has been the introduction of one of the more shady characters in the book to Las Vegas.  Possibly second to my good lady wife I’m one of the biggest fans of Vegas.  I’m not a massive gambler nor do I love to party, as you kids would say.  To me, it’s just one of the ultimate holiday destinations in terms of relaxing, dining and exploring some of the most beautiful countryside in the surrounding areas.  I’ll stop now, as I am getting too tour guidy.

Many people have said that writing about what you know is often the way to go and this has proven to help massively here.  Since you only need to raid the memory banks rather than rely on research where, at the back of your mind, you keep telling yourself that Wikipedia cannot really count as proper research, the writing flows much more easily.  Or it certainly did with me anyway.

I’ve also taken the plunge now and started a designated twitter account for my writing exploits and I’m finding it’s providing invaluable advice to the amateur like me from tried and tested authors.  If you are that way inclined then it’s @novelbestseller.  Damn you, character limit – I couldn’t quite fit in ‘bestsellingnovel’ as my username.

30000 words is looming now so watch this space.  If you don’t hear from me, I’ve discovered a time warp, finished the book and told you about it in this blog six months ago.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | December 3, 2011

First draft… 240 days to go. Word Count 25256

Word Count 25256

It has been a while.   I’d like to think I’m still on track despite my rather shallow line on the progress chart.  Although I’m sure I’ll get there on time, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not all about rapidly completing the task rather just enjoying the journey.  While that, to some, may sound surprisingly articulate for me, I’m sure most of you will see it as a cleverly disguised excuse for taking the fabled role of the tortoise in this particular race.   There is some truth in it though as I do want to enjoy it so there’s no need getting too hung up on deadlines.

It has been an eye-opening month for me.  As the writers amongst you may know, there is such thing as NaNoWriMo.  No, I haven’t just fallen on my keyboard.  For those of you who wish to delve further:  To save you time, it’s a competition that anyone can enter to write a novel of 50,000 words.  In November.  Just November.  Yep, one month.  And not even a 31-dayer.

If you don’t write and are following this just through curious obsession, you may think, as I did before I started writing, ‘meh, that sounds fine.’  Obviously now I have a book to write so this has more relevance and I’ve been keeping this at the back of my mind during November.

I’m sure we’ve all written a panic 1500-word essay the night before it’s due but now imagine doing more than this every night for a month and, in most people’s cases, do a full-time job too.  At the moment, I do try to write some book every night but with a pretty full-on full-time job, the thought of doing the best part of 2000 words every night only gives me more respect for the people who do it.  So if any of you have done it or even thought about it, I’d be super keen to hear about it.

Perhaps as I become more of a seasoned writer (don’t laugh) I’ll look back on those comments and tut at what an amateur I sound.  I can only hope so.  I can also hope the pound gets stronger, holidays get cheaper and the government decide it’s unfair after all to put a tax on petrol.

Anyway, I’m enjoying a sudden spurt in word count at the moment so I will be getting back to you more regularly as the first draft continues to take shape.   The main protagonist is currently getting lulled further out of his comfort zone but he’s currently making more money than he does even as a banker.  It’s easier writing when the storyline gets exciting.

That’s enough now.  Any more from me and you’ll wonder why I thought it’d be difficult writing 50000 words in a month.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | October 4, 2011

First draft…299 days to go. Word count 21220

Word count 21220

I don’t know why I thought this time it would be different.  Last time we moved house I remember casting an eye over our stuff thinking we’d have it all in place after a day or so.  It was absolutely not the case.

Back then though, I was naive and young.  Three weeks ago the time came to move again and I thought back to how long it had taken and chuckled to myself, ‘I can’t believe it took so long, of course we’ll be more efficient and move in quickly this time.’

And now you know, given away by the time it has taken me to update this, that we weren’t in fact more efficient this time and, yes, it had taken just as long.  It turns out that it can take weeks and weeks to unpack your boxes and things go missing inexplicably for days on end.  We happen to have just got to the end of a bizarrely unseasonably hot spell which required my shorts to be dug out from the back of the newly  re-stocked wardrobe.  I was so close to strolling out in shorts and my work shoes simply because I couldn’t face digging through boxes to find more appropriate shoes.

Luckily my social conscience took over and forced me to find some sandals. 

You don’t really care about my dress sense or how I’m perceived in the neighbourhood though, do you?  You’re just here to find out whether I’ve finished making excuses and have got my finger out to carry on my book.  I think I’ve suitably set the scene to appeal to your forgiving side as I come, tail between my legs, to say that I’ve only just got back into a normal routine, albeit a happier and more relaxed routine in our new house!

Please accept my apologies for my unanticipated absence and, hopefully unlike Big brother on Channel 5, you’re pleased to hear from me again. 

So, big news, I’m back in your lives and, with the big 300 day deadline passed, I’m hitting the ground running.

And I’m more than happy to do so, there are plenty of empty boxes to cushion the landing.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | September 7, 2011

First draft…325 days to go. Word Count 20423

Word Count 20423

With all the excitement of my previous post, I neglected to mention the rather impressive jump in word count from a couple of weeks ago.  A little break in Pembrokeshire did wonders for that and helped me write the kind of chunk I need to be doing a little more regularly.

Since then I’ve managed to keep up what I promised to do when I first started this and write something every day, even if it’s just a badly spelt, grammatically incorrect, sprawl of drivel.  I keep telling myself I can sort that out afterwards.  At this rate though, I’ll have more to sort out post event than Gordon Brown’s PR department.

Not meaning to make any political statement in my posts, I’ll have to add that other Parties are equally capable of ‘putting their foot in it’, as I believe is the technical term.  As I risk plunging off a cliff and getting way out of my depth in intense debate  over running a country, I’ll get right back on topic of my book progress.

I’ve now sailed through the welcome gates of chapter 12 and now need to do a little more research.

It’s funny that when I did all my initial planning I looked into some areas in more detail but others, like the major sporting events I’m including in my book, I thought I knew a lot about.  Now I’ve come to write about them (in this case the European Champions League (soccer for those non-Europeans!).  The detail I need to make the story a good one is above and beyond what I thought I’d need.

It has been a little like saying you know quite a bit about Europe, having been on a few holidays, and then someone asks you to name the 4th largest city in Croatia.

The moral of this tale is to never think you’ve done too much research before you begin your first draft.

It’s Osijek by the way, as I’m sure you all knew.

(the super-relaxing Pembrokeshire coast which helped to prompt my word count leap)

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | August 30, 2011

First draft…332 days to go

Word count 19212

I promised to tell you more about the book this time and less about my (now normalised) physical condition.  I thought the best way to do this would be to let one of the main characters, Barton McDonald, write this blog post instead.

I managed to leave a voicemail for him to ask him to do so.  His secretary sadly got back to me to tell me he was far too busy.  He was picking up his brand new Bentley, which, by the way, will sit nicely next to his Porsche.  He also asked that in future we don’t call him and, if we could email him instead, he may get back to us if he can spare any time.  He does have his new iPhone and iPad2 on him at all times.

Although I’m not sure she should have told me this, his secretary also said that, to be honest, Barton really couldn’t be bothered to write this post anyway.  He’ll not make any money doing so and has no time for anything so mundane whilst there are markets open and investments to make.  He couldn’t see why he should waste any effort for us; he’s far too important and is above us all, really.  We should, in fact, be grateful that we get to read about him.

You get the idea that he’s not a massively likeable character, then?  You might say that he’s pretty wrapped up in his own materialistic, money-making world. 

I hope this goes some way to prove how great a temptation must come his way to draw him away from his greedy, extravagant self-centred lifestyle.

What could be so enticing to grab the obsessive attention of the man who believes he has everything?

Everything, that is, until now.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | August 25, 2011

First draft…337 days to go

Word count 15514

After a super-relaxing holiday, I’m back in business.  I’ve not been back for too long but wanted to get going as soon as possible with the writing so I could get back into it after the break.  As a car may be a little sluggish turning over after a few weeks’ neglect, so my fingers struggled a little to find the correct keys as quickly as I’d have liked.

It only took half an hour or so of feeling like I was learning to type again with my tongue subconsciously lolling out the corner of my mouth before I was up to speed.  I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to pick up where I’d left off but, in a second-to-none masterstroke, I’d stopped half way through an important conversation.  This could have utterly confused me in my post holiday daze but fortunately it helped that part of the story to all come flooding back.

You may remember one of my previous posts mentioned how I like to stop half way through a dramatic bit of the story.  Or you may not (cue a heart-broken sigh).  Either way, this quirky approach that I’ve taken helped me this time.  I’d like to know if this is normal though; do any of you other writers do this or do you prefer to get to the end of a nice chunk of writing so you can draw a line under it and have done with it?  I’m aware asking this may highlight another way that I might differ from other, more seasoned writers!

You’ll see my progress chart indicates I must pop my tongue back in from the corner of my mouth and get my finger out now I’m up to speed again.

So that is what I’ll do.

Back soon and I promise to actually talk about my book next time rather than just my temporary physical ineptitude.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | August 9, 2011

First draft…353 days to go

Word count 14321
I think it’s a good job I’ve stayed in today to write. We’re on the verge of going away for a week or so and today,being the day before we go, leaves us with two options: wear Winter clothes or wear the clothes that are so old they didn’t make the cut for going away.
The clothes that didn’t make the cut for me are pretty sociably unacceptable now. I’m talking don’t even open the door to the postman unacceptable. So the winter clothes have come into play. Until tomorrow at least anyway.
There’ll be too much sun, relaxing and food to distract me so I won’t be writing any book on holiday. Therefore I’ll be making myself scarce until later next week when I return full of enthusiasm and ideas to get down on paper.
Until then, happy writing for those who are. For those who aren’t, remember not to judge people too soon at this time of year if they seem dressed for the wrong season or indeed the wrong era.
Now where did I put that tank top…

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | August 2, 2011

First draft…360 days to go

Word Count 13884

I know what you’re thinking.  I’m sure he said he’d be close to 20k words by the end of July.  If you are thinking that then you’re right.  To be fair, I am closer to 20k than I was but still have a little way to go.

Never mind, I’ll not get too hung up on word count and just concentrate on getting the story down.  That’s exactly what I have been doing – getting the story done, not getting hung up on word count. 

I’m getting to a particularly interesting part of the story.  The main man, Barton, has everything materially that one person could have even if he has the social and emotional charm of a cardboard cutout.  I’m not talking stereotypical IT engineer lack of social charm*, more a lack of desire to want to get on with people.  This is because he thinks he doesn’t need to because he believes he has everything.  Well maybe he doesn’t.  Yet.

When he is apparently chosen to be allowed into a very different world of opportunity, it makes him realise there is more that he doesn’t have.

And yet again, I’ve written a  little bit about what happens in the book without giving away anything that happens in the book.  Reading this blog post must be a little bit like watching the first hour of  ‘Australia’ (the film, not the discovery of the country) – you get told a reasonable amount but don’t find out much about what’s going to happen.   Apparently it is a good film and you should watch it all the way to the end.

It is pretty long though.

Unlike this post.

Which must end here as I’m too busy trying to forget about word count and think about tempting Barton away from his safe world of money and possessions.

Perhaps he should spend more time thinking about better ways to end blog posts. 

*I’m allowed to say that, I work with computers.

Posted by: Best Selling Novel | July 24, 2011

First draft… 369 days to go and a new look

Word count 12033

Another 1000 words rattled off since the last update.  As well as the progress on the word count front, you’ll probably notice the visual update to this blog page too.

I’ve had to dust off my limited Photoshop skills to find a header image for the blog which attempts to incorporate all the main features of the book – busy financial districts, secluded and relaxing mountains, gambling and glamour of Vegas, all on a background of cash.

You’ll be beginning to wonder where I’ve found the time to do any writing too since I’ve also added a ‘Progress Page’.  To accompany this is a handy image on the home page to replicate what is on this new page. 

Rather than wonder where I’ve found the time to write, it would be a little more appropriate to wonder how I’m going to find more time to write.  As is clear from the progress page, I need to keep on writing at a much quicker rate if I’m to get this book done when I want to. 

It’s not a case of not knowing what I’m going to write, since my plan is pretty comprehensive.  It’s more a case of knuckling down and doing some little and often.  My new progress chart will help keep things in perspective and keep me on track.

On that note, I’ll take heed of my own advice (for once), stop being distracted by fancy charts and get on with some writing.

The sun is out (finally, after about 2 weeks of hiding behind a premature Autumn) so an evening on the patio perhaps beckons…

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