Some writers find it difficult to start a novel, while others struggle with endings. The rest of us have a hard time in the middle.
For me, the middle section of a book is where the real hard slog lies. I usually start off at a sprint, my enthusiasm for the project carrying me along for the first 20k or 30k words. Then, inevitably, I hit a rough patch and the energy wanes. I start to doubt that all my plot points will gel, or worry that I've focused on the wrong character. Sometimes I even think that I've written the wrong novel - or a third of it, anyway.
When I'm working on a novel I usually try to write a chapter a day. While that's usually not possible in reality, it remains my target, and my average is probably around 2k words per day. When I hit the middle section, however, that all goes out the window and I'm happy if I can hit 5k words a week...
With DEAD BAD THINGS I managed to get through the part where I usually falter without actually stopping, but then I hit the same set of problems again a few thousand words later and things began to drag. It's strange, because the story is all there - in my head. It just doesn't seem to want to come out as easily as it did a few weeks ago.
I have to hand in the novel to my publisher at the beginning of August, which leaves me about three months to get it finished and edited. I'll do it; of course I will. I always do. But it's hard and it takes a lot out of me. At the end of all the hard work, though, I'll have something that makes me tingle when I flick through the printed pages. And that, my friends, is worth all the hair-pulling and self-doubt in the world.
Current word count: 47,500 words
Good post, Gary - the beginning is my downfall, but it's interesting to see how other writers work.
As for the August deadline - of course you'll make it. But if you want a reader before the final draft, you know where I am!
Thanks, Mark, but it's a direct sequel to Pretty Little Dead Things so you'd have to read that, too. I couldn't bring myself to put upon you that much, mate.
It's new McMahon, I don't have a problem with that!
McMahon, you tosser!
Why didn't you tell me you had TWO books out at WHC2010?! I've only just found out about THE HARM; I could have picked it up at Brighton while I was there. Sheeesh... (Although, that said, I don't recall seeing it on the TTA table).
Anyhoo, the TTA website is useless: can't order a copy. I chanced my luck and ordered through Amazon, but it's actually listed as unavailable...
Oh, yeah, congrats on the Solaris and Angry Robot deals! :-D
Paul - email me and I can sort you out with a copy of "The Harm". It was on the TTA table in brighton...unfortunately, the table was barely visible in that corridoor...
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