Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Word count is your friend.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping the three chapters of the Cabinet so far would be enough to get me an advance. Two things help me focus when I'm writing: deadlines, and Actual Money.

In fact, I think this was a possibility, but not necessarily the most practical one - better to go to a publishers with a finished first draft of a manuscript, so they can see what they've got.

Now I have had some of my screen work novelised ('A rollercoaster of emotion' said Anthropormophised Construction Vehicles Weekly, 'A searing tale of thwarted emotions and slow-setting concrete' said the Penryn Library under-5's reading group, 'A modern day saga of revenge, passion and grand ambition' said Bernard Cornwell, creator of the Sharpe series*), but someone else did the adaptation, and my name's only on it in very small print, and I didn't actually get paid for it, so apparently it doesn't count.

So, I've set myself a thousand-words-a-day** minimum, given myself the end of September as a spurious and unlikely deadline and gone through all my notes to see if I left myself any clues for an ending (I like going through my notes, as I recognize the handwriting, but never any of the sentences; it's like reading letters from a parallel you in a universe unrestrained by technicalities like spelling, or having to actually finish anything). And to my surprise, I sort of had left myself an ending- although whether it'll still seem like a good idea when I good closer to it, I don't know.

Currently I'm writing completely out of sequence, which it wouldn't have occurred to me to do previously. That's a GW hangover, when you just write the fun bits, although I will have to do things like exposition and plot at some point. But quite often writing a piece of chapter three solves a problem you've been fretting about in chapter two (I'm keeping one as is, but rewriting from then on, so I ought to take the sample chapters off the website soon). I think three chapters ahead is my maximum at the moment. Currently, I'm writing about the Collector's suit. It's a good suit, and deserves its own little space in the book, so that's what I'm giving it.



* He actually did say this, for which he will always be in premier position of my list of Top Five Good Blokes Of Alll Time.

** They don't have to be good words*** - it helps to remember this. Just chuck it all down and worry about the details later.

*** These don't count, obviously.

14 comments:

smoo2 said...

It must make you so proud, James, to have your name in print. Even if it is small.

james henry said...

Yes, my name looked good on a book. But it would have looked better on a cheque.

cello said...

Oo-er. Discipline. Targets. Deadlines. Scary but very,very good things. Good luck,James. We won't take it personally if you have less time for us. Although, maybe writing is like love; the more you give the more you've got to give. You are all free to vomit now.

james henry said...

Ooh, no vomiting please. And the blog may slacken a little, but it's a nice thing to do for its own sake - and when the writing you're doing won't be shown/published for ages, if at all, it's great to do something that gets an almost instant response. As long as it's uncritical and wildly adulatory, obviously.

Kalista said...

Well done old chap ; )

Miss Moon said...

Is that 1,000 words a day 7 days a week??? You are scaring me! I think I need some of your motivation for mine! and your love of deadlines. I'm becoming convinced October the 21st is the day I'll turn into a pumpkin...

Are You Mad? said...

um...absoloutely no relavence (and i can't even spell that i'm so tired :P ) to this.....but..

VOTE GW FOR THE NATIONAL TV AWARDS!! *ahem* all done now...

BiScUiTs said...

Well done James! Good old Bernard Cornwell!

Sparkling said...

Congrats on your book!

How does one go about getting an
autographed version?

james henry said...

Um... one would purchase a copy and then send it to me in an SAE? I suppose?

Are we talking about Scarecrow Dizzy or the as-yet-unwritten Cabinet book? I'm slightly confused (the Scarecrow Dizzy book came out about two years ago, so I wasn't trumpeting that on the blog, by the way. Well, I was, but not as if it was news...)

Tracy said...

My smallest person is a massive Bob fan actually. However a signed copy would later be 'enhanced' by the scribblings of a 2 year old.
What I want to see is the episode where Bob and Wendy get it on! Honestly there is a whole community of Mums out there on the edge of their seats. Especially during that line dancing episode..the sexual tension was unbearable when Bob walked her to her door! Yep..I know I must get one of those life things soon.

Kalista said...

...fast forward 20 years and we could all own the complete works James Henry. they'd study it at A level! Disitate it at Uni! You'd get a knighthood and everything.....*ahems* okay, perhaps not the knighthood.

james henry said...

I'm very much looking forward to being Disitated at universities all across the country, although I worry it might chafe...

Kalista said...

James! That's shocking! : )