Yesterday I finished the first draft of Mountainless 2. It was really hard. I’ve always known exactly how the main plot was going to end; it was like somebody beamed a film of it directly into my head (thanks to whoever did that btw). However the final scenes of the book where we say goodbye to characters and tie up loose ends were much less forthcoming.
In hindsight I think I was a bit resistant to writing them. At first I couldn’t understand why. I’ve been gagging to finish this story for what feels like ages now. It’s been hanging over me, demanding to be finished. A lot of the time I’ve been driven to write but suddenly as the end was in sight I stalled.
The ending(s) felt more pressured than normal, like it had to be amazing or else the whole thing is a failure (probably some truth in that).
But that wasn’t the real trouble…
You see up to this point nobody else has seen a page of Mountainless 1 or 2. Not a single sentence. Finishing the draft means I need to start editing and that’s only a whisker* away from having to show it to *gasp* other people.
And there’s a chance it’s crap.
Up till now my fantasies about how great it might be have all been unchallenged and that’s soon coming to an end.
I’m a bit scared about that.
So when I finished the draft I didn’t have a rush of having finished because I know, deep in my heart, that actually all I’ve done is finish the fun, purely creative bit, and now the real work is about to start.
*A very long, arduous, painstaking, editing whisker.
In an earlier post I talked about wanting to get lots of writing done in January. So how did I do? Well my house is reaching critical levels of chaos and there are lots of things on my to-do list that have graduated from important to urgent.
I notice the book isn't finished.
Yes, about that…
Go on then, what’s the excuse?
Well, I’d set myself the task of finishing the first draft which involved writing about 50k. I actually wrote more like 24k in the end.
Yes, yes, we can all read the progress meter, what happened?
Real life for one thing, I hadn’t really factored it into my writing plan. Nor had I thought about editing. The Vagrant was problematic in this regard. I’d prewritten January’s episodes but when I came to edit it I realised that a couple of the episodes didn’t work and so I had to write new ones.
I’d also written a story for a competition but I’d only written a first draft. Turns out it was more of a basis for the actual story I ended up with three edits (that’s developmental edits btw) and a few line edits later. I am much happier with the results though.
Finally with the WIP, all was going well until I hit a block. I’d written myself into a corner and my budding instincts told me something was wrong. I heard that as ‘you can’t write anymore’. For most of a week I moped about thinking that I’d ‘lost it’ but now I can see that I just needed to untie some knots and reshape some earlier scenes. It was progress but I’m still the same distance from the finish line.
I am happy with what I’ve done over January but it still niggles me that I haven’t finished the first draft yet. There’s this nagging feeling that if I’d really wanted to, really worked, it would be done.
So now I’m going to try and finish it by the end of February! Though there are still Vagrant’s to write and an anthology I fancy trying for (that has to be done by the end of the month).
We won’t hold our breath then…
Probably best not to.
In November I wrote 50K towards the first draft of ‘The Mountainless Book 2’. Then I stalled a bit. In December I wrote…er…about a thousand words.
So what did you do with your time?
Good question. Apart from the whole Christmas thing I managed to keep up with my serial (The Vagrant), I wrote a short story for Fantasy Faction (it’s called ‘A Royal Winter’, and voting will open soon, so I’d appreciate it if you stopped by) and I’ve written an entry for the James White Award (there’s still time to enter if you fancy). I also killed a lot of dragons and became head of the Mages College in Winterhold but that’s another story.
Overall that’s not too shabby but there’s still an issue about half a book not written.
Indeed, so I’ve come up with a plan. It sadly has nothing to with Cylons. I’m planning to get as close as I can to finishing the first draft by the end of the month by repeating my November experience, a kind of ‘Peter’s January Writing Month’ or ‘PeJaWriMo’.
To this end I’ve spent the last week pre-writing The Vagrant to cover me through most of January and plan to get back to the book tomorrow, just after we’ve finished redecorating.
I’ll keep updating my progress (or lack of it) on the word counter to your right.