Hell hath no fury like a South Australian Summer.
This past week South Australia has sweltered through a record length heatwave (over four days above 40 degrees Celcius – making it to over 45.) We only just missed out on a record high temperature of 46.1, on Thursday.
I have lived here for over 25 years. Each year I enjoy the winters more. Each summer I melt into a puddle, praying for some relief (or to win the lottery so I could relocate for the summer. Tuscany would be perfect!) At least we did not get the predicted blackouts due to overloading on the power station.
All week I sat imprisoned in the house trying to avoid the weather. What better time to do some writing. It was a pity my brain was turning slowly to slush, parboiling inside my skull. It was time for some stream of consciousness – just writing whatever came to mind. I managed over 1000 words over those five scorching days. I am quite happy with that. If I had just ‘splodged’ in front of the television I would not have achieved anything.
Next on my schedule is to finish off the chapter (possibly only 500 odd words to go) and then assess the feedback from my writers’ group. I am trying new ways of handling dialogue. The best advice I got was: Only read the dialogue (ignore all other words) and see if I can still follow the scene. Hmm… Some revisions to be done there. Such a simple tactic, that makes so much sense. Thank you ladies!
Manuscript Word Progress:
At 1st draft only:
Chapter two is finished! For now, at least.
After two rounds of four to five hours of revision work, it was ready to give to my trusty ‘Proofreader #1’. Another couple of hours of rough editing and it is now filed away, with chapter 1, to let it mull over in my subconscious until the rest of the manuscript is finished – and then deal with any rewrites that will follow.
It was about time to start thinking about the size of the manuscript – whether to write a full blown epic or a basic novella. It seems an average for fantasy/steampunk novels are around 80,000-90,000 words, so that is a good number to aim for – for now.
- Chapter 1: Of Rivals, Surprises and Escapes -approx 2500 words
“I think you have something of mine that I accidentally dropped?” The stranger’s green eyes glinted as he smiled back, scrutinising Tillie’s bustle.
“Sir, we have only just met and have not been properly introduced,” she replied curtly.
- Chapter 2: Of Silks, Kippers and Secrets – approx 4800 words.
I have battled with the revisions (especially one scene!) since 18th December. Dilemma #1: how much background reveal is enough/too much?
The smell of smoked kippers greeted Tillie as she entered the dining room. The buffet boasted a full range of delights, many of which were her favourites: bacon, fried mushrooms, eggs, toast and jam. Kippers were not high on her list.
- Chapter 3: The Inventor, The Department and Curiosities. First draft: 2100 words so far. Dilemma #2: Is it time for some destruction and mayhem?
- Chapter ?: Of Trains, Dirigibles and Steamships. – First draft: 2100 words so far (incomplete)
This was the first snippet to be written of this manuscript.
This year is all about finishing what I have started. I have a goal of finishing the manuscript to a point where it can be proofread and ready for editing by October. I hope this is reasonable. I would love to go into November starting on a new project and am seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo this year (if I can keep my stress levels down). Now I have publicly said this, I am more likely not to give up!
So far I have about 7000 words revised, another 4200 words at the first draft stage. I decided that I will keep a running total (for those into numbers), as this would be a good incentive to keep me forging ahead. (the old ‘if I say it, I have to do it‘ thing).
Manuscript Word Progress: – 11 200 /85 000 – (Revised: 7000/1st Draft:4200)
For those who like pretty graphs:
At 1st Draft only: