Monday, 17 June 2013

A quarter of a book

I've realised something about writing. I can type up thousands of words a day, I suppose, if I really tried. But most of them would be scrapped because they were rubbish shortly afterwards. At the moment I'm writing 2000 words a day and they are scrappy, scruffy but mostly good. I've been planning this book in my head for about a year, and that takes way longer than just writing it. Looking at my notes, post-its, conversations I've had over the last year, I realise that's what really takes the time. The typing is another creative process, but once there's plot threads to hang it on - the warp as it were - the weft slides on fairly comfortably.

I just need to ensure I have enough threads to weave a whole book with. I think I'm fairly sorted with the historical strand - my characters are on a  journey and that's always interesting to write, if filled with very time consuming research. What was Brindisi like in 1587? What was Greece like under Ottoman rule? Crete, under Venetian? That's what takes up all the time, constant stopping to hit the Internet or my pile of research books (increasing almost daily). I think I take maybe a year to plan a book and about three months to write it, followed by months of intermittent editing.

I also creeped myself out in the contemporary strand, enough to stop me writing in the evening and wait to finish the scene in the light of day. I would love to claim that's just how clever I am as a writer but sadly, I think it's more the case that I'm easily scared. I'm scared of the dark. I suppose my own fear ends up on the page, which makes it more vivid, but it's still frightening to type those scenes!

What else is frightening, is my editor has asked for a short synopsis of book 2. I think rewriting book 2 would be easier. I'm terrible at writing synopses. Awful. I'm scared again... 

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