As you’ll know if you read any of my garbage, this week was a significant one in that I produced an infected gallbladder from my body, as well as some more chapters. I did the first with the help of a surgeon and I’m now convalescing, although given the heat it’s perhaps a bit more like congealing. The latter accomplishments was all me though.
Somewhat remarkably the pull of the story kept me cranking out chapters despite the occasional twinge and the first draft folder now looks like this…
Nine chapters actually represents the first third of the story. There are 26 chapters in total, which is split into three sections Shut Off, Shut Up and Shut Out. So that’s Shut Off done in first draft form – go me!
Doing the maths I’m also 26,647 words into the book, which I estimate will be around 85,000 words which means I’m 31.3% of the way done. Huh, that’s impressed me!
It’s funny but I’ve found myself being drawn back to the story and excited to tell myself what happens next. A few characters appeared this week who weren’t planned and that’s always intriguing – where do they come from? What blackened bit of my subconscious has these things ready and waiting for me? What else is in there? Who else is in there?
Things that surprised me during writing this week:
- Ben, the main character has a dog called Brown (he’s black, Ben didn’t name him). As I was writing the dog it appeared that he couldn’t bark and it turns out that he’s been debarked. This is an actual grotesque thing. I thought long and hard about leaving this detail in because I didn’t want to even acknowledge it as a practice, in case it put it in some lunatic’s mind to get the surgery done. Fortunately, it’s mostly illegal now, but it really fits Brown so I’m afraid it’s stuck. Poor thing, he can bark but he’s totally mute.
- I actually really enjoyed writing some of the more gruesome parts. I’m usually pretty squeamish, but I fear my recent Google search history is possibly flagging me on some government list: “Cross section of diabetic leg” “Mouth ulcers with blood” “Amputated leg images”. I’m not going to link those, you can go ogle yourselves.
- Music continues to be essential to what I’d reluctantly call my “process”. I’ve got a Spotify playlist that I keep adding things to that I’m listening to when I write the book. If you want to have a listen then feel free! Suggest tracks too – I tend to prefer instrumental tracks when I’m writing as otherwise I just think about lyrics or try and sing along.
- I did a brief pass over the first three chapters in between writing chapters. The positive news is that I wasn’t immediately sick in my hands. There’s a lot of work to do but then that’s not a surprise really. I think the biggest question mark is whether the chapter structure (one chapter post-apocalypse in first person, one chapter flashback in third person) will be too jarring, or if it works in the way that I want it to. Frankly, I don’t know yet, but that’s the question I have.
- There was good stuff in there too though, so that’s a relief.
I hope you’ve had a good week and that your weekend is sunny and bright. Stick Get Off My Rock on and crack a beer/near beer and let’s see what happens next.
PS I started watching Toast on Netflix this week and now can’t stop saying “Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango.” Watch this and see if you catch the bug too.