Monday, July 23, 2012

Upon reaching a goal

Yesterday I reached a goal I set June first - well actually, as it happens, I started with one goal and kept revising it. My first goal was to write thirty thousand words for the Burrowers Novel Writing Month - BUNOWRIMO. The most common goal for that is to write 50 thousand words on a new novel. I thought, after about a year and a half of revising True I'd try a new piece while beginning the final revision of my mystery The Rock Walker. Once I started my muse screamed in and insisted that I do nothing but work on Bright Angel - the new book. I did fifty thousand words in June and as I was still having fun, I decided (with a large number of others at BUNO) to keep on keeping on. To me 80 thousand is a reasonable length novel and one that I've done before and so for July my goal was thirty more. I reached that yesterday.
The thing is (and there's always a thing) the novel isn't finished. I'm fairly sure that it will revise down to 80 thousand but I have quite a bit more to discover. I've been sneaking up on the climax and haven't quite got there. Depending on what happens with it - I'll be heavily changing my prologue and the bit of an ending that I've got.
It's been a real ride. The book has four voices - two teen girls, one woman (their mother) in her late forties and a woman approaching eighty. I'm pretty sure I know what the novel is about - I don't like to know too much before writing my first draft - just the barest idea - but it is good to know by now! The climax is tricky because I've fallen in love with a few scenes that might not make the cut. I'm a firm believer in 'kill your darlings' that old writers' adage that Oscar Wilde first penned. Believer or not it is hard.
Because I live with a house builder I often think in those terms. Once you've decided where something is going to go - like the stairs coming from the front hall as opposed to the kitchen - it is deuced hard to see it any other way. Same as writing. Once having seen something in my mind's eye, to see it differently takes some time. The trick that I'm learning is to really listen to my characters. When four of them are yammering in your ear it can get a little loud but it is always interesting.
So today, I am going back in. I've reached my numbers goal so I won't be fretting about moving quickly right now but more about deep listening. What do they need? What can't they have? What will they do that will move them through?
Hope you're having a wonderful summer. The weather here is doing its best to lure me out of doors. Today, after I write for awhile and walk the beasty, I'm going into town to see the parade of sail. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about - the tall ships have been in Halifax. Today they leave under sail and it is a thrilling thing to see. There is nothing like it for inducing time travel. I include a photo I took the other day when we went down to the waterfront. Maybe my next novel will be historical fiction.
More later. I really really want to be a pirate.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I am so very happy for you that you've reached your goal. That's absolutely wonderful! I hope you're taking pride in that as you go through the revision process.

I love that 'photo, too! Tall ships are wonderful!

Carol Kilgore said...

Oh, the tall ships are so exciting. I love them.

Let your muse ponder over your story and possible outcomes while you enjoy life for a few days. Then go back.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh I love them and they are gone for another year - I have a nice pic up a couple of days ago on my fb page of The Bounty under sail. It was built in Lunenburg, NS - so while it belongs to you folks, it was born here!
I am far too busy these last few days with prepping the house for sale and with clients to even think about my book - other than I got lots more books about the Grand Canyon from the library. Loving it!