#1stdraftdiary Week 4 (36,500 – 50K)

IMG_5818Returning to #1stdraftdiary after a break, I feel completely disconnected. I had a wonderful time at West Cork Literary Festival and also a week in the UK – but what about my characters? What’s happening in the plot? I had zero idea about what was happening before, now I have less than zero –how is that possible?

Another issue is that after delivering four books in a 20-month period, I can feel myself burning out. I’m tired, and those 6am starts aren’t cutting it any more – they’re more of a battle than a pleasure, and that’s not how I want the writing process to feel. My neck is constantly sore, threatening to lock again, so I have to mind myself. I also have to give this final book of the Nine Lives Trilogy the respect it deserves and so – time for a new routine!

I’m not sure it’ll work but I feel energised by outdoors and exercise and so I’ve decided to spend my mornings walking the dog before going to the gym and swimming & walking home again. The idea is that this will help with my back/neck but also give me more energy. We’ll see! Anyway, time to dive back in… wish me luck!!!

#1stdraftdiary Day 22: I spend the day writing fillers, adding to disjointed scenes and get from 36,500 to 37,600 in an hour! Maybe the break has been good? I continue on and pause at 40,300. Thankfully, I’m back in the zone – and I still have more left in me. I’m cautious of overdoing it and leaving myself bereft of words for tomorrow, but the pull is too strong and I continue until 43K. In fact, something unusual has happened; my brain is starting to plot and plan. Maybe it’s because it’s my fourth book, or maybe it’s because I have to wrap up the trilogy and all its threads? Who knows! This has never happened this early in a draft before – but I’m going with it. Must do what is best for the book!  Word count: 43,000

#1stdraftdiary Day 23:  Even after yesterday’s marathon, I still have words!! Hooray! This is a complete surprise, so I write as soon as I can. As I expected, I run out of steam quite quickly but a realisation hits: I know where to start The Book of Revenge (I had three options!) and so, although this has never happened before, I’m ready to start draft 2. I’m going to listen to my instinct and start it alongside the first draft; I want at least 50K words of cul-de-sacs before I feel fully ready to let go. I still have ideas to find! I move onto draft 2 and write the first chapter. Magic! Word count: 46,200 (Draft: 1112 words)

#1stdraftdiary Day 24:  Within two hours, I reach my word count (48,200) for the day but I have a hunger to continue on. I can feel draft 2 is calling me – much earlier than it would usually – but I think knowing my characters and some of the issues I have to tie up is making this happen. I push on throughout the day to 52,100 – a mammoth word count for the day that leaves me feeling a little low (this always happens when I write too much) but also elated because that’s it – I’m there. There is no point continuing to 60K, as the story is calling – This book has t be delivered to my publishers October 31st and I’m fully booked for the month of October for the children’s book festival, so I have to crack on and do this! Which means, straight into draft 2; this will be more like most people’s first draft. No ore word vomit – it’s time to think, plan, plot, smooth, shape. Wish me luck! Word count: 52,100

And so… this is the quickest first draft I’ve ever done, but also the most disjointed. I’d say it hasn’t really helped me find the story very much like it usually would because of all the breaks, but I have enough to work with. It’s all change; my routine has changed (it’s working up to now) and I’m not leaving any time between drafts this time around (I will for draft 3) – but I guess that’s all part of the fun.

Check out #1stdraftdiary on twitter to see everyone else’s achievements & to cheer people on – and if you’re working on your own first draft, join in!

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