Continuing on from yesterday, here’s today’s installment of “how to write a novel when you only have a rough idea of what you’re doing”.
07:15 – In the shower, pondering character development, I at long last solved a riddle that’s been bugging me for more than a year. There is a female character who has so far served the ancient and honourable function of Moral Donkey, in that it’s been her task to carry some of the story’s moral weight. However, this has made her dull to write – especially because she doesn’t (yet) have much to say (and like I said yesterday, dialogue’s the fun part). But now I know what her narrative point is, I’ll be able to look forward to involving her a lot more and, when I come to redrafting, I’ll be able to perform some rewrites knowing what it is she’s eventually going to achieve. (As an aside, it’s always tremendously satisfying to have the rescued become the rescuer. Joss Whedon knows what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, go and watch or read literally anything Joss Whedon has ever done.)
20:07 – Finally manage to put away John Scalzi’s monstrously addictive blog and spend a few minutes reading what I’ve written recently. I know there’s a swerve to come in the narrative: I don’t want to veer into it too abruptly. By regaining my sense of the chapter’s trajectory I can make sure that it flows better.
20:16 – Finished the scene I abandoned last night; now on to a new one. This one will feature characters making subversive use of social and state media. Few things are more entertaining to write than characters who don’t know they’re being manipulated by some of Our Heroes… However, if said character is a new creation, and they are required to have a Gaelic name (because reasons), be prepared to spend an annoyingly long time with both a book of Irish names and the special characters menu in Microsoft Word open in front of you. In the end (and this may provide too much insight into the way my mind works) I went with ‘Donelle Bròg’, because this character is a newsreader, and a newsreader I remember from BBC Northern Ireland is called ‘Donna Traynor‘, and ‘Bròg’ is the Gaelic for ‘shoe’…
20:46 – Go to iPlayer to watch the start of the BBC news not because I’m interested in the stories but because I want to capture exactly the framing sentences they use to introduce them.And, having done so, I now have to think up additional headlines. Rats.
21:36 – A brief excursion to Wikipedia to confirm that Oliver Cromwell’s title during the Interregnum was ‘Lord Protector’ (it was).
21:50 – Google: what’s the Gaelic for ‘Birdsong’? (Answer: nothing useful.) What’s the Gaelic for ‘Babble’? ‘Síor-rá’. Thank you Google – that’s much more helpful.
22:37 – Not an easy session tonight, but there we go: 796 words achieved. And I’m into the next scene, so I can pick up tomorrow knowing at least my starting point. G’night, all.
Here’s your moment of Zen: