Brought up on film, I was led to believe that writing involved bashing at a typewriter or computer keyboard for – ooh, minutes – before triumphantly typing the words ‘The End’ and slugging a stiff drink to celebrate.
However, in my sadly non-celluloid world, typing these words just means that the next phase of work can begin. I’m at the end of my Don’t Look Down draft, AKA The Big Freaking Mess.
My first draft is an exploration. I spew out whatever rises up from my subconscious until I finally realise what the book is actually about. Which is invariably not the thing I thought it was about when I typed the first couple of sentences four months ago.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that my word count bar is at 62,304 words, not 80,000. Don’t be alarmed (as if), I will at least 20,000 words in the next draft. I under-write and many scenes are pure dialogue; talking heads waiting for the scenery to be painted in. Many more scenes are full of notes to myself like ‘write this better later’ and ‘something, something, something – remember the breadstick!!!’. Not pretty.
So. Now I print out the GodAwfulMess and lay them out on the bed. I scribble notes and stick colourful post its in likely places, and I re-jig my book soundtrack and I work on my collage until I’ve figured out some more STUFF and then, then I take a very deep breath and begin the next draft. Wish me luck!