My Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call is done. I wrapped up the draft on Saturday evening (inspired, perhaps, by going to see Mad Max Fury Road earlier in the day).
This is what the final week’s writing looked like.
That’s 4,647 words (in the end this draft was 68,162 words long).
In reality, the actual Siren’s Call word count was a bit less than that because I also started playing with a new idea and wrote 1,361 words on a different novel, most of it on Sunday. I won’t be working on that novel properly for a while (probably not until next year), but I wasn’t ready to start editing Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet which is what I should really be doing. So, I did a little bit of “filler” writing, just playing with the concept, trying out the voice and putting down the initial ideas I had for the opening scene.
I quite often do this sort of experimentation as a quick rest between projects. I write every single day (currently my streak is at 688 days) but sometimes I’m not quite ready to work on the next project. Maybe I don’t have an idea yet, or it’s not fleshed out enough, or I just want an excuse not to start wading through my editor’s feedback <cough>. In those cases, I’ll usually just tinker with one of my other ideas and treat the time as no pressure down time. I have several novel fragments that were written during one of these “rests”. One day I might go back to them.
As far as Siren’s Call goes, I spent Monday revising what I had – cleaning up all the little notes I’d left myself while I was writing. In the process of doing that I found some gaps I wanted to fill. I worked on those new sections and then did the final revisions Saturday evening.
So, Siren’s Call is finished, now it’s time to throw that puppy online and start raking in the cash.[A phone rings]
Hello? Oh, hello Ellen Campbell, Apocalypse Weird editor extraordinaire.[A muffled voice speaks]
Wait. I can’t just throw this draft up, slap a stock photo on it and expect it to sell? But that’s what other-[A muffled voice speaks. Louder this time.]
Oh, right. I have to put it aside for a bit and then come back with fresh eyes, and then the mistales will leap out at me.[A muffled voice speaks. Not quite so loud but still clearly not to be messed with.]
And I’ll need at least two more drafts to go through and then it’ll just about be in a state I can send it to you? Okay, well, you’re the expert. I guess.[A muffled voice speaks. It’s loud again.]
Right, into the metaphorical drawer it goes then. Look, I’m doing it right now. I won’t look at it for at least a week, maybe even two.[A muffled voice speaks. The line goes dead.]
Well, there you go. Siren’s Call will be going into a virtual drawer to fester for a week or so. Don’t tell Ellen, but I do this with all my stories. Some of them fester for months actually. I need that time to get a bit of distance from the story.
When the manuscript comes back out of the drawer, I’ll be doing a couple more passes – one to fix any big structural issues, add some flavour, solidify characterisation, that sort of thing. Then I’ll read the manuscript at least once to clean up clunky sentence writing that’s isn’t as not unclear as I think I should really make it be. That’s when I’ll cut out repetitive words and pet phrases as well. That’s a critical step, believe me.
Then it’s off to Ellen for a real editor’s perspective which of course will create more work for me.
It’ll be worth it though. I’m really happy with how this first draft turned out, and I think this will be good read when it’s finished.
Tomorrow, I need to get onto the edits for Glitch. I’m hoping to get the first round of those done by the end of the month and then spend June getting Siren’s Call ready for Ellen. We’ll see whether it works out that way.
Not long to go on the Apocalypse Weird IndieGoGo campaign. There’s lots of cool stuff there, including signed books, limited edition hard covers, manuscript critiques and a lifetime subscription to Apocalypse Weird.
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[Building the Apocalypse – The Beginning of the End by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 18th May 2015]