Time to… WRITE!

I’m like a kid going on summer holidays.

Last uni classes for the year this week. And much as I’ve loved this semester and being a uni ‘kid’ – school’s out for summer. Yippee!

Not that I’m planning to loll on the beach or cruise around the islands during my break.

I’ve got a novel to finish and four months to do it.

Originally I was intending to redraft my manuscript as my major project next year, but it’s so far advanced already (two years in the making). And after the enthusiastic responses from publishers when I pitched my project at the recent SCBWI Conference, I’m fired with enthusiasm to really push through and finish it now.

All semester my ideas have been itching, and my fingers twitching to keep on with the writing. My forecast earlier in the year of having two chapters to go towards a full draft proved a wee bit premature. Now, after adding a further four chapters this semester, pulling the threads together and building to the climax, again, I’m about two chapters from the end. (Okay, still.)

Turns out, I knew where my story was going but I had to give my characters a chance to travel their journey and it took them a little longer to catch up than I thought. Now I’ll have to go back and make sure they’ve not taken the long way round, or gotten sidetracked on any unnecessary detours.

Reading back over the mss, after a break of several months since I read the first half of the book, I can clearly see now where cuts need to be made. I’ll need to do some careful weaving and stitching to ensure some important details and threads are put back in. I’m a strong fan of putting aside a story for a time before rereading with fresh eyes. Didn’t think it would be quite so long, but then again, the manuscript is  over one hundred-thousand words and my focus has been on part two. The balance of so many words can be quite tricky for a newbie novel writer.

I’m also heading to Canberra soon to do some research at the Australian War Memorial. I’ve been looking forward to the trip for months. It’s an amazing place, full of incredible stories to enthrall any visitor, whether writing a novel or not. I’m sure I’ll take much longer there than I’ve reckoned on too. I know I’ll become engrossed in the stories and lives of men and women so brave, I hope we’ll never have need to see their like again. 

So it’s head down for me, with lots of writing, redrafting, and words of my novel to lose. Words that will hurt to cut, but I recognise that some of my early chapters were me writing my way into the story and getting to know my characters.

I can’t wait to get stuck back into it.

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Enjoy the research Chris. That is one of my favourite parts. 🙂

October 17, 2010 at 11:52 am
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Ha, I’m like you, Chris – hoarding notebooks and journals. My favourites (that I have actually used) are 5 pale brown leather with gold-edged pages and beautiful silky paper that Ross found for me once.

Can you believe they were on special for $10 each. I’ve filled 1 whole one with the first draft of ‘McAlpine & Macbeth’, the second started off being stories from my childhood (didn’t get far), and the third is another novel in progress.

I find the beautiful paper makes me want to keep writing and I don’t get too worried about being messy on such lovely paper, strangly enough.

October 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm
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    Your notebooks sound gorgeous, Sheryl. Sumptuous, and so wonderful that you can write in them enjoying without worrying about being messy. They sound perfect, not to mention a bargain. Even better, two ready and waiting for your next novels too. Best wishes, Chris

    October 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm

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