Words upon Reaching 45,000 Words

27 May

I have now written 45,000 words of my latest fictional project (WIP No. 1). I began work on it at the end of October (though I’d been mulling over the idea subconsciously for the previous four years). For me, this represents rapid progress. After all, my last project took me six years. 45,000 words – it remains to be seen whether any of them are any good… As those who’ve read this blog before might know, I’ve adopted a twin-pronged approach to writing this time around. The 15,000 words of WIP No.2 have been lying untouched since October. And so they will remain while the ideas for No. 1 continue to flow. I’m off to the the writing den with my children in tow, so I may well return with a few thousand words more. Or I may just return with a clutch of cuts and scratches as a result of making dens. We shall see…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The view from the writing desk in winter

Although it shares certain structural similarities with its predecessor, the new manuscript is vastly different in nature. It involves an alternative history of Europe, which is nonetheless based upon real events. And there is almost an element of fantasy to it. It relates a multitude of stories but dispenses altogether with traditional narrative structure. Who can say whether it will work? Nobody has yet seen any part of it, other than those who’ve looked at the two short extracts on this blog, so I’ve been writing in a vacuum. You can tell that I’ve arrived at one of those points, which most writers experience, where you start to question the validity of what you’re writing…

Meanwhile, on the reading front, I’m about half way through Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game (see previous post). I shall be taking it with me to the writing den. At over five hundred pages of small print – I wonder how many words that comes to? – I doubt whether I’ll finish it. I shall give my verdict in due course. At least I’m enjoying it more than the last book that I read, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, also weighing in at over five hundred pages and to my eyes, deeply disappointing.

All text and image © PSR 2013

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7 Responses to “Words upon Reaching 45,000 Words”

  1. Mari Biella May 28, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Congratulations on reaching 45,000 words, Paul. The short extract suggests that you don’t need to worry too much about whether they’re any good! It sounds intriguing, and I can’t wait to read more of it. Your description of ‘rail-hopping’ captures the lure of just dropping everything and taking off. It reminds me a little of the time when, as a teenager, I was planning to hitchhike across Europe. This never actually happened. I can’t remember whether I thought better of it, or whether my mother finally put her foot down…
    As to questioning the validity of what you’re doing – I can sympathise. I’ve spent much of the past year doing that. In a way, though, I think it’s a good sign, as it shows that you’re putting a lot of thought and care into your writing. I’d be inclined to be suspicious of any author who claimed never to question what they were doing. I think there’s a sense in which you have to be your own harshest critic; that feeling of dissatisfaction is the very thing that spurs you to greater effort.
    Anyway, enjoy your stay in your writing den. The view from your desk is beautiful. Certainly beats my view of a building site!

    • Mari Biella May 28, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Apologies for the lack of paragraph breaks in my comment, by the way. This is what comes of typing in a hurry!

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves June 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for your kind comments and congratulations, which were not in the least affected by the lack of paragraph breaks! Sorry for the delay in replying – the writing den is totally Internet-free (no distractions, no excuses!).

    I considered that whole Inter-rail thing and never did it either! I still have vague regrets about it. In my case, it was almost certainly that I didn’t get off my backside and do it… I and a couple of good friends did use a mixture of trains and hitch-hiking to explore the Low Countries on a couple of occasions, though (does anyone still hitch-hike these days?).

    The WIP does have a sort of rail theme – it could be inspired or just rather silly! The current jury of one is still out… Whatever the result, it still feels good to see a document of some substance emerging. Wise words from you, as ever, though, Mari, on the need for self-criticism as a motivator and a check.

    The view from the writing den is very verdant and relaxing, all of which is conducive to composition, of course. Are they building something interesting across your view? After all, even St Peter’s Basilica was once a building site. I’m trying to think of some brilliant parallel with an unfinished script here, but it eludes me…

    • Mari Biella June 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      I doubt that the buildings outside the window will be anything like St Peter’s – the early signs, at least, are not encouraging! They’re nothing particularly interesting, either: just some villas to ease Lombardy’s housing shortage.

      A distraction- and internet-free zone sounds like a good idea to me. I currently seem to have all the attention span of a fruit-fly…

  3. Paul Sutton Reeves June 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a positive addition to your view, then… Let’s hope for great things!

    If I get out of the routine of writing because I’m busy with other things, I tend to find my ability to concentrate is minimal. Similarly, when I’ve reached a thorny patch in my writing, I find it hard to focus. Once inspiration returns, my ability to gather my thoughts generally returns too. I’m starting to think that my need to work in short bursts may be determining the structure of the books that I produce… Oh to have the time to concentrate properly on writing!

  4. Tamar Hela June 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    That is amazing! What a great accomplishment! Keep up the great progress 🙂

  5. Paul Sutton Reeves June 5, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Hi Tamar and thanks for the encouragement!

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