Writing Log: Ch. 2

Yesterday I finally hit 78,000 words on my third draft of a story idea. Sure, I might end up deleting 40,000 words of it in the next few days or starting over entirely (for the third time) but right now it feels like a hefty milestone progress. Sort of like the feeling you get when you feather an essay plan into 3,000 words, I feel like it’s no longer just an idea, but an actual body that I have a responsibility to feed some life to.

It’s only through trying to write this (it feels like a marathon attempt at something creative) that I have adopted an unwavering respect for authors. How they created an idea and followed it all the way through, finally getting it down in words despite how exhausting the process is. That’s just the writing process I’m referring to - before the bouts of rejection, crippling self-doubt and the persistence needed to get other people’s attention focusing on why your story matters.

Go to a book shop, look around you, and try to comprehend how many pages of writing there are in the room you find yourself in. Give a rough estimate of 1-2 years of time per book for it to have come from someone’s mind, into a physical object, into the present. Now try to calculate how much Time is palpable in that very room.

I’ve concluded that writing a novel feels much like what I imagine designing a tall building or a skyscraper is like.

You start with the foundations, the central focus.

Each story has a timeline, the skeletal frame which draws up how high the skyscraper is going to be.
Then you have to think about what it looks like; what do the windows look like, do they have frames?
The meaning behind the story; what rooms will you have in that building and why – what purpose do they serve?

Then finally, once you’ve created the building and designed the rooms, what finishing touches does it need to feel familiar?

What details can you add to make the rooms memorable. How do you make someone want to stay in it, or want to bring their friends?

You begin the story and you fledge it out with characters, twists, colours and music, and it’s this process that gives me the bursts of adrenaline (the same feeling endorphins give you after exercising?) that keep the word count tugging forward, and remind me why I love writing, regardless of the final result.