Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A killing...

As I keep saying, I’m writing something at the moment.   I have no idea if it’s any good (I have a feeling I keep saying that, too).  But it keeps coming, and all I can do is go with it, hope to get to the end, and then look back over it and try to decide, as dispassionately as I’m able (which isn’t very) if it is worth the time that the typing up and editing will take. 

It will need typing up, since I’m writing it long-hand, in notebooks.  And it will need editing, and some re-writes.  The villain’s motivation is extremely obscure, for example.  It isn’t obscure in my mind – I know exactly why he is doing what he is doing and what makes him tick.  But I’ve made a right lash-up of explaining it.  No use me knowing, if I can’t show anyone else what I know.

I can see where I can sort that out, which is good.  There’s a point, not long after he’s first introduced, where one of the protagonists meets him in an office.  It’s a context where it will be easy for them to talk for longer than they do, and I can cover most of what I need to say there.  It should also ramp up the tension, since at that point there’s what I perhaps laughably think of as an action scene coming, and an extended conversation first will hold one in suspense for a bit longer.   Says she, hopefully.

But that will have to wait, because it’s flowing, and I daren’t break the flow by backtracking.

I’m halfway through the fourth A5 notebook at the moment.  If each notebook takes approximately 16,000 words to fill, that puts me at around 56,000 words and counting.  I reckon I’m currently about 2/3 of the way through, so I estimate coming in at somewhere over 80,000 words.  That’s respectable, I think.  “Ramundi’s Sisters” ended up being on the short side at just under 60,000 words, chiefly because it needed so much editing (okay, cutting – let’s be honest here, Dent!).  “Gabriel Yeats” is just over 100,000. 

Good lord, that’s a heck of a lot of words I’ve written over the last few years.  That’s not counting several long-ish short stories, and “Fortitude” and “Midnight in the Café Tana”, both of which have broken off about 1/3 of the way in, and need to be returned-to at some point. 

I’m rambling, sorry.  I do ramble.  Really, it’s amazing that I don’t write a 200,000-word doorstop every time I try to produce so much as a blog post.  If I had the time, I very likely would.  A large vocabulary is a blessing, but being prolix is not.

In the current effort, which at the moment is scratching its head thoughtfully under the not-quite-right hat of “Gold Hawk” as a title, I have just killed someone off.  He’s a relatively minor character, who I created initially solely in order to kill.  The whole idea was to show how ruthless and mwa-hah-hah EVIL the main antagonist is, by having him bump this character off almost immediately.  Then I looked at the eager-eyed, bushy-tailed, not-very bright figure who’d just spring into being, and I felt sorry for him, and thought he might come in handy later, and I didn’t kill him on his first appearance.  But it became very clear that he was going to come to a sticky end eventually, and last night he did.

I've been edging my way up to this for a couple of days; knowing it was coming, and finding myself surprisingly uncomfortable with it.  Finally yesterday the crunch moment arrived.  I wrote solidly for a couple of hours, cleaned my teeth and took out my contact lenses, and wrote on for another hour and a half.  Once I’d got going it really flowed, and he and his best friend made their way through the last few hours of his life and came to the moment when he is shot, and the moments after that; and all of a sudden it was over.  I re-read what I’d just written and thought “This probably needs tidying up, but it sounds okay.”  

I wasn’t entirely surprised to find myself crying.  I don’t say that out of some kind of weird self-aggrandisement – I cry very, very easily (& have cried at some pretty odd stuff in my time).  I think he made a good end; he wasn’t doing anything particularly worthwhile, but he was being a bit more grown-up than he had managed up until then, and that’s not a bad way to finish. 

Tonight, though, I really want to give myself an evening off.  I think I might go to the flicks and see “Brave”.  That sounds appropriately harmless and light-hearted to ease the slightly odd feeling of being a bit of a murderer.  The character I killed off had been around just long enough, and had grown just enough as a person, that I really wish he hadn’t had to go. 

I may let him be a ghost.  Heck, it’s urban fantasy; I can have ghosts if I want.

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