As I began to hypothesise when I wrote last week’s post, I really enjoy working on a novel. After half-heartedly bumbling along with a few “practice pieces” earlier in the month, last Sunday I set down the first paragraph of the “new novel” – Perfect Purl – and I have written on it every evening this week. I have looked forward to my writing sessions and feel they have a purpose; the practice pieces failed to inspire any such feeling in me. On the days when my diet allows, I’m treating myself to a chocolate marzipan as a reward for completing a session, although apparently that’s not enough of an incentive to prevent me over-eating earlier in the day (note to self: must get a grip).
I’m still using the monthly sheet to track my words written in the evening’s session and then, in brackets, I’ve added the total word-count of the novel to date. As of Saturday night, it stands at 5,630 words and this feels to me like a splendid achievement for one week’s work. I’ve set up the manuscript in Scrivener to provide me with a target of adding 750 words each day. Whilst I was writing my draft of “The Pen Emporium” I set myself a target of 500 words per day, but once I was in my stride I was frequently exceeding that and I don’t think the extra challenge will be too much of a stretch. To be honest, if I’m going to fail to reach 750 words, it is likely I’d also fail to reach 500 – sometimes I can’t write more than a sentence, which is perfectly okay.
Thus far, I am really enjoying writing about this new group of people and I’m looking forward to discovering more about my main character as she hits the turmoil I have planned for her. I have a feeling she will not adapt comfortably to losing the strict control she has always enjoyed over her environment and that, when it comes down to it, is what often happens in a story – the protagonist’s “comfort zone” disappears for some reason and they have to adapt to their changed circumstances.
A new draft novel calls for a new storage binder and so I have bought another Plus Zero Max A4 Folder (see the footer of this post if you’re interested in shopping details) because I found my original one simply perfect to house the previous novel pages as I printed them out at the end of each session. This time I opted for pink and I also bought a green one…. perhaps there might be a third novel at some point. I did look at the option of buying a pack of ten, but that seemed like a stretch. This folder marries ingenious design and solid construction with the added bonus that it is, when all is said and done, a card folder with some plastic elements and therefore a decent amount of it can be recycled when it comes to the end of its life. I can imagine a whole shelf of these in a swanky office, a contrast to untidy racks of hanging files filled with obese spiral sprung folders hovering on the edge of collapse, such as featured in my life back in the 1990s.
So, a new writing week begins. I find it strange that I have chosen a Sunday-Saturday “week” for my writing where my every instinct screams that a week is Monday-Sunday, but it allows me to write my post here and summarise my progress over the week, which is reason enough to abandon all convention.
I am being good – in an entirely arbitrary, self-imposed definition of goodness – and resisting the temptation to pick up the first draft of The Pen Emporium. I think the new year will be the right point to return to it, read it, and start the editing process, at which point I’ll have to see whether I can work on two different stories at the same time; I have my doubts because I have a one-track mind. The characters from my first story still accompany me wherever I go, like friends you haven’t seen for a while.
And that is the state of the writing mind this bright late-autumn morning. The trees are almost devoid of foliage and the views from my eyrie into the distance are opening up after the leafy green summer. Early on a Sunday morning it feels like the world is taking a deep breath, shrugging off the skin of the old week and steeling itself for the week to come.
Come, my friends, ’tis not too late to seek a newer world.Alfred, Lord Tennyson “Ulysses”
I bought my Plus Zero Max A4 folders from Cult Pens here in the UK (I provide the link out of courtesy, I have no affiliation with the shop beyong being a happy customer). I believe the brand is also stocked on well-known monster online conglomerate stores and, depending on where you are in the world, possibly available to you from local retailers.
For the curious, my notebook is the RhodiaRama soft cover A5 in Sapphire, my fountain pen is the Cross Century II and it is filled with a mix of Lamy Peridot and Montblanc Midnight Blue inks. My handwriting is courtesy of Marion Richardson, via a lifetime of experience!