I’ve called this blog post pen to paper, although it should more correctly be called fingers to keys.
I’m not sure how long it took me to write the first draft of GBG. It began in 2010. I started and stopped. Changed things and rewrote. Doubted myself and wanted to throw it all away. Wrote for hours on end with nothing but coffee to fuel me. Sat at the edge of the swimming pool while my daughter took lessons, and diligently tapped away on my laptop. Then, I just left it discarded on my computer, convinced it was terrible. Finally, a couple of years later, I plucked up the courage to show it to a few people and they kind of liked it. It was enough encouragement for me to plunge myself back into the story again and make the changes I had dreamed up, as well as alterations based on the feedback I received. I wanted to be a writer, and I knew there was no other way to accomplish that other than to write.
While writing GBS, I was more organised. I started at the beginning and wrote until the end. I typed the first word on 21st October 2014, took a six week break during the Christmas holidays, and typed the last word of the first draft on 17th March 2015. Since I wrote on the days I didn’t work and my children were at school, which was two days a week, and I had 5 hours to write on each of those days, I’m guestimating that it took me 150 hours.
I drank at least four, sometimes more, cups of coffee on each of those days, resulting in GBS being fuelled by a minimum of 120 cups of coffee.
The first draft was 106,320 words, which meant I wrote at approximately 709 words per hour, which is approximately 12 words per minute. (Sorry, my mathematical tendencies are coming out a little.) Sounds rather slow, doesn’t it? But it’s not just typing. It’s thinking of what to write. Sometimes the words poured out of me, and other times I sat and stared at the screen, wondering where my motivation had gone. I forced myself to write on those days. It is easier to edit something you have already written, than to start from scratch. Or, even if you write something terrible, it can still lead to inspiration of how the scene should have gone.
The plot was kept loose. I wasn’t afraid to change it as I went along. If the alterations meant minor changes to the part of the story I had already written, I would go back and alter it. If it meant a bigger re-write, I would note it in the file I had to record all the ‘to add/to change’ things, and simply keep going.
Next came the editing. And I had a lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn.
The next post will be published on 24th September.
Behind the Glass | Writing | Editing
*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA