9 March 2012

Secret

Shhh! Can you keep a secret? On January 30th, I saw a blank "Word" page in front of me and I just started writing. There was no particular plan. I just let the words flow. Now I have written 40,000 words and I'm still going. A story has emerged and one of the beauties of writing with the aid of  a computer is that I can keep going back and tinkering with what I have already written to enhance the story and to make it all fit together better.

I guess it's a story for adolescents like James - my fourteen year old narrator - but it might have wider appeal.

Anyone who writes probably harbours secret ambitions of getting published. Of course fulfilling such a dream is, in terms of the odds,  almost on a par with the possibility of winning The National  Lottery. Even if you come up with a genuinely brilliant original "product", getting it accepted by a publisher may be like getting a private audience with The Queen. So of course I am not very hopeful that I will get this thing - my new baby - into print but I will try half a dozen publishers and then when they've said their "no's" I will make a new blog and publish it there instead - chapter by chapter - week by week.

Before then, I have to get the thing finished. It has grown organically, almost in spite of my presence at the keyboard. Stuff - ideas, dialogue, description - have emerged from the dark recesses of my mind in a process that seems mysterious and rather illogical. I have always loved to create things - from meals to mosaics and from poems to photographs. Isn't creation the true essence of life?

I needed to know how long a novel actually is to give myself some kind of word count target. "The Bible" by A.God weighs in at a massive 774,746 words but there are only roughly 77,000 in "Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone". William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" contains 59,900 words while Kurt Vonnegut's memorable "Slaughterhouse Five" contains 49,459 words. It seems that novels aimed at mid-adolescent readers tend to be around the 45,000 word mark.

So as you can see I'm getting there. James and his friend have returned to the coast but somebody has been into the old lighthouse before them, removing bricks to reveal the hidden and ancient stairwell that descends to the very base of the headland...

17 comments:

  1. How wonderful! I shall look forward to reading it, whether 'in print' or in blog form. Did you know that you can upload books as Kindle ebooks to Amazon for sale?

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  2. How exciting! My one and only book (if I may call it that), Billy Ray Barnwell Here, went straight to blog form. It started the same way you describe, with a blank "Word" page in front of me that I began filling. It is not a conventional novel and has no discernible plot.

    I hope you do find a publisher, but if you do not, don't forget to tell your waiting public out here in the Blogosphere the link to your tale.

    FYI, that very large book by A. God is a compilation of many smaller books, so perhaps its word count shouldn't be put into the mix as doing so will only skew the statistics unnecessarily. It would be rather like trying to fit a pumpkin onto a lemon juicer.

    Also, I'm not sure the world is ready yet for "the dark recesses of your mind"....

    I wish you very much success with your new endeavor.

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  3. I'd buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. As Jenny says, the beauty of Kindle is that you can publish it yourself electronically and if it sells, a harback version will surely follow.

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  5. JENNY Thanks for your support and the Kindle idea - I hadn't thought of that.
    MR BRAGUE And thank you for your support. By the way - "the dark recesses of my mind" are not as lurid or as unsavoury as yours probably are!
    EARL GRAY Thank you. If it ever appeared I would gladly sign a copy for you at a bookshop in Rhyl. Do they have any bookshops there?
    SHOOTING PARROTS Kindle? Thought it was something you chopped before starting a coal fire. Thanks for confirming Jenny's idea.

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  6. Looking forward to it. Also my teenagers are always on the look out for new fiction so more readers there.

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  7. I'm intrigued Mr P. Yes, the Kindle might be the place for it - have a look on Amazon.

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  8. MUMASU Still a good way to go with it but I will let you know...
    MR STEVE OCCUPIED-COUNTRY Thanks for dropping by once again and for your "intrigue". Just read your post about post-industrial England and that certainly was intriguing. I wish you could blog more regularly Steve or just post more of your superb photographs (...gravy is appealing to Yorkshire puddings tha knows!)

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  9. I want to buy the Kindle version, please. I'm so in awe of people who not only CAN write, but actually sit down and do it and finish it. You're my new hero.

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  10. OOOooo, I want to know what happens next! But I can keep a secret. Mmmmummum.

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  11. Get back to work and stop wasting time blathering on here YP. Your public is waiting !!!
    Cheers

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  12. JAN BLAWAT I may know nothing about poultry, pigeons and those huge dog things they call horses but I have always written. It's what made me become an English teacher. That and my first encounter with "Lord of the Flies".
    KATHERINE I wonder if James should have an auntie who lives high above a river in New Zealand and sends him a kiwi egg for his birthday?...Mmm. Perhaps. But how could I make her believable?
    HELEN Ooo! I love a forceful woman! Do you possess a bullwhip, peaked Nazi cap and leather thigh boots by any chance? You could be James's mum in the story...

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  13. And James is you, of course, and you have been such a naughty boy....

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  14. RHYMES WITH...and for crimes against the English language, James's great grandfather is incarcerated in a grim American penitentiary...deep in the heart of Georgia. For obvious reasons, he fears showering with the other inmates.

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  15. Wow! I so hope that you are pleased with your new book. I have always admired so your wonderful way with words. Am jealous of your gift and your talent. Maybe you could find a way to incorporate our (blogland) paradise in there somewhere. I await the completion of your tome. No matter how we get to read it, congratulations for clearing the recesses of your mind and getting it down on paper (so to speak.)

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  16. Yes, that reminds me, what DID happen to Blogland?

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  17. PS I can't follow-up comments any more... :-(

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.