So I wrote a novel

Well, by some counts anyway. Dark Heart is now at 63,096 words, and one definition of a novel is anything over 60k. Go me! Actually, another definition says it’s 50k, but I wonder if the wikipedia entry for novel length has been edited by the bods behind NaNoWriMo… but I digress. 63,096 it may be, but the show ain’t over. I’ve got 36,904 words to go and 19 days in which to write them.

Which is actually why this blog update is late – I’ve been trying to hit that daily wordcount of 1600 words each and every day, which means other things have to come second place. But I apologise, and the FDO would have me courtmartialled for that. So it’s blogs a-go-go!

Getting into the routine of twice-daily writing sessions, one in the morning, one in the evening, 800 words a time, was actually pretty easy once I’d given myself a little work plan to stick to. Dark Heart has several strands running through it, told from different points of view (all first person), but it’s mainly the story of Bellamy, Dr. Clarke and Zoe in Africa, and Grange Parkes and his wife Meg in London. These plots are the bulk of the narrative, tying up at the end.

So to get the words rolling and also to try and get some consistency with the work, I decided to stop just writing chapter-by-chapter, and focus on these two plot strands to take them to completion. So while before I would write a chapter with Bellamy and co. cruising above the African jungle on a small trading barge, and then switch to Grange and Meg getting a surprise visit from Sally late one night, and then the next chapter on Macmillan Brown visiting Albert, and so on, I picked one main storyline and stuck with it.

Which not only means a consistency within a single plot, but it’s also a useful exercise in judging the wordcount of the project overall. As a result, Bellamy’s plotline is probably now 75% done, and I can estimate how much more it has to run before the finale, when Grange and Bellamy finally meet in the flooded tunnels of the London Underground (sorry, VTTS!).

Bellamy’s plot actually hit a snag – not so much a problem with the story, or characters, or action, but a slight gap in the narrative which I need to fill in order to transition from one scenario to the next. I’ll trust to my subconscious to work on the for me, so in the meantime have switched to Grange’s story. His plot is probably 60% complete, and now he’s found the Canadian pilot Faulkner hiding in St Paul’s Cathedral, things will start moving along pretty quickly.

And while all this is going on, I’ve entered the world of Twitter for some real-time microblogging action – you’ll find me floating around as ghostfinder. Twitter has been a really good experience, and I’m chuffed at the number of people who have tracked me down to say how much they enjoyed The Devil in Chains. Which, I feel obliged to point out, is still available as a PDF eBook from this very blog, and also as a nifty Legends eBook for the iPhone and iPod touch.

#steamandmirrors folks!