As expected, I’ve reached the uphill struggle point in the process. The more I wade through, the longer the list of things that need fixing and researching. Paradoxically, the closer I get to the end, the further away I feel from finishing the book. I know it’s a matter of perseverence, but it really does feel like pushing a boulder up a hill.
It’s also hard to keep the faith. Will anyone want to read it? Is there enough of a story to carry a reader through? One of my protagonists is a bit of a pain – is that a good or bad thing? Not every character has to be likeable, right? Right?
Having said that, I have hit a tiny milestone and the manuscript has tipped over the 80,000 word mark. This was a particular goal for me as the guidelines I’ve read for novel length indicate that commercial fiction (which this is) should be in the range of 90,000-120,000 words, so I’m getting close. Of course there’s a lot of rewriting to be done, and hacking away of surplus material, but I feel like I’m approaching the home stretch of the first draft, despite the above despair.
Incidentally, I have mentioned it on this blog before but it bears repeating that there is a good guide here by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin about general required lengths for manuscripts, depending on genre. It’s well worth a read to see if you’re in the right ballpark for your own book.
I have a stack of films lined up, but am struggling to find the time to watch them. I did manage to watch Gaslight, which I haven’t seen before and was curious about. Gaslighting has become such a commonly used term for manipulative behaviour, and gets its name from a rather Gothic period piece released in 1944, starring a very youthful Ingrid Bergman (and an even more youthful Angela Lansbury as an uppity maid!). Though Charles Boyer is a bit hammy for my taste as the controlling husband, it is very atmospheric and has a section about a cabinet full of mementos that may be useful for my tale.
The book is now 80,071 words, 275 pages. I’ve worked my way through almost 200 pages, and have a better feel for the overall shape of it. Too much of the good stuff happens in the second half so I will have to reorder things later. I have many, many things to fix on round two.
Want to read more? Week 5 is here.