75% and Ironing

This week’s really starting out great, and I feel so good about Alice now, with all these little things coming together, scenes and conversations popping into my head all the time. After initially stalling, it’s a relief to finally sit here and write without feeling I’m forcing myself or squeezing out half hearted stuff just to be able to feel I’ve written something for the sake of it. I still have the bulk of it ahead of me, but I’m a good quarter of the way into it and that does feel great. Over two dissertations’ worth going on word count alone.

The bit about Falla is taking up more space than I thought it would, but the more I wrote and the more I thought it over, I realised it needed to be more than a short little part. It’s already swollen to three chapters and I decided to make more of Alice’s talks with Britt, and potentially another phone call with John. It’s a nice problem to have, to end up with too much instead of despairing over not having enough. That should hopefully mean there’ll be lots to edit and tighten when I get to that stage, and that in turn I hope will mean I end up with a manuscript that doesn’t have dead bits. I’m going to be really hard on myself in that sense, and cut anything that doesn’t move the story forward, only keeping what’s relevant and important.

In particular, I’m really pleased with how John’s character is developing and how Alice’s friendship with him is sending poor Tom over the edge. It’s working out so much better than I thought it would.

It’s funny how this is a story that kind of just came together over many years. It jumped out at me whilst reading a random article, which must be about seven or eight years ago, and since then it went a tiny piece at a time over these years from that’d-make-an-interesting-backdrop to holy-smokes-it’s-a-story-I-have-to-tell. Sometimes parts of it have just fallen into my lap, and I’ve learnt to use even down days and turn them into literary vitamin boosts.

B is working from home this morning and Monkey is at home too, after complaining of a tummy ache this morning. I suspect it’s more of an Xbox-ache, but we all need duvet sofa days once in a while. He’s consistently done so well at school I’m not in the slightest concerned if he misses a day. B’s on a call and it was doing my head in when I was trying to write, so I’ve given up my spot in the dining room next to him and retreated to the bedroom. Sitting at the table makes it seem more serious, it feels more like ‘work’ sitting there, but I do love sitting on the bed like this and it’s more comfortable too. The best thing about writing in the bedroom is that our wifi is bloody useless, courtesy of BT, and that means in here I can only really write and not faff around with anything other than that.

Joining me on the bed is a huge pile of laundry that I need to sort out, and there’s probably six or seven of B’s shirts waiting for me to iron them (I’ve banned him from housework, plus I bloody love ironing, which is pretty pathetic I realise). No other stuff that needs doing after my frantic cleaning spree at the end of last week, although…. …I could try out that carpet cleaning stuff…. Oh God, I really am a sad little creature. I blame having OCD. There’s just something really therapeutic about cleaning, folding clothes, ironing, scrubbing, wiping, tidying….

So back to Alice. Even though I have yet to write the remaining 75% or so, at the rate I’m going I could run out of space. Some parts are turning out to need a lot more than I initially thought, but hey, that makes it more fun. And again, better to end up with over 100,000 words and peeling back 10-20,000 than get to 70,000 and struggling to squeeze any more out. Hopefully by the end of today, I will have finished off the Falla part and over the rest of this week, I’m hoping I can get a bit of Lucy in there.

I have this huge sheet where I’ve drawn it all up – the main storyline as exactly that, a line, and it has three peaks. The first one at what sets everything in motion, the next a little more traumatic about three quarters through, and then the huge conflict before it all comes to a resolution. Along the line there are lots of post-its with scenes and events, and I keep moving them around as I go, as I keep changing my mind about not just the order but also what’s going in there and what isn’t.

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