Word tracker

My Works in Progress

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Book No 2 - Untitled

I've started Book No. 2.

Well. That's not entirely true. I think it's really Book No. 1 because I wrote the first 20K words in 1980 - 1981 and then gave up. It hasn't seen the light of day since then. Some of it was carefully typed out, double-spaced, on an old electric typewriter I had in those days. Well, actually, I must tell the truth, the pages are rigid with Snowpake. Remember good old Snowpake?

In a deep crevice of my brain I sort of remembered that I'd not finished typing it up and there was more handwritten stuff. After rootling about in the loft I've found two foolscap sized hardback notebooks full of the next 20K or so words, together with doodles, shopping lists and telephone messages!

I wasn't going to use it. The first 20K words were dull, uninteresting and quite frankly, the most badly-written rubbish I've read for a long time. Besides, because it was so long ago, how do I know I hadn't copied anyone else's work or ideas? (Although I don't think I would have done - but I was only 24 then and it might not have occurred to me that it was wrong.) It was so bad I was almost hoping that I had copied someone else!

On the handwritten portion the younger (and slimmer) version of Annie had put the dates in the margin. So I could track her progress. She seemed to have been aiming for two sides of paper a day.

When I got to the end of May 1981 - coincidentally or not, the most horrible time in my life) I was startled by the clarity of the descriptions and the flowing descriptive prose. The subject matter was nothing to do with the personal tragedy I was suffering at the time, but it was clear to me that I had retreated into the pages of my novel whilst trying to escape the horrors in my life. The results were absolutely stunning - even if they did reflect the state of my traumatised brain at the time!

I also wrote a poem on a loose sheet, which I might put on this blog. It might just help someone else in the same situation I was in in May 1981. I'll probably post it tomorrow.

I am completely re-writing the first part of the book, using the original plot. Some of it I can't even remember writing in the first place.

I can't think of a title yet.

Can someone tell me where I can get one of those word counter thingies to put on my blog?


Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Another book! The tortoise becomes a hare and then a greyhound. It won't be too long before she's a cheetah.

Interesting about your writing improving during the bad time. I've often noticed that I become more sensitive to things (anything, not just reading and writing) when I'm depressed. That hasn't happened for a while, so I'm going to use that as an excuse for poor prose ;oP

As for counters, I wrote one myself which you're welcome to use but it's a bit over-complicated, too many colours, slow rendering etc. Never trust a programmer! Alternatively try the zokutou one that the 'finishers' seem to use.

Good luck with #2.

Debs said...

Well done for starting book #2 (or #1). When I wrote my first book and showed it to an agent in South Africa she said that she could see how I must have been experiencing different emotions in my life simply by reading the novel. I also use zokutou and it's great and easy to use.

Lane said...

If must be a strange feeling to read something that substantial written so long ago.
The most honest writing can surface in the most difficult of times. I'm looking forward to your poem.

You're spoilt for choice with word counters. You can use Captain's or Leigh has a whole range on her sidebar that she made herself and you can chose a colour! Failing that Zokutou or Writertpoia. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Im looking forward to your poem very much! Well done for starting yet another novel! Ive just had a short story turned down...AGAIN. Was really fed up yesterday but today Im ready to try again, I mean the more you write the better you get...hopefully!

Annieye said...

Kev: Thanks for the tip about the counter - I'll have browse on the internet at work tomorrow (naughty, naughty!)

Debs: Thanks for that. It was good to know that it wasn't just a fluke and you had experienced the same thing. To tell the truth, even though the story was completely different to the situation I was in, it took me back to 1981 and I shed a tear or two when I read it.

Lane: When I found the handwritten stuff I had written around May 1981 I realised that up until then I had just been playing at writing. It was, I think, my true voice coming through. I also found a two page account of my feelings, written down at 6.30 am on the day I got married in 1975. I don't think I dare put it on the blog because it's really badly written (but I was only just nineteen so I suppose I can be excused!).

Mother X - I've now had two rejections. Apparently the advice from published short story writers is tinker around with it and send it out somewhere else - straight away!