A Novel Place, Bloemfontein
Since I first started posting updates on the writing of my novel, many of you may have assumed that I got all secretive and decided to hide the process away. I regret that this is not the case. I just have not been writing as much as I would like.
According to my original rough time line, I should currently be in the last throes of the first draft. Instead, this morning, I have just finished part 1 out of 4, 12 chapters out of 48.
Travelling, Training and Timing
I have also been very busy earning a few bucks doing a digital multi-media training course that has seen me in Johannesburg for 2 months, Cape Town for 1 month and now in Bloemfontein for 2 months. I have battled to maintain my routine and discipline through this period.
However, Bloem is nice and quiet and in the last 10 days I have in fact completed the last 3 chapters of part 1… More consistent writing than I have done in some time.
Accidental Writing Process
This is not how I like to work when I am embarked on a big project. I prefer my consistent hour or two of writing every day, a bit of re-reading and more writing. Instead, over an 8 month period I have dipped back in and out of my plan and my timeline, written in short bursts and generally done everything I recommend against.
It’s been interesting. It has definitely moulded the story. In a way, this has been a genuine process in its own right. I have introduced new ideas, refined existing ones and in general, managed to stay with the programme for this entire time. I am very proud of this aspect of my situation.
One of the big ideas that got introduced during these breaks was that of using the seasons as visual counterparts to the 4 parts of my book. In other words, part 1 is summer, 2 is autumn, 3 is winter and 4 is spring. I am now in the actual, physical spring and I have just finished writing summer… this is how far behind the curve my timeline is.
Thing is, this has injected a unique and strange aspect into the tonal feel I wanted this lever to give… writing summer in winter was, well, warming! But now starting to write autumn in the spring is going to be weird I am sure. But I hope to catch up and be in spring before the summer ends in March next year!
The Main Character
My main man, Andrew, is working through his stuff nicely. It’s like I don’t even really need to prod him much. He is in many ways like a mosaic of people I have known, a mouthpiece for much of the concerns, fears and observations my life outside the grounds of the cool school have introduced to me. The ground work I have done with research, structure, themes and sub plots means that I am running on rails a lot of the time with the story.
The cool part is that this is not all the time as I have not spent as much time with the support cast, all of whom are getting up to some pretty cool stuff too. There are a lot of voices and I am a tad worried that direction might be a bit blurred at times, but this is something I will come back and fix once the draft is complete.
One thing I do know for sure, it’s really great being back in process, in flow. I missed it. It took a good few days of hating it, grinding away at a mere 400 words… but I am back up to full speed, writing upwards of 2000 words per session and starting to see the invisible links between my notes, my thoughts and my structures. It feels great. I hope to have more for you by Monday actually!
I thought I would leave you with a small sample of Andrew’s interior monologue-ing. This is the same guy who was ranting about his fridge contents way back about 7 months ago? Yeah him. So, he’s going through his record collection. He isn’t hard-core, he likes most music, including house and hip hop (not like me!) and his point of view is informed by that broader idea of what youth culture is:
“And we’re back where we were: With teenagers being teenagers and adults being adults. Instead of the rock n roll idea that teenagers had something to say, to contribute. By rebelling the whole thing got pushed back in the bag, unforgiven. My friends have pointed out that its true, there was never a rebellion, but that gradually ideas and attitudes have changed under bleed from the extreme ideas that many of these early youth cultures brought into the light. I am not so sure. I think it’s a method of control.
Rebellion is like sugar, the biggest and best disguised method of control. The biggest drug that is fed to a desperately unhappy population to keep it calm and quiet, give it its fix. I think that’s why Kurt killed himself. He saw it. He realised that whatever legacy, what he thought and what he wanted to do, would be subverted, would come to nothing. Now he is on T-shirts that say, ‘Nice Shooting Son.’”