Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day in the Life of a Writer Close To Finishing A First Draft

1. Woken up wayyyy too early by BlackBerry flashing with the message "Write 1000 words of Jaguar - NOW!" Lie awake for ages, unable to stir from bed.

2. Oldest daughter invades to fleece me of what little shrapnel I have. "I haven't got my PIN yet!" is the usual excuse for the ongoing cash drain. Youngest daughter is sleepy and wants cuddles. How can I resist? Husband prepares packed lunch and breakfast for little 'un, then takes her to school, all to leave me free to write. But I just stare in fascination at FaceBook. There's a MyFlickr app! Cool; install it. Apparently apps could be the death of Facebook - people are getting cross with all the zombies and jedi vs sith silliness. I say: if you don't want the app, Dile que no.

3. Check out all my friends blogs and post comments. Email a dear friend who's back in touch via LinkedIn. Check my favourite writer's websites. Read short stories on fiction website. Finally shower, dress and look at the chunk of writing I have to do today. It's a foot chase through Old Havana. Rooftops will feature, because hey, it's Havana! So will the Malecon, because, well, IT'S HAVANA.

4. Read some of Alejo Carpentier's 'The Chase' to get in the mood. Browse my photos from Cuba, to get in the mood. (There aren't enough of rooftops. I looked down over rootops every day in Havana - what was wrong with me - why didn't I take more of rooftops?) Watch the rooftop party scene from Habana Blues, to get in the mood.

5. Finally in the mood, write the Old Havana chase scene; 800 words. That'll do - half a chapter and I left at a good place - the rooftop chase begins.

6. Pick up littlest daughter from school, acquire 3-year old neighbour boy on the way. Pick apples from our tree. Bake a pie together. Make pesto for tea. Experiment with a new daiquiri that uses fresh pink grapefruit juice and just a hint of coriander. (gently, gently bruise about five coriander leaves in the glass part of a shaker, add 1/2 shot freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/2 shot of gomme, 1 shot freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, 2 shots light rum, shake in Boston shaker with plenty ice, fine strain into a chilled martini glass.)

7. Discuss my teenager's complex love life with her and reluctantly help her to plan a strategy with latest love interest. (It was that or talk all night long.)

8. Laundry. Who doesn't love laundry? NOT! I read in some newspaper article that Mrs Thatcher admitted that getting the fluff out of the dryer was one of the small pleasures of her life. I try it. It's surprisingly satisfying - comes off in three nice clean layers.

7. Eat pie whilst reading today's 800 words. Polish. Write this blog entry.

5000 words to go, by my estimate, until I finish the first draft of 'Jaguar's Realm'. I planned this ending ONE YEAR ago, but last week I thought of a major tweak that has allowed me to keep the pace and drama going strong all the way through Act 3. At least that's the plan, and that's why I plan. Things can only get better from a strong plan.

Writing the first draft, truly, is so much fun. I even enjoyed first drafts when I had no agent and no publisher. The story is all yours then and you're the first one to read it.

And look...only 8pm. Still time to go salsa dancing at Freuds...

But I'm too tired.


Lucas said...

Why hello there!
This Jaguas realm book sounds interesting. I'm gonna have to order my advanced proof!

Other books...hhmmm well, literally there is a book called "the other book". That's a good one. (uncorrected proof at the moment by Philip Womack.) It's a nicely paced drama of fantasy, lots of magic. Reccoend to fans of Harry Potter, Marcus Sedgewick, or the master...Lemony snicket. (Released 7th January 2008.)

Space Cowboy- Can't remember Author! (pulling my hair out now. :-D)
Space Cowboy is set in the future, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller. Mainly about advanced terraforming, (making alien planets inhabitable for humans). About a teen who finds a mysterious prehistoric type creature attacking everyone. :-D
Read if like fantasy/ Sci-Fi (again uncorrected proof.)
Released some time in 2008.

The seventh Tide- By Joan Lennon
About a boy in a parralell universe who is forced into a major competition, (loser gets the universe destroyed by opposition kinda thing.)
The competition sends the boy into six different times in History, future past or present. The seventh throw (tide) is like the finale.
Very good book, confusing at start.
Read if like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials trilogy, and the Mortal Engines quartet.
(Yet Agin uncorrected proof.)

Tom Fletcher And The Angel Of Death- Sarah Matthias
(Reading at the present time can't say much yet.) Apparently it's "The new brilliant whodunnit from rising star" Again Uncorrected Proof.
Bit of a thriller from what i can tell.

And of course, Joshua Files! :-)


Chu said...

Busy busy day! Did you go dancing, after all?

MG said...

Chu: Dancing...nope. Maybe on Sunday.

Luke: Impressed with all the proof copies you've read! They sound really exciting!

MG said...

PS Agree with you about Lemony Snicket - I've read the first 3 and they were so good that I decided to save the rest for when my daughter is old enough to enjoy having them read to her.

Lucas said...

That's a nice idea. So have you read them all?
Jagua's Realm is souding like it could be a hit aswell. I can imagine it in the store already, "From the award-winning best-selling author of the decade, brings a new exciting adventure nominated for, (somehow) an Oscar award, Grammy award, and a book award!" Oh and you would be of the rank of Dame. :D

MG said...

No, I've only read 1-3, I mean I'm saving my enjoyment for when I read them to my daughter, so they'll be new to me too. Mind you it will prob be like when I read Harry Potter 1 to my daughter, back in 1998 then aged 7 - she fell asleep and I stayed up all night to finish it...

As for the other stuff...Luke! You should go assist my agent on the pitch when he tries to sell it...

As for the award-winning stuff etc...gawwwwsh boy watch what you say, I'm only a debut novelist, you don't want to go getting me hopes up...but I appreciate the support.

esruel said...

Lol! I bet Luke has a crystal ball - should be fun for you, Maria, ticking off the list of awards one by one! Let's see how many you can get!! :-)
(Gonna ask Luke to be my agent!)

Oscarinho said...

So, it seems writing is not that different from doing scientific research, eh?

MG said...

Well apart from the fact that I can get a day's work done in three hours and don't have to walk around all day from lab to lab. Oh and I don't use too many radioisotopes anymore...but apart from that, yeh!