Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy ending

No, I haven't abandoned my morals to get an unpleasant wanky massage, it's better than that. I FINISHED MY FUCKING BOOK, and here's the gaudy, poorly Photoshopped cover:

Yeah, a cover for a paperback that will never physically exist! But I ran out of ways to procrastinate in a month that was already overflowing with work, exploring Egypt, keeping up obsessive-compulsively with this blog and starting a micro-relationship, without this ridiculous albatross to contend with. Am I feeling the satisfaction promised? No. Only relief.

50,000 words sounds like a lot, but it's actually really a lot. A thousand is quite a big number by itself (it took ages to consecutively count up to when I was a child... and would for some reason waste my time doing stupid stuff like that. How things have changed). Fifty is quite a big number too, but with energetic bursts of relentless creativity for several hours at a time, mostly at weekends, November passed and the words somehow materialised.

That was the attitude I used to have about coursework at University, to make intimidating tasks more manageable.

'The deadline is next Wednesday, and there's no conceivable way I won't have handed it in by then,' I would ascertain.

'I know the essay is 5,000 words, and thus far I have written approximately none words, but I've never missed a deadline before and I certainly wouldn't for something as important as this. Quid pro quo, whatever that means, it's just simple logic. So I can relax, safe in the knowledge that the completed essay will inevitably just occur.'

I'm still not sure how I got that degree.

Where do we go from here?

I was originally thinking about getting involved with CreateSpace to self-publish this hasty, amateur attempt at a novel, just so I could have a physical copy to show off my literary credentials to people I meet. Which means girls I meet. Does carrying your own novel around make you a babe magnet? Or a tragic babe magnet covered in horrible iron filings that's had its polarity reversed?

However, as I increasingly struggled to pad out the thin plot with character exploration, the quasi-autobiographical elements stopped being so quasi, and this whole thing became more of an exercise in therapy than storytelling. The end result is so personal and revealing, I can't risk a hard copy existing.

Not that there's anything illegal or harrowing in there. Maybe if my teachers had been thoughtful enough to abuse me as a child, I could bear my soul and make millions. But no, Mrs Peters had to keep her wrinkled hands to herself and teach me about the the water cycle instead, the frigid old whore, and no one's interested in extensive forays into my obsessive tendencies or opinions on the weakness of Egyptian handshakes (seriously, do they even have bones in there?)

But, despite all the psychoanalysis, I do think the actual plot elements are quite good, and I was pleasantly surprised at the way I managed to rescue the story after accidentally wrapping things up neatly at 35,000 words, by adding some post-denouement twists that actually made sense, and which I really hadn't been expecting. Almost as if I can actually write fiction.

If I've done my job with any level of proficiency, the cover blurb should sum things up. I would say 'same time next year,' but that would be ridiculous. I'm never doing this again. If you're reading this, future-Dave (and I know you are), DON'T DO IT AGAIN.

Novel progress: 50,022 words (100%)


  1. Can I read the rest of the bits that aren't about poo now?

  2. Like the necrophilia chapter? I reckon I could have made something decent out of this with 15,000-20,000 words, but the padding is too firmly ingrained.

    This was at least useful for realising just how long a novel (even a relatively short one) is. Which means I should never write one again!

  3. I take some of this post back - now I'm stuck for things to do, unless I get sent some work. I guess I could start learning Mandarin or Japanese or doing the other stuff I've been putting off. Or try writing something else for fun... ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Museum of Mummification it is.