With this one, however, I made a note when I started it - November 30th, 2012. I also made a note of when I began each chapter. It soon became very apparent I was writing (on average) one chapter per week, which actually fits with my general estimate of writing about 500 words a day (again an average).
Until I got to Chapter 22 on April 22nd. Since then, it’s been like knitting with fog. I knew where I wanted to get to at the end. I just didn’t know how to get there!
I had two attempts at writing Chapters 23 and 24, each of which took me almost two weeks to write. Chapter 25 was supposed to be the last one. I started it on May 19th, and I thought I would actually reach my (self-imposed) deadline of finishing the novel by the end of May i.e. 6 months since I started it.
Wrong! By May 31st, I hadn’t finished the chapter, and – even more significantly – I realised I couldn’t get to my planned ending in that chapter anyway. The characters were demanding another chapter, but they weren’t helping me to sort everything out!
Every sentence has been a struggle. My friend Gilli calls it ‘carving granite with a teaspoon’ but that implies something solid you can scrape. In this case, it’s all been far more nebulous –hence the fog analogy.
I’m sure I’ve felt like this with my other novels, but in a way, it’s akin to producing a baby. Once the babe is born, you forget all the discomfort and pain you went through. If we didn’t, we’d never have more than one child! I guess the same can be said for producing a novel.
How do you cope when it seems like every sentence, even every word, is a struggle to produce?