I am up to Chapter Five now. According to my plan there are going to be fourteen chapters and a kind of extra bit at the end. Like a short story, for free. A coda. Not an epilogue. Right now my narrator is running down a hill very fast, and it is frosty. I might let her fall down, or not, depending on what mood I am in tomorrow. That part isn’t in the plan. I am glad I left enough blank spaces in the plan for me to still have some surprises when I am doing the writing.
Because I’ve decided to not do any tinkering until I’ve got it all down, I have decided to write some parts of it with my own fountain pen instead of on the computer. So I can’t give word-count updates. I think I’ve probably got about 20k words on the computer and another 4 or 5 k in my big blue and green stripy notebook which one of my friends gave to me for the express purpose of planning a presentation I am due to give at a library conference in a couple of months.
One of the scenes in the library-presentation book is about an old fridge dumped by the side of the river that has got lots of flies and maggots inside. There are also pink flowers on the river bank: Fireweed, or Rosebay-willow herb. Fireweed is a kind of nickname for it. It grows very quickly in asky soil and it was the first plant to grow in the ruins of the bombed out houses during the Second World War. The Fish Book is set in winter when there is no Fireweed so this scene will have to be a flashback or I will keep it for something else. It wasn’t in the plan.
I think real writers go to secret parties in each others houses and when they are drunk they put their books on the table and measure them, and say, that’s a million words, that, and it only took me three months. Then someone else says, oh, mine’s fifteen thousand words but it took me all of my life including my puberty years, and no-one knows who is the hardest.