Two percent

If you go strictly on metrics that’s about how far I’ve now got with Queen of Nowhere. Approximately two thousand words out of a contracted hundred thousand. Not much, but a start.

Of course, as any writer will tell you, writing a novel doesn’t actually work like that. Though I’ve never tried to calculate what percentage of my first draft gets cut/reworked (I’m too busy actually writing and revising it) I know that many of those two thousand words and a large proportion of the others I’ll be laying down over the coming months won’t make it onto the printed page.

I’m currently at the ‘curb your enthusiasm’ stage, where interesting Stuff arrives in my head and demands to be incorporated into the novel. Chastened by last year’s experiences, I’m trying not to get too carried away. Rather than immersing myself in fun details, I intend to keep a firm grasp on (and keep firming up) the bigger picture.

In some ways this book should be easier than Bringer of Light because it only has a single narrative strand. However, the fact that I’m not just sticking to one plot thread but also to one character’s viewpoint is a challenge in itself. I have to get the voice right, and I’m limited by the narrative convention I’ve chosen to adopt: the reader only experiences and learns what the viewpoint character experiences and learns. I’ve written first-person stories before, but I’ve never tried to sustain one voice and view over an entire novel. Right now I’m sure it’s the right way to tell this tale; I only hope that if I’m wrong, I realise quickly enough to avoid too much rework. I’d hate to end up on another deadline death-march.

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