PRE-PUBLICATION BLUES

by admin on April 1, 2019

Hard to believe the final book of my 3rdAge Trilogy was published in 2011. The intervening years have been spent working in community theatre and writing plays, sketches, cabarets and of course my next novel, called AMPLE MAKE THIS BED. I’ve been writing this in different locations during that time. The first draft was started in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, where I had rented a cottage in the back harbour for 6 months, specifically for the purpose.

In stages, I drove over six thousand kilometres across the continent. From Victoria, B.C., to halfway down the lighthouse coast of Nova Scotia, to the historic town of Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose and the Bounty – Brando’s not Bligh’s. And in between mornings writing my novel and afternoons exploring the  fishing villages and towns of the east coast, with its miles and miles of empty sandy beaches, I almost finished my first draft. Which I decided to set in – where else, Lunenburg.

I say almost, because I wanted to keep the length to about 110 – 120 thousand words, the recommended optimum length for a novel by an unknown writer. Once all the planning and outlines and index cards and  mindmap had been drafted and shuffled and agonised over, my plot seemed ready. I began the first draft with my target of a thousand words a day. Some days I didn’t quite make it, sometimes I ran over by a hundred or two.

What with friends and family,  local visitors and day trips up and down the province, I ran out of cottage lease at the same time as I reached my allotted word count. I had settled for 115,000 words. The only snag was, I still had a whole lot of unfinished plot and sub-plots left over.

I knew I had a long drive back across the continent from Lunenburg on the Atlantic coast to Victoria on  the Pacific coast. I figured I had plenty of opportunity to figure out how I would resolve my dilemma – too much unfinished plot and no more words allowed. All those colourful maritime characters demanding their sub-plots had to be worked out before I could write The End. My Nova Scotian idyll was at an end but not my novel.

Eventually, I made it back to Victoria, with no solution in sight. Only one thing to do. Put it away in my desk drawer and get on with writing my new play, which had been slowly percolating to the surface, as I navigated the width of Canada. Great country for writing plots, especially the prairies – plenty of space to spread them out. I recommend the journey for anyone with writer’s block.

 

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