It Wasn’t A Sequel To Begin With
November 29, 2012 – 18:32 | No Comment

My 3rd novel wasn’t meant to be a sequel to the 2nd novel in the first place. Then something happened. Characters began to beg to be included in the story. Thus, a sequel was born.

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July 2012: Finish writing a novel in a month – the journey

Submitted by on August 15, 2012 – 12:06No Comment

It has been a personal goal to complete the writing of a novel every year. For me, the deadline of a novel a year motivates me to write even during my low times. This year has been a crazy adventure of moving up to Penang island and re-rooting myself to a whole new place. The change has been demanding and tiring, leaving me with no time to write stories or update my blog. So in July, I decided to aim for the impossible: I challenged myself to complete writing a novel from scratch in one month’s time. And this is my journey.

1st July: Nothing written. I intended to burn midnight oil to start writing my next novel and finish it within this month. Instead I went to watch AKU, KAU & DIA the movie at the cinema. Bought a book to read too. Perhaps that’s the start of the journey – a dose of inspiration.

2nd July: Worked on a whole bunch of projects before I finally gave in. I started writing after dinner and completed 2,354 words before midnight. I like what I have written so far. It doesn’t sound like me. And that is good.

3rd July: It took me hours to settle my mind down before I even attempt to try to write today. By the time I opened the Word document, it was already 11pm. One hour later, I have only written 100 words. The characters are not talking to me tonight. Or perhaps I’m not tuning in enough. It feels like I am on a different wavelength tonight. Perhaps this is what they call Writer’s Block.

4th July: My writing session started at 10pm tonight. After 2 hours, I managed to complete one scene. I struggled with the dialogues. Then I realised I wasn’t listening hard enough to my characters. I am distracted by projects at work. Need to find a way to tune out from work and tune in to the story instead. Total word count now is 3,477. Not too bad, I could have done better. 27 days left. I am aiming for 50,000 words by 1st August.

5th July: I started writing after dinner. It’s becoming a routine. Today I successfully entered my character’s world. They started talking to me and words jumped into the pages faster than I could type. I liked the momentum. So I shut down my phone and wrote… nonstop. The word count now is 5,254. I am happy with all that I have written today.

6th July: Managed to write one chapter and a bit more today. Total word count now is 7,856. It is a good progress. I’m thankful to have Lynn Dayana keeping me company throughout the writing process. She is a novelist too. We were motivating each other online as we typed away on the keyboard. It felt good.

7th July: Didn’t manage to write a single word. Spent the day listening to 6 brilliant writers reading their work and then talking with them about writing. It was good to be in the fellowship of fellow writers again. I missed being in the wavelength – talking about our experience, work-in-progress and book fairs. I feel less lonely in my novelist journey when I spend time with them.

8th July: Total word count is 9,797. Managed to write before my tiredness took over. Slept in front of the laptop with many more story ideas flooding my head. Jotting them down as midnight comes. Will put the scenes together tomorrow to continue the story. Time to snooze again.

9th July: In this scene, that is supposed to happen. But when I write, the characters disagree. In that scene, this is supposed to happen. When I continue writing, the characters disagree again. I read the one chapter I have written and marveled at how the story is unfolding beyond me. Total words written today – 2,083.

10th July: I have 13,111 words on the Word document. That’s 44 pages on 1.15 spacing, font size 12. My characters are talking to me way too slow today. I almost gave up writing but strived through to complete two scenes. It’s good enough.

11th July: Managed to write 1,000 words today. I’m not happy with my progress but it would have to be sufficient for now. I will be away with some good friends for the next few days. So writing might get slower. I’m hoping to achieve a total word count of 20,000 by end of this weekend.

12th July: I have 15,544 words since 1st July. That’s an average of 1,300 words a day. I supposed I am progressing well.

13th July: Took a break and spent the evening enjoying buttered prawns, tantalizing wine, good music and great company. I liked that I’ve got the story pushed out of my mind for more than 24 hours – it gives the story time to grow and revolutionize in my subconscious mind.

14th July: Didn’t have time to write a single word. But I’ve got some scenes sketched out on my story pad. It will make writing easier when I do find time to write tomorrow.

15th July: Total word count is 17,886. I targeted to write 5,000 words today but didn’t manage to do so. Only managed to write 2,000++ words. Probably because I haven’t written for 2 days, so the writing engine takes longer to kick-start. I aim to achieve more in the days to come.

16th July: Promised my publisher that I would deliver 50,000 words by end of this month. Motivated that he has chosen one of my favourite editors to work on the manuscript with me, I’ve written 4,000 words today. It’s good progress. I’m loving it.

17th July: Not going to write today. Had a long day of meetings and another longer one coming up tomorrow. But the time spent treasure trash hunting with Ivy and Travis was inspiring. I think I’ll write a story out of it one of these days.

18th July: Ain’t no writing going on today. Brain fried from meetings and work. Need to start catching up on this whole writing adventure soon. Perhaps dedicating the weekend just to write.

19th July: The total word count now is 23,128. I have 12 more days to go to write 27,000 words. And my characters just twisted the story again. It’s full of surprises. Looking forward to write more tomorrow cause it’s Friday. It means I can write later into the deep dark night.

20th July: I’ve got 1,460 words nailed down and another few scenes doodled on my sketchbook. Looking forward to the weekend so that I can write more.

21st July: Didn’t write any new scenes today. I spent time to read everything from the beginning to the end – all 24,600 words. I have changed certain parts in the chapters but nothing major. It’s to accommodate a spark ignited by one of the side characters.

22nd July: Current total word count sums up to 26,700. I’m progressing slower than my plan because I’ve been feeling under the weather all weekend. With only 9 days left, it is my aim to complete 2,000 words each night.

23rd July: Time flew by today and I didn’t even open the Word document. That says a lot. It says I need to work harder the next few days; it says I need to put aside the hours to write after dinner seriously; it says I should not invite anyone over to my home until I am done writing. Some distractions are good for the mind, yet might not be good for progress.

24th July: One thousand words. A slow progress indeed. But I finished one very intriguing scene.

25th July: Total word count is 29,000 words. Currently suffering from migraine attack (went around Georgetown in the afternoon to snap photos of art pieces). I think I’m suffering from sun stroke. Will continue crafting tomorrow.

26th July: 2,000 more words and a sketchbook filled with scenes that lead to the climax of the story, I think today has been productive. Though I have only 5 more days to complete the entire manuscript, I have faith that I could complete another 10,000 words or more by 31st July.

27th July: Had less than 3 hours sleep last night. My eyes are rather tired. Managed to write 1,500 words today. The pace of the story quickens and it gets my adrenaline running fast. But my eyes beg to sleep. Since tomorrow is a Saturday, I should be able to write more.

28th July: I’ve written 5,200 words today. I was happily embarking on a writing spree as I typed out the scenes that lead to the climax of the story. It’s a rather interesting one (depending on how you look at it). It would have been a couple thousand more words if I haven’t decided to go to the pet shop, the beach and the cinema. Then again, sometimes a writer just needs a break.

29th July: Total word count as of today is 38,600 words. Would have written more if my Sunday is free up just for writing (was at church first half and late evening). Then again, as the month comes to a close in the next 2 days, I have to say that I am satisfied with my achievement. It’s not always that one can complete an entire manuscript within a month, especially so when it’s the busiest working month.

30th July: I’m almost done. Just another two scenes left and I will be able to type ‘The End’ at the end of the page. Total word count now is 40,500. I didn’t have enough sleep last night, so I’m going to wait till tomorrow to finish up. I’m also planning to have a read-through to see if there is anything I can add or subtract from the manuscript.

31st July: Completed the whole manuscript for submission at 11am. Yes, in the morning. Then had a long break in between – reading other materials to clear my mind before returning to the manuscript again for a last review. Total word count: 42,070. I’d call for a celebration, care to join me?

Nothing is impossible. The manuscript is currently on the editor’s table. If all goes smoothly, it should be published by end of the year. May my writing journey inspire you to write your book too!

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