From a sitting position, I threw myself in to writing book 1, Truth or Dare?. If it had been a sprint, I’d have pulled muscles I haven’t used in years. It wasn’t a sprint. I started ToD in the summer of 2007, when my left arm was in plaster, and I found employment for my right arm.
From start to publication, it took 6 years. I’m not able to say how long it took in real terms, if I deducted the time I spent looking after my family, sometimes cooking, and occasionally cleaning, but I think I needed that time to develop the craft, find my voice and understand what it was I was writing.
Book 2, Follow Me, started life as part of the 100K in a 100 Days challenge, run by Sally Quilford. It started on January 1st, 2012, and finished on April 9th. 1000 words a day. It was an achievable target for me, and an excellent way to kick-start the ‘difficult second novel’. By March, I’d hit 60,000. I tried to switch off my inner editor, and just type, but I’ve come to realise this doesn’t work for me. When I know there’s an issue, I have to resolve it before I can move on. I wonder how many years I’d have fought this, had I not participated in Sally’s initiative. I’m so pleased I did.
As is well-documented, I lost my mother in March 2012, and writing came to a standstill. I didn’t complete the challenge, but I did submit the FM partial to the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, and received an encouraging report. It was then I knew I was going to finish writing book 2, despite its sad associations with events of that year. A line needed to be drawn, and what I felt was a good story, needed to be told in its entirety.
I submitted the completed manuscript for consideration to my publisher, Choc Lit, in September, having received a lovely, and timely report from the 2013 NWS.
So, I started Follow Me in January 2012, and completed it in September 2013. That’s quite a bit less than 6 years.
Book 3, working title, What Doesn’t Kill You, is going to take nine months.
There. I’ve said it. Now I have to make it happen.
I’m planning this one. I’m writing a timeline, keeping a calendar, in the style of Sue Fortin – see here – and I’m creating a chart of my characters, their conflicts, obstacles, and characteristics. I’m putting to use everything I’ve learned over the last few years: everything I’ve been taught by wonderful tutors.
And I’m getting myself book-fit, before starting that marathon.