A Labour of Love

That's me. Feeling on top of the world post Masters submission!

That’s me. Feeling on top of the world post Masters submission!

This week I submitted my final 20,000 word piece of fiction for my Masters course.

It was a long slog, and I’m not going to lie, at times I had to ask myself why on earth I signed myself up for eighteen months of voluntary suffering. Deadlines. Word Counts. Critiques.

The stuff of nightmares.

But like all things writing related, it was, and continues to be, a labour of love. Over the past year and a half I’ve managed to get down 50,000 words of my novel. Sure, plenty of it is a mess and most chapters are still in their pre-pubescent stages with lots of awkward moments and embarrassing incidents I’m sure we’d all rather forget. But some parts are okay. Some parts are more than okay.

This feeling, it is not unlike pride.

One would expect (myself included) that post submission would involve one or all of the following:

  • Cartwheels
  • Excessive partying
  • Shredding of draft manuscripts
  • Smiling stupidly at inanimate objects
  • More cartwheels

Instead I partook in:

  • Sleep
  • Excessive TV series marathons
  • Sleep
  • Sleep

Terribly anti-climatic, I know. Mostly I feel like a superhero who’s used too much of his powers in one go and now has to recharge before the heat-vision, flight, and superhuman strength returns. And when it does I’m looking forward to getting back to it. Because writing is cool. And fun. And creative. And worth the hard yards.

I’ve met some amazing people, some amazing writers and some amazing ideas over the last eighteen months, and for that I am indebted to the course. And while I hated the deadlines, and the word counts and the occasional ripping apart of my not-so brilliant ideas, I couldn’t have done it without any of those things. My story now exists on actual made-from-trees paper! And it’s growing. And that’s kind of exciting.

Perhaps it’s time for a cartwheel or two after all?

Advertisements

Four chapters do not a novel make

A month ago today I submitted the first four chapters of my novel to the university for assessment. For those of you who aren’t up to date, I’ve just begun my Masters of Creative Writing, and after years of procrastinating my brilliant (to me anyway) idea, I’m finally putting words to paper and actually writing the damn thing.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a tough few months. With deadlines and large wordcounts and a new job, not to mention the fact that writing a novel is HARD, other elements of my life pre-novel-writing have suffered – most notably my blog (as you’ve probably noticed) and any semblance of a social life.

I’m not one to complain. Let’s be honest, for an introverted book nerd such as myself, a life of quiet solitude is what one aspires to. Being able to write daily and having an actual reason to stay at home and get on with it is hardly a burden. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

But sometimes, just sometimes, the project seems far too big for my own little self to manage. I’ve often caught myself thinking what’s the point, when I’ll never be half as talented as the Dickens or Rowlings of the world. Sometimes the words on paper just won’t match the scene in my head, and I’m certain I’m destined for a life of solitary mediocrity.

Sometimes I just want to go out and do something other than sit at home and write a novel.

And then, just when I’m ready to pack it all in and run away with fairies, something happens.

This week, I collected my first four chapters, as marked by Vogel award winning author Rohan Wilson, and I smiled. I smiled, because even though the last few months have been hard, I knew, as I’ve known all along, that it would all be worth it.

Assignment One: 15,000 words

Result: High Distinction

HOORAH!

Whilst I realise I’ve still got a long, long way to go, not least of all being to write the rest of the story, it’s nice to know that I’m on the right track, that I’m doing something right, and that someone else thinks my writing is actually not bad. It’s a good feeling.

That said, while I’m happy with the results, even those chapters still need a lot of reworking and, more importantly, four chapters do not a novel make!  A long road awaits me, but I’m afraid the blog shall once again suffer as Semester Two begins and I focus on the next few chapters. I hope you’ll forgive me for that.

In exchange for your understanding, I’m going to offer you a sneak peek of some extracts of what I’ve written so far, AS LONG AS you promise to keep in mind that these are early days and there is much work still to be done. Deal?

Click on “The Novel” at the top of the page, or here to have read. The Prologue is up and ready for perusal.

As always, your feedback is invaluable, and I look forward to hearing what you think.

Happy weekend all.