I started the ongoing project on January 3 this year, and finished the first draft on May 20. At twenty weeks, it doesn’t seem to measure up to Fleming’s Stakhanovite rate of production - even though the ongoing is somewhat over 170000 words long, while the Bond novels, at 2000 words a day for six weeks, stack up at an economical 84000 words, I seem to have been overdoing it on the lunch and swimming and cocktails and company of beautiful women bit. In fact, I was hitting Fleming’s rate, at minimum, each week. It’s just that I had other stuff to do - such as dealing with the edit and rewrite of The Quiet War, and then its copy edit. That’s five weeks out of the schedule right there. A fair number of weekends were taken up with finishing a novella, and writing an essay, too. And at the beginning, despite a fair amount of forward planning and making detailed background notes, I managed to make my usual false start, discovering after a few weeks and some 70000 words that I wasn’t heading in the right direction or moving at the right speed. D’oh! Well, nothing for it but to start over, and hope that some of the stuff can be reused (which about half of it was, in the end).
Writing seems to me to consist of a) blundering about in the wrong direction, b) finding the right direction and hitting the groove and getting on with it, and c) rewriting. Ah, rewriting! How I love rewriting! After all, the first draft proves that the project has a beginning and an end. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out all the middle stuff, and making sense of notes like this (and this is one of the more intelligible ones): [need to cut this up into at least two chapters and in second sharpen tension between Ghosts and others, more on unbound nanotech and also make the attack and the death of Colonel Neves much sharper].
But first I have to finish writing a talk I’m giving at the Norwegian Festival of Literature . . .