I’m feeling vaguely accomplished today for two reasons, and as this doesn’t happen very often I will dwell on it a bit (I think it was Alan Bennett who once said something about how writers never feel like writers unless they’re physically writing; the rest of the time they feel like frauds).I have the first draft of Bad Apple Bone sitting in front of me, in glorious chunky paper form. It’s the first time I’ve seen it printed out, and it looks ginormous. It’s lovely, to feel the heft of it, to see all those words collected together in one place, and to flick through to read random bits; grimacing at some, laughing at others. There will be lots of problems with it, because I started writing the book without any idea what I was doing, or indeed any idea I was writing a book, and no doubt I’ll have made lots of terrible, first-time-writer mistakes, but I think I’m going to enjoying reading it again nonetheless. Secondly, after four mouths and a scattering of days, I have finished the rough draft of Ink for Thieves. I struggled over the line at the weekend, so toasts were made and Snoopy dances were danced, and I saw my characters off into the sunset with a tear in my eye.
It’s been an interesting experience, this one. It started as a novella for NaNoWriMo, but grew quickly into a larger book within the first week of writing, and I realised this one had a bigger story to tell. Coming just after a bit of a cock up with A Boy of Blood and Clay, which fatally stalled at 63,000 words, it was a relief to know I could still do big stories. Around about halfway through a minor tangent turned into a major story arc, and by and large, Ink for Thieves was a joy to write. It certainly had it’s difficult moments, particularly when I realised I was three quarters of the way through and still had no real idea how the Big Bad was going to be resolved, or getting too bogged down in the detail of a city that only appeared in the first chapter, but for the most part I had a lot of fun. The characters really did have a life of their own this time round, and I was amazed (and slightly annoyed) that I could not put any of them in a situation together without there being a blazing argument; their actions often surprised me, and showed me parts of the story I hadn’t been aware of. Following where the characters lead has been an interesting journey, almost as interesting as Guido’s dangerous and frantic journey across the Embers.