Words for the day: 6341 (target was to finish)
T-shirt: It was a mismatched collection of warm and cool clothing
Best music vibe: “Beach” San Cisco
I’m writing this from the comfort of December. The adrenalin has worn off, as has the adrenaline withdrawal. I’ve been out to piss it up with jugs of sangria, I’ve slept and I’ve had enough days away from my characters to miss them terribly.
I decided on Thursday night while out walking the dog that I would pull an all-nighter and finish the novel. That was at about 9pm. I made the decision without the foresight to stock up on biscuits and chocolate and other necessaries to haunt the hours everyone else is sleeping through.
At 9:30 I put the coffee on, sorted out my writing space and sat down wondering what the fuck I was thinking. I was tired before I had committed a single word. I cranked up The Pointer Sisters, drank my coffee and chair danced until the coffee was gone, just to get the energy flowing. In my notebook I wrote down the scenes left and filled in some simple detail. I probably didn’t need to do it but again, it helped to get everything flowing. And I sat and wrote. Knowing I wasn’t coming up until it was done.
I was lucky enough to have a friend awake and available on the other side of the world. He helped to keep me awake as the story slowly flowed out of me. As the bodies rolled, and the horror amped up, as I typed and typed and typed and typed.
Facebook looked something like this:
See you all at the next 1,000 block or next death. Whichever comes first. #mad#thisnovelendstonight
Three: three cold, twisted bodies in a pool of blood in an upstairs room. This brings the Count’s body count to four: four dead Dalhousians. *uhahuhahuh*
76,000 words lingering in the heat of Antoinette and on the cusp of the big flicking of the switch on the chronometric pulley and the next death.
77,000 words pass in a blast of cardiac flesh smeared on brass.
Oh, and one: one young woman once a bitch throwing a spanner in the words with an exploding heart. This brings the Body Count to five. Five dead bodies. *uhahuhahuh*
One: old man with a cold chisel through his chest ending three centuries of life and an epic love affair. This brings the Body Count to six: six dead bodies *uhahuhahuh*
78000 words slinks past in a hail of difficult words in the face of a no-win situation. What would you sacrifice for the person you loved?
One: a young man who gives his life for the woman who helped him find the way back. He rides out on a bottle of laudanum. This brings the Body Count to six. Six stiffs in Dalhouse. *uhahuhahuhah* And the death count ends. And the book not far away either.
It’s undisclosed as to whether or not I really did go a bit mad by the end.
Somewhere throughout the evening I found San Cisco and their song “Beach” and it went on loop. Became a bit of an end line anthem.
At 5:11am, after going it alone for an hour and feeling as though I was writing from blood squeezed from my thumb, the last words were committed: THE END.
Between Minutes came in at 79,153 words. There was absolutely no temptation to find a scene and flesh it out to make it 80,000.
It is currently safely tucked away in my hard drive and I’ll print it out when I get a new toner and do the cliched bottom drawer thing (hey, it’s my first novel!). The plan is to leave it there until February. I have my eye on a Writer’s Retreat at the end of February. If it comes off I will work the second draft while I am there.
In the interim I will continue to take notes about the characters, read A Christmas Carol and Pride and Prejudice and think of nifty ways to steam punk an average Victorian house.
Thank You And Good Night
There are so many people I’d like to thank that I fear I’ll leave someone out.
First up to Rus Vanwestervelt who was the original impetus to write this year (it was stubborn me who decided it had to be finished manuscript this year, not just an arbitrary word count) and who ended up being a just world-away muse, confidenté and one-man cheer squad.
Secondly to my Mr D’s who put up with a month of take-away food, a mostly absent mother and partner and just general weirdness from me.
Thirdly to Rob who let me prattle about all the broken bits and do what outsiders do best: pointed to the obvious connection between it all and gave the the road map to THE END.
Lastly to the support team: Stacey, Helen, Adam, Ben, Nichole, Rosemary, Jo-Anne, Daniel, Emily, Paula, Sean, Kat, Kelly, Monica (many of whom were also madly scrabbling for words) and all the people who read, liked and commented on the snippets that went up on Facebook, gave a cheer on Twitter or who generally just gave me a break as needing to be a functioning human being.
And to end it off, perhaps one of my favourite scenes amid the blood bath that came Tarantino style at the end.
* * *
He held the church door open for the Darlinghursts.The night air felt alive as Christian escorted the Darlinghursts out: warm and expansive and pure before the smells of Victorian life seeped in to crowd him.
“I’m unfamiliar with this part of town, Lady Darlinghurst. Where do you suggest a cab at this hour.”
“Cab? Dear boy, you expect us to travel home in a cab.”
She bustled off through the churchyard and as he followed, Magdelena slipping her arm through his bringing his momentum to a halt.
“One small kiss as a token of your affection?” she asked, closing her eyes and waiting for him to kiss her.
“Or as an act of good faith on the part of your patron,” Maelene added and followed her mother toward the carriage waiting at the front gates of the church.
Christian cupped one side of her face in his hand, closed his eyes and pretended he was kissing Tabitha for the first time.
“Mr Butler,” she gasped when he finally pulled away and he held her arm, aghast there really was such a thing as a swoon.
“Will you do my a favour, Maggie?” Christian asked.
“Do not come to the demonstration tomorrow. Forget you ever saw me, you were ever in that house and if someone ever offers your mother an investment that seems too good to be true, then it is. Don’t accept it. If you accept it you will end up destitute.”
He took the promissory note from his pocket. “If you don’t, in the future you will be cleaning the piss pots in Mr Ramsey’s house and your mother will be kneading bread. And for your sister’s sass will end with her having her tongue cut out.
“You are a sweet girl and your family would never have been dragged into this if not for me.” He executed a terrible bow and took his leave of her.
“But, Mr Butler. Tea?” Magdalena called as he walked away. “Perhaps next week.”
She was waving the promissory note in lieu of a handkerchief when he turned back and he shook his head. “My wife will be more understanding of that kiss if I don’t.”
He turned back to the church and kept walking, telling himself he’d done his best to save them.