Halfway to a Russell…
It’s not impossible, to dodge, hit, or field the missiles and toss them back while trying to create a story, but it can be somewhat distracting. And I do find that I can handle two or three interruptions in a morning and still go back to the words–although when it comes to four or five, eventually my brain says Hey, look, can we go do something else?
Which makes milestones (if you’ll pardon the confusion of metaphors here) all the more important, either when they’re off on the horizon, or when they’re reached, and falling behind.
Yesterday I hit one of those nice, round, if meaningless and deceptive milestones: the more or less halfway point of a theoretical first draft. My first drafts are a kind of expanded outline, whose purpose is to set up the machinery of the plot and to sketch in the characters. A first draft is not a novel. Mine are rubbish, utterly unreadable for anyone but an experienced editor. For this stage, I aim at 300 pages. Since the final manuscript will be over 400 pages, it gives an idea of how very skeletal the story is in its early form.
(And incidentally, that doubling up of metaphorical imagery–baseballs and mile markers–is not a bad illustration of the difference between a clumsy first draft and a hammered-down final one.)
But: I now have 150 pages that I didn’t have at the beginning of March. Better yet, there are no conferences, Mystery Writers of America workshops, book festivals, or trips to New York coming at me from down the other end of the batting cage. Which means that with a touch of luck, I may be able to keep my head down and write.
Here’s hoping I don’t get knocked off my seat by anything thrown at me by the pitching machine of life.