The first hundred pages

My second week of actually writing, not planning or researching it, and I managed to get another fifty pages down! This is about the halfway point of my first draft. As I mentioned in my blog post about the first fifty pages, I am aiming for about 250 pages of finished novel. With a goal of 50 pages a week, I should be able to finish the first draft in 4-5 weeks. So far so good!

In my first post, I listed two things things that have helped me keep the pace up, and one thing that hasn’t. What about this week?

Get the wrods ut

Misspellings and all, right now it is important to get the bulk of the material written down. There are a lot of inspirational quotes out there about first drafts. I’ve been looking for something to get me started every day, and came across the quote on the right on twitter a few days ago. I’m only a novice writer, but it makes sense to me. All the first draft has to do is to exist.

I hear that there is a thing called fear of the blank page. If I ever suffered from that, the fear is long gone, written into oblivion in the couple of hundred blog posts I’ve produced in the last year and a half. Still, as a novice writer, it has helped me to realize that the first draft doesn’t have to be the final word. And likely won’t be. Editing is its own beast, but right now I just need to get words onto the page. They don’t have to be the perfect words either. In the midst of writing I don’t want to stop to look for the word that is just on the tip of my tongue (or at my fingertips), I will leave a blank or a few dashes and will go back later to fix it. And if I make a spelling mistake, either the spellcheck will fix it automatically, or I will in the many edits to come.

You know at one point I was reading something that was particularly brilliantly written, can’t remember what it was now, but I remember despairing that I would probably never write like that. But then I realized that I won’t have to. “The Queen of Crime”, Agatha Christie, isn’t particularly known for her brilliant prose and stunning turn of phrase. She is revered for writing mystery novels you can’t put down, books that you can read over and over because you will forget who actually done the deed. At least I do. They are all so likely! So that is what I strive for. A gripping mystery. A group of equally possible suspects. And as a bonus, an exciting location. Someone else can stun the world with beautiful words.

He said, she said and then OMG!

Source: see below

The writing has gone pretty fast this week as I have been focusing on scenes that drive action. Big plot points, dialogue that reveals character, murder revealed! That sort of thing. What I haven’t done much is write description and I think it works for me to leave that last. Description can stop narrative in its tracks, but nothing is worse than a back story dump to bring a story to a halt. Both need to be sprinkled in sparingly, especially in a murder mystery. When most of my story is there, it will be easier to see where it will benefit from a spot of bad weather or acne. Thank you for those nuggets of wisdom, o experienced writers on the internet!

In a murder mystery, the whoddunit is the main purpose, obviously. In a cozy mystery, it is also about characterization and interaction between recurring characters. Right now it doesn’t matter what they look like. I use the pithy placeholders I mentioned in my previous writing post, rather than waste time thinking of trying to remember names right now, and that works for for me. I can see my characters in my mind’s eye, but when it will be time to describe them in detail, I will likely search the internet for faces that I can use. It will be much easier to describe someone who actually exists than make it all up on a bare page.

As for description of the location(s), I am writing largely from experience based on my Grand Adventure. I have the photos to remind me of every little detail. So the descriptions can wait. Right now it doesn’t matter what the room looks like, I just need to get my characters in there and start talking, dammit! And reveal character and motivation while you’re at it, please and thank you.


Sun and town

I had this idea that moving to Edinburgh would also have the benefit of the rumored awful Scottish weather. The driving rain and sub zero temperatures would help keep me home and my ass in the writing chair. No such luck. The weather has actually been terrific, cool but sunny with crisp fall days, blue skies, brisk wind. Having all of Edinburgh waiting on my doorstep and calling out to me to explore, is not helping. Damn you sunny weather!

You may not have noticed but I aim for two blog posts per week these days. One is travel related, usually about Edinburgh, and the other about writing. If all goes well, there will be another 2-3 these writing updates every fifty pages until I have completed the first draft.

But now it’s Sunday midday, the weather is fine, I have completed my weekly goal and the outdoors call to me. Toodles!


p.s. featured image is from Pixabay, but I actually have a bookend just like that on my writing desk for inspiration!


Snoopy source:


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