The Ten Day Book Challenge Starts Tomorrow

Reading & Writing

This year, for the first time, I slipped behind in my writing schedule. An eye operation forced me to to leave the desk, and while I was incredibly thankful to not lose my sight, my work timetable fell apart. In one way it proved useful because I rethought the next book and changed my plans dramatically, but the need for an extra draft and the delay have forced me into a situation; I need to turn the final draft of the novel around in ten days.

So I’m heading for Barcelona tomorrow, where I plan to wedge myself behind my Franco voting desk in my very dark, very quiet office and write solidly for ten days, delivering the final product just before I board my flight back to London. For that period I’m going to keep a diary outlining the pitfalls and problems of the process.

My flight is shortly after dawn tomorrow, and as I’m out at meetings today I’ll have to sort out all the research I’ll be needing and pack it tonight. These are materials from old books rather than the internet, and the problem here is that I don’t exactly know what I’ll use. Mostly it’s to do with Arthur Bryant’s peculiar flights of fancy but at this stage it’s a very random process figuring out what he’s likely to say. Whichever books I take are bound to be the wrong ones. Not a problem, though – I can leave gaps and drop the last bits in as soon as I can find them.

Researching is harder on a Kindle than in my library because the latter is a non-linear process that involves hopping through a trail of books, magazines and ephemera for the one piece of information that will lighten or inform. However, writing on the move is easier, and I’m happy to switch between laptop and iPad (which has the best instinctive keyboard I’ve ever used – if only there was a way to keep the blasted thing lying flat).

So this will be the third and final draft of ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’, written and delivered in ten days. It’ll be an interesting exercise to see what problems are thrown my way in the process, and how I deal with them. I hope it may prove a little instructive for you too.

3 comments on “The Ten Day Book Challenge Starts Tomorrow”

  1. Jan says:

    See comment in M+W
    Best of luck

  2. Roger says:

    Well, it’s fiction, set in a sort of alternative reality. If anyone could just make it up, you could!
    On the other hand, that’s what makes getting the details right so important, which you do.
    Good luck, anyway/

  3. Ben Morris says:

    Good luck. 10 days of very hard work and it’ll be over, just as long as your publisher doesn’t think you can do that rate every two weeks!

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