Work on the first draft of the fourth Anna Scavolini novel, Women Who Kill, continues at a steady pace and is still on track to be completed it before the end of the year. In fact, while I’m not officially taking part in NaNoWriMo this year (i.e. I’ve not committed to banging out the full 50,000 words), I’m hopeful that the fact that November is National Novel Writing Month will spur me on to finish the draft before the month’s end. The draft currently stands at a severely bloated 148,000 words, and while the end is very much in sight, I still have a decent chunk left to get through, so I’m obviously going to need to do a serious amount of pruning when the time comes for the second draft.
It’s safe to say that this has proven to be somewhat of a difficult birth, and I attribute a lot of that to feature creep. I came up with the concept for Women Who Kill a good two years before I began actually writing it, but I kept a file of notes and ideas which steadily grew in size over the course of those two years. The inevitable result was that I ended up with far more ideas than could be accommodated within a single novel, and while I pruned a decent amount of material when I drew up my final outline, I clearly wasn’t nearly judicious enough. I already have plenty of ideas for what to change, simplify or cut entirely during the second draft, but for the time being will be pressing on with the existing outline rather than becoming mired in attempting to fix it as I go – the writing equivalent of trying to hit a moving target.
One of the reasons why I’ve not made quite as much progress as I would perhaps have expected to is that, early last month, I ended up putting the entire project to one side for a couple of weeks… though if you thought I was resting on my laurels, think again! I was, in fact, contributing to the screenplay for Derelict, a new feature film by Jonathan Zaurin, with whom I’ve worked many times in my capacity as a disc producer at Arrow Films. Jon asked me to come on board to lend a hand with the script, and I spent a fortnight doing my own pass on it. Many of you will probably know that, before I started this whole novel-writing malarkey, I used to write screenplays. In fact, my first novel, In the Silence, started life as a feature film script. While I’m not sorry to have switched mediums – quite apart from anything, it’s considerably easier to get a book into the hands of readers than it is to get a script turned into a film! – I really enjoyed stepping back into the world of INT., EXT., (O.S.) and all the other bits of syntax particular to screenplays. There’s something refreshingly fast-paced about writing a script. The best ones are short, sharp and punchy, with a minimal amount of the sort of elaborate prose that always takes up the bulk of my time whenever I’m writing a draft of a novel.
Derelict recently completed its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and now moves into the next phase of pre-production. In the meantime, sign up to the Facebook page to be kept in the loop about any developments!