Four thousand words a day challenge: Day fourteen


Yesterday was a retrench and correction day. Tidying up and adding in, tying up loose ends over the whole manuscript so there are no bits a reader can point triumphantly to, shouting “You missed a bit.” The end is in sight after two long weeks, and the only writing tasks in front of me are one small conversation with a minor character and the grand finale.

Then it will be finished; the story of a slightly neurotic (Well wouldn’t you be if you saw peoples emotions as coloured mists, could hear their every thought, and talk to the recently dead?) Telempathic mid 21st century detective, and how he helps save London, but not his marriage. Paul Calvin lives in a world not too much unlike today with very similar social problems, but faced with a technology that threatens the very sanctity of individual human uniqueness. The story has a number of possible taglines. My current favourite being;

“The living shouldn’t try to talk to the dead. We say too much and know too little.

To work; I know what I have to do, and how I have to do it. Three more days and I’m hoping Harper Vector don’t change their minds about opening the submission floodgates.

Working title for this first in the Cerberus series of novels is “Heads of the beast” The reasoning behind the title will be obvious to the observant reader.

Update: I think I’ve finished. The story has run its course and has come to a natural conclusion at a shade under 70,000 words. 69715 Including heading. Finished main first draft at 3:18 PST today. Ever since then I’ve been reading and revising. Still finding the odd typo, but in the main it all makes sense, and I’m quite taken with some of my creations. My particular favourite is ex Police Sergeant Megan Cardhew, invalided out of the Police Service after suffering brain damage. She has some of the best lines in the whole MSS, and I find myself liking her as a person. Even though the only place she exists is on the pages of my manuscript. Perhaps because she reminds me of some of the less politically correct people I’ve known in my life. She’s so delightfully up front and uncomplicated, and being slightly demented, she gets away with saying some quite ribald things to Paul. However, she is a key character because she helps him develop.

I’ll keep chipping away over the next day or so to see if there’s anything I want to add, subtract or multiply from this version, but to be honest I’m very pleased with it. I know the average length of a novel is traditionally between 80-100,000 words, but if I add any more I think it will spoil the story. So 70,000 it is.

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Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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