100 Days to Write a Novel: Week Five

The Certainty of Dust is at almost 30,000 words and this is the pause point. At 30k with both previous novels, it reached the point where forward momentum versus how it matches the outline needed testing at this point. And despite doing better planning, or so I thought, I’ve hit that point now too. I guess it’s just part of my “process” (hah, as if there was such a thing). So instead of adding more words today (or this weekend) I’ll be revisiting the outline – and making sure it still makes sense. I’ve already spotted – while writing – that one chapter needs to come earlier.

It’s also nice to reach novella length and almost half novel length (which for genre is 70k as usual lowest target) which it’ll reach next week (if all goes well, that’s 35k next week hopefully)

On Twitter on Wednesday I asked a research question which went sort of viral. Without too many spoilers Jackie, the main character of the novel, has to sing at a funeral and I wanted to know what the saddest song she could sing could be. But Google let me down, none of the songs it threw up were that sad (to me). So I asked people to give me the songs that make them cry and I have been overwhelmed at the response. Many, many thanks to everyone who has tweeted me songs that make them cry. I am very grateful & will try and acknowledge as many as I can in the book (definitely for the ones I use).

And after taking a hit on productivity due to a combination of factors (including Brexit setting the country on fire, sorry for so many political tweets folks!) but mainly due to being shortlisted for the BFA for my first book along comes something else to set expectations and re-awake that whole fear of success (fear of success is odd, but very real). My previous book, Seven Deadly Swords, has been longlisted for the Not The Booker. Although I have no expectations with regards to getting on the shortlist (not enough people have bought and read my book and the barrier for voting – having a Guardian account and leaving a 100+ word review will put off most of the people who have actually read it!). But just being on a national list is big. I have no idea how it made the list, and in fact hadn’t noticed it was on the list until Dave Hutchinson pointed it out on Twitter. I’ve explored this more in this post

As ever I’ve been reading writing books – as described in this post I’m kinda addicted to reading writing books, especially while writing a book. This week has been no different, I’ve finished The Making of a Story I’ve been reading it for some months on and off (it was recommended by Neil Gaiman no less, good but very thick!) and read 10 Core Practices for Better Writing (Aimed at beginning writers and people who have never heard of Amazon :-o) and Creative Writing (which I read in a couple of hours and picked up some tips so I’d recommend that one.)

The last piece of news is that I’m a judge for the British Fantasy Awards Best Newcomer

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award)
Tomi Adeyemi, for The Children of Blood and Bone (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Cameron Johnston, for The Traitor God (Angry Robot)
RF Kuang, for The Poppy War (HarperVoyager)
Tasha Suri, for Empire of Sand (Orbit)
Marian Womack, for Lost Objects (Luna Press Publishing)
Micah Yongo, for Lost Gods (Angry Robot)

And have been receiving these books in the post over the last couple of weeks – so I’ll be reading ‘professionally’ for a while…

Happy Reading & Happy Writing!




Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

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