Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Well and Truly Warhammered

Well, I finished writing my first Warhammer novel yesterday. The Games Workshop omerta forbids me from blurting out the title or many plot details, but it was effectively a police procedural set in the a particular part of the Warhammer fantasy universe. Think Hill Street Blues meets Lord of the Rings and you sort of get the idea. The novel came in at 101,500 words, whereas the stated wordcount on the contract is 95,000. However, my editor tells me they like books to run a little long. Seems 95k isn't quite enough to fill the obligatory 416 pages.

All of which means my 17th novel is also my longest too date. A Nightmare on Elm Street: Suffer the Children clawed its way to a bare 95k, but this tome was a big, fat baby, chock full of plots, subplots and a massive ensemble cast. Some of them got more page time than others, quite a few didn't make it out of the book alive, and several only got cameo appearances. I enjoyed my first visit to the world of Warhammer and would happily tackle another novel set in that universe.

Sometimes, you get to the end of a novel and it's a blessed relief. You never want to see the bloody thing again, much less have to proof-read it. Knowing I had put myself under severe time pressure on this one, I did a proof-read when I hit 75,000 words. AFter that I would write another 5000 words and proof-read that the following morning. It meant when I finished the book, I only had the last 7000 words to proof, instead of the whole damn thing - now that was a blessed relief.

I had hoped to finish the novel on Monday, but spent the day mentally preparing myself for the final chapter thrash. All my novels have ended in a last, helter skelter dash to THE END and yesterday was no different. Got up at 6 am, had breakfast, incorporated my revisions to the previous 5000 words and then dived into the end of the book. Rattled off 7000 words by two in the afternoon. A quick spit and polish, then the joyous moment of clicking the button that says Send.

No doubt there will be tweaks and twiddles to come - as a newcomer to the world of Warhammer, I'm sure I'm gone off-message in a few places - but the hard work is done. I'm not plugged into Warhammer fan forums as I am with 2000 AD and Doctor Who, so the only people I need or want to satisfy with this novel are myself and my editor. Right now, I'm halfway there.

Anyways, today will be a day of taking stock. Clean up the office, sort my head out and prepare for opening night of the local am-dram production, Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw. I'm in it, but as a supporting player. For a change I'm neither directing nor producing the show, which takes a huge weight off my shoulders. I can turn up, say my lines, act and react, and that's my job done. Seems to be my theme for the day: job done. Starting tomorrow: new jobs begin.

1 comment:

potdoll said...

Bloody hell I need to book myself into The Priory after reading that