Friday 12 April 2024

Writing Marathon DNF

Friday, 12 April, 2024

Well, what can I say? That was brutal. I started in good spirits, intending to complete the full 24-hour marathon. My hope was to complete a full novel's first draft in 24 hours. Did I fulfil this desire?

And we're off, with the positive messaging of the 1st hour's two hosts

Here we go - let's get cracking

I was working on a tough little cookie of a project - a novel I've had mulling around in the back of my head for several years now - my take on the teenage-girl discovers-the-supernatural-is-a-powerful-aid-in-navigating-the-adult-world trope.  Although many hours had already been spent over the years trying to conjure a story to fit the title of the book I was set on keeping, Familiar, only a couple of key opening scenes had been mapped out on paper. The Writing Sprint seemed a great opportunity to force some meat onto the body of the tale. And so, at 8pm I sat at the desk in the caravan, opened a new Google Docs tab and began tap-tap-tapping at my laptop keyboard.

Christ, this is hard!

Writing is a very solitary pastime, and it was interesting to write in the company of so many other souls tortured with the need to fill black pages with their words. The structure of the Writing Spring was that we gathered together to commiserate or congratulate each other at ten to each hour. Five to each hour was our break. Then, on the hour, we set our intentions for the next hour in the group before doing our next 45 minute sting of world-creating. All this, as you can probably see from the screen grabs I have included with this post, was done via Zoom,

Unfortunately, as the night drew late and I reached the stages of my story where I literally did not know what was going to happen next in the story, my brain started to stall, my eyelids became leaden, and my head began to droop. Encouraged by others in the group who were taking sleep breaks and giving up on the idea of doing the full 24-hour stint, I finally admitted defeat, from my original goal at least, and crawled into bed at 2am in the morning.

The state of me! By this stage, I even thought
my laptop's touchpad wasn't working, only
to find out I was stroking the table top lol,

I rejoined the writing sessions the following morning but needed to break the next session to view a house needed for our temporary accommodation whilst we wait for repair to work on our house to start, let alone finish. Again, I picked up the writing thread when I returned to the caravan but missed the finale due to a developing spectacular sunset.

All in all, I completed eleven of my intended 24 hours of writing and ended up with four complete chapters rather than having the first draft of the entire book sorted. But, with a little mental gymnastic to wrestle some kind of success from cold failure, my next horror novel, my 9th, is in a much better place than it was just twenty-four hours earlier, and the story is a far stronger one for my having taken part in the Writing Space.

Will I participate in another Writing Sprint. You can bet your life I will!