Today, 24 January, marks twenty-one years since I started writing Mackerel Sky. Aka Watching Clouds, which is what the story had always been called up until about six months ago. Mackerel sky is a cloud formation, my favourite as it happens, and so it seemed a reasonably appropriate swap for Watching Clouds.
Owen still watches clouds, and he learns about the mackerel sky from Andrew during a peaceful moment (as yet written only in note form).
Twenty-one years. When I started (I was only half my current age!) I had only a thought to write the story of a young man who chose a slightly oddly path to follow in order to provide for his brothers and sisters. It was always going to be a romance, but it also contained a fair amount of anger and grief. I still have the very first words I wrote (back when I hadn’t yet happened upon the name of my MC) and I am quite thrilled with the fact that a good chunk of the initial ideas remain in the story. Not that it hasn’t changed over the years. Believe me, the opening section has had several re-writes and new-writes, and yet I keep coming back to starting where I’d always started it. I like to think that means it starts in a good spot, rather than me being resistant!
I think on the story a lot, even if I don’t write or am not editing. I even have a cover designed, which I have posted in several places around my house as inspiration. However, I find I’m just not feeling the finish. I want to publish this story but I also think I wouldn’t die in a ditch over that not happening. I’ve loved the journey, and I do actually have a full draft pretty much written (oh, let’s be honest – I’ve books two and three written as well, which stemmed from the fact that I kept thinking about an alternate ending and, voila, two extra books. I could condense them all into one but it’d still be a mammoth tome).
I know that publishing doesn’t mean I can’t ever edit or re-write or write anew. So, perhaps I just don’t want to let the story go. Perhaps I want to protect Owen, because I’m pretty sure people are going to think he’s on drugs or something over some of the things he does and thinks. He isn’t, by the way.
If I were disciplined (I’m a Capricorn, you’d think I’d be there with bells on) I could get the first draft done and to beta-readers by mid-year, and official editor (if needed, since I’m actually qualified myself) by end-year.
That’s kind of the reason for this post – a name and shame, if you will. Twenty-one years is ridiculous!!! I wrote 50,000 new words during the last NaNo and enjoyed it, and it wasn’t really rocket science. Though… I’ve not written a new word in the time since, instead writing for other novels and engaging in short stories on my writing site (not ‘mine’, but you know what I mean).
Off to set this website as my home page, to guilt myself into writing every time I see this post wishing my favourite novel a happy 21st!