January, though, has been phenomenally productive. In the past 17 days I’ve written 31,347 words. My novel now stands at 55,000 words. More importantly, I now feel that it’s going somewhere. Until now I’ve been unconvinced, almost going through the motions. Now it feels real. It’s nothing like ready, of course, but what I’m writing now is a good first draft and I feel it’s working.
But that’s not why I’m writing this post. That's all very well, but there was a more significant happening for me today. I killed two of my characters. These two men have been in my head for nine years now and I've chatted with them pretty much every day in that time. They first emerged in a very strange little story I wrote in Alex Keegan’s Boot Camp. The story itself was virtually a verbatim account of a dream I had had, and these two characters emerged, fully formed from it. For a long time, though, they were (intentionally) two-dimensional. The original story was essentially a cartoon and that’s how they were drawn. That story has haunted me ever since. It’s been at the centre of pretty much all the fiction I've produced in the past few years. The central character, Jack, has changed dramatically since the initial story but Joss’n’Jules, my two characters, have remained largely constant.
I’ve known for several months how they were going to die. That came to me in a dream, too, as it happens. It’s not the case, by the way, that I dream a lot of my storylines. In fact, I can only think of these two instances and one other, which will also feature in the novel somewhere, although I’m not sure where yet.
Anyway, I’ve known how they would die for some time but I’ve been putting off writing it. Now I have. It was hard. I hated it. Soppy old git, I know, but it changes things. I’ll never be able to think about them the same again. I won’t love them any less but they are different now. It’s ironic, of course, that these thoughts I’m struggling with are actually at the centre of Joss'n'Jules's entire presence in the novel. Joss will be laughing at me, Jules sympathising.
So I’m three-quarters of the way through this draft. I can’t wait to start rewriting it. The Jasmine Orchestra will play Clair de Lune.