The Integration Project: Day 1

The book begins! In the first session, I clocked just shy of 2,500 words, met some new characters, discovered some new complications. And I learned that my heroine *loves* men, and is a sexist lech. Read on to find out what else is going on so far in developing The Integration Project.
The Integration Project

The first day of working on the writing of any new project is attended by a combination of trepidation and excitement. I was up super early – 0445 – but didn’t even get cracking until after lunch. I spent an hour in meditation, followed by some cardio and an advanced ballet barre that caused me to sweat and curse and struggle. I desperately wanted to clean my house – the most common neurosis of writers all over the world. I realised I hadn’t made good on a promise to do some research for a potential new side-business, so spent 15 minutes phoning businesses and pitching the idea to get feedback. By then it was 10 am, and I had to have a shower and get out of the house.

Today was a day to have coffee with my screenwriting buddy, Christine. She’d been away, and the side-business may involve her son, so we spent loads of time talking. Or rather, I did. I seem to talk a lot more than she does. I found out about her new film projects – her first gig as Co-Producer, which is super exciting – and didn’t get out of there until midday.

Before I went there, I tweeted that I was going to tell her that Ultimatum was finished, but it turns out I didn’t have to! She’d been scoping my Patreon, and so the first thing she said to me was, ‘Congratulations!’

Me, being clueless, held her at arms’ length. ‘For what?’

‘For finishing!’ she exclaimed.

And so we yabbered on. But then, after chores and eating and things, it was 1 pm before I sat down to write.

In the beginning, I was hesitant and excited. Nervous and on fire, all at once. I bought the pro version of Highland, so I could write using the same interface. I had some misgivings about it. I could use Typora instead, for free, for example. But then I’d miss the extras: The stats, the timer, the scratchpad, etc. It’s a huge bonus to have all the additional elements, and it outputs to Markdown, so it was a sensible purchase. (See me justifying this $80 spend? You bet.)

Then I sat down to write.

Today I managed to put down 2,448 words, which is roughly six pages. I’m going to pick this up for the average from next week, so can start setting some goals and timing, to get things moving. If a novel has roughly 100,000 words, then I only have 97,552 to go.

This kind of extent-chasing is important if I’m actually going to hit the right length. Looking at The Board, I currently have another 17 beats to write. To hit the right length, each beat needs to be approximately 6,000 words long.

Right now, I’m writing Beat 1. I’m in the stage of the story where we want to learn the arbitrary 6 Things to Fix. So far, I’ve written in three of them, and in this story I do actually have six things that will need to be fixed, so I’m about halfway through.

And that, boys and girls and non-binary friends, means that I’m on track for completing Beat 1. Isn’t maths a beautiful thing?

So far, we’re in the stage of The Integration Project where we meet our character. Here’s what the beat card says:

Meet hero, learn she’s bright, at the forefront of tech, but is disconnected and (see 6 Things). Curious about humanity and its future.

In writing about this girl, who is presently named Mandy, I have discovered a powerful, confident, sexist woman. She loves men. She is an unashamed perv of nice-looking men. She works super hard, loves her work, is finding it difficult to see herself separate from her work. I learned that she has a colleague called Mark. (Yeah, I nearly named them Mork and Mindy just for names. Ha!) I learned that one of her best friends is a bloke called John.

John isn’t anywhere in my beat cards. He just appeared. He’s a neuroscientist; he appeared quite suddenly, without warning, and is going to be working alongside our hero to some extend. However, I have the feeling that John’s work is eventually going to be used against her, and that she might not see them on the same side anymore.

These kinds of emerging complications are very fun. I just have to remember to keep adding them to The Board.

I found myself writing like mad for an hour and a half, and then backed off. I was scratching for something to eat, and then went down a Failsafe Food recipe rabbit hole. (That’s a long story that isn’t for this post!) Then made myself come back to the work.

By the time I finished today, I had rounded off the first half of Beat 1, and stopped when I was just getting back into the swing of things. My goal for next week is to write for an entire day, to clean up Beat 1 (with as close as possible to 6,000 words), and to get cracking on Beat 2.

This is going to be one amazing, wild ride. Dear reader, I am super glad you’re with me.

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