Notes on the novel

Word count: 35,785

I’m conscious progress on the novel is slow, but hey-ho, it’s been a busy couple of weeks what with the London Book Fair and a whole variety of Real Life Things To Do. But I’ve managed another couple of thousand words today, and things have moved on nicely. That’s a relief, because this time last week it felt like the story was slipping away from me.

Much as they tell you to keep your head down on the first draft, sometimes a break can help. In this case, it’s allowed me to come back to thirty-odd thousand words of manuscript, skim through it quickly and reassure myself the story’s alive and kicking. I’ve also revised a couple of early scenes with a James-Dean-kind-of-a-dragon called Pyx. The revisions define his character much more effectively, and mean the fresh stuff I’ve written from his POV today has been a whole lot better.

Plot-wise, I’ve now moved pasta series of orientation/exposition scenes and got the characters moving again. In other words, my dragons have stopped sitting around telling each other what’s going on, spread their wings and taken to the air. There’s some entertaining character conflicts going on in the little group that’s formed, and plenty of scope for ramping up the action as their quest really gets going.

That said, I’m conscious I’ve left a few loose threads dangling. I’ve dealt with those in the usual way: leaving myself little italicised notes. Here are the ones I just put down:

  • Describe a leviathan attack – Abalone’s seen one?
  • Overfly peril in the desert – something that’ll rear up later
  • Pyx uses Ivory to get at Nimbus
  • Introduce Keel, broad strokes
  • Nymphstone story really gets under Pyx’s skin

They won’t much to you, of course. They’re just a quick brain-dump of what was in my head as I wrapped up writing this afternoon. Next time I come back to the MS, these notes will be front and centre, and I’ll choose to follow or ignore them as I see fit.

The other thing on my mind is the title. The Spiral Skull. My agent and I agreed this week it isn’t great. For one thing, it doesn’t have the word dragon in it. Not that it absolutely has to (my first novel was originally called The Turning of the World – only later did my editor talk me into calling it Dragoncharm) but it wouldn’t hurt. At this stage it’s not important. But I can’t help thinking about it. The title that popped into my head this afternoon was The Dragons of Bloodrock. Who knows, that may be what we plump for in the end. If so, you heard it here first.

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