Yahoo! I just reached the first major milestone in my ghostwriting odyssey. I’ve completed the first part of the three-part novel and submitted the manuscript to my client. Total count of this first submission is around 27,500 words. That’s a little longer than agreed, but long is good because it gives the editorial team plenty of room in which to swing their axes.
So what’s next? A cold beer and a hot bath? Don’t you believe it. I’m launching straight into part two, and things are hotting up. Up to now I’ve averaged 2.25 chapters a week. For the second round, I need to turn out 2.8 chapters a week. I don’t actually think of it in terms of numbers, you understand – I’m a wordsmith. The stats just remind me not to sit on my laurels.
On the subject of “what’s next?” here’s a thing: I haven’t looked at the story outline since I first read it last year, and I’ve forgotten most of the detail. This is a deliberate strategy to keep the writing fresh: when a character does something surprising, I’ll be surprised myself, and with luck that will come through in the prose.
With ghostwriting, there’s a danger that things will become too mechanical – after all, I’m effectively retelling a story that’s been worked over several times already. I figure it’s vital I do everything I can to keep my own contribution to the project as spontaneous as possible. If keeping myself at least a little in the dark makes a difference, then I’m happy to pull down the shades.
So, when you ask me, “What’s next?” and I answer, “I haven’t a bloody clue,” don’t fret. It’s all part of the master plan.