22 September, 2008

Getting back into the Groove

Today has been a day of shifting gears and getting back on track.

For many months now, I've been writing The Comic Strip Companion, a book about every Doctor Who comic strip created in the 1960s and 1970s (and yes, there are a lot of them).

I had to lay the book to one side to tackle another, quite different writing job. I can't say much about that other piece of writing yet (I'll blog about it when it's been announced), but I will say that this was a hugely different discipline to writing the book, and I found it enormously challenging to get into the right headspace for the duration. That's now done and delivered.

So, after about a month of doing very little on the book, I've just resumed work on it.

Time to take stock. Where am I at with this? A few facts and figures might help. When I left off in mid-August, I'd completed the first drafts of nine chapters, which between them cover 87 comic strip stories. My total word count when I left off was 98,116 words (Believe me, I was sorely tempted to push on to the next chapter to break that psychological 100,000 barrier!).

I've another five chapters to write, plus three appendicies which are each probably going to be long enough to be considered chapters in their own right - so there's still a lot left to do.

Today, rather than launching straight into a new chapter, I decided to get back into the mindset by revising Chapter Six (which covers the comic strips published in 1970). The revisions included adding in a whole new subsection, and trimming down some overly wordy bits.

Having completed this revision, I took the plunge and sent this newly polished chapter out to a test audience for feedback and comments. I held off doing this until now because I didn't want the distraction of replies while I was working on the Other Project. Now it's time to start soliciting and receiving that constructive criticism. I've emailed a group of seven readers, and just hours later, I've already received my first feedback which has already got me thinking about making a few tweaks to the format. I'll hold off doing that though until I see what the others have to say.