Resumed rewrites today and we are up to Chapter 5 now, though chapter references are, of course, subjective and do not mean much. It’s much like saying how many pages you’ve typed or how many pages the book you’re reading is. Books differ in size, after all. A better way to describe a book’s length is word count. Currently, we 16,400 words into the book and right now the overall word count is around 63,000 words. For reference, the Bible has more or less, over 750,000 words, depending on the version.
I’m biased, of course, because I’m the author, but I am pleased so far and most of the changes are relatively minor, although minor is a relative term because even a one-word change is given no small amount of consideration. Later changes will be more substantial because I have ideas about expanding a character’s role and there are sections I was not entirely pleased with but could not, at the time, come up with anything better, but for now the changes being made are minor.
Two new characters were introduced this session, The Constable, who is pursuing the main character and Constable, a cat the main character acquires for company. Both have been entered in the character list at the bottom of the page.
The word count after this session was 63,954.
Back at it. I was a bit tired and I don’t like to write when I’m too tired because I produce gibberish, so this wasn’t an extended session, but it was productive.
I’m very pleased with this part of the book. Later, there is a character whose role I want to expand, but for now, I’m pleased.
The word count at the end of this round of rewrites is 63,716.
An updated character list is at the bottom.
All right, starting the initial rewrites on this future classic.
It’s been several weeks, maybe even three months or so, since I did any serious work on this. The first draft was written in the spring and then I dove in on the first, immediate rewrites but then, as usual, I put it away for a while. I do this because writing a book completely consumes you: you are either writing your book or you are thinking about writing your book. There’s is no middle ground and there is no other way, really. If a book isn’t your first thought when you wake up and the last before you fall asleep you are not doing yourself any good. You are not writing, you are typing and you and your characters deserve better than that.
Rewrites are fun. With a fresh mind, you are able to combine what you’ve already said with the new ideas that inevitably presented themselves in the interim and get down to the business of saying what you feel needs to be said, which is what you pay us writers for.
The word count of Criminals, Courtesans and Constables before starting in on the rewrites was 63,318.
Names are interesting animals. Their importance cannot be overemphasized. They must be appropriate to the person’s status and station. They must be immediately pronounceable at first glance. They must be believable. A good name produces an immediate bond with the reader. A bad name causes disinterest.
However, the main character of this book is nameless. I didn’t set out to do that, but a name never asserted itself nor was it necessary at any stage of the story. The inspiration for a nameless protagonist came from a really good book called Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household. The main character got caught trying to execute a world leader and was tortured and left for dead. He survived this and then was obliged to go into hiding.
Our unnamed protagonist was not inspired by anyone in particular, he is completely the product of my imagination, though a guy I know does resemble what I see in my mind’s eye. His name is Eric and I told him about this and he appeared to be flattered, though I didn’t tell him his character was a criminal.
Mum and Pappy
Main character’s parents. Not up for Couple of the Year honors. Otherwise unnamed and only mentioned a few times.
A bloke who has an affair with the main character’s sister.
Mentioned above. Always referred to in passing, never directly featured.
An older woman who meets, seduces and educates the main character in the ways of the privileged. Makes an appearance late in the story, too. Is not based on anyone in particular.
Cynthia, Rachel and Mallory: Courtesans the main character runs in and out of luxury hotels and palaces. Cynthia dies accidentally and Mallory fades away, but Rachel is in the story until the end. All three are based on females I know. Names have been changed to protect the beautiful.
The head of a racketeering/terrorist group that recruits the main character for employment.
Unnamed Female Prison Guard
Woman who obliges main character to have sex with her and later helps him esccape.
Another woman who helps the main character escape. Shows up later in the story.
Member of The Firm who works with the main character on a variety of projects. Based lock, stock and barrel on someone I know who knows about his role.
Another unnamed character, referred to exclusively as The Constable. He is based on no one in particular and, honestly, don’t ask me for a description because his appearance is rather vague. This is rare. Usually a character is real enough to a writer that he can see the character sitting across from him at the table, but in this case.
A cat the main character buys, named after The Constable. It’s funny, The Constable’s appearance is fuzzy but Constable the Cat is very real: white-ish, with some brown. While the first draft I would often my own cat Constable, even though her appearance is completely different.