Nobody likes a flabby mid-section. Lockdowns combined with the fact that I'm a greedy git, mean that even by my own rotund standards, I'm on the large side. I'm tackling that with intermittent fasting, which at least limits the time that I can stuff food into my mouth. I'm also eating more "good" things and less "bad" things. Not drinking any booze will help too.

Sean has a flabby mid-section too. Not the character, he has the metabolism of a young man, and uses the gym. I mean the draft. The version that I'm working off began as two books, until I decided to combine them.

I'm publishing Act 1 to Members, in weekly instalments every Wednesday. I take a few scenes, edit a little, and post. Just this week, I started reading ahead to Act II. Oh. It seems that past-Stu had decided that the second novel should be dropped, in its entirety, into Act II, for future-Stu to sort out.

Future-Stu, who is now present-Stu, is less than pleased. There are over 100 scenes, out of sequence, with no clear plot thread. Oh - and I changed all the character's names too.

Oh boy.

This is the danger of repeatedly picking up and dropping a writing project. No doubt, I had a plan when I was writing two novels. Almost certainly, there was a reasoned logic in combining the two. Perhaps I once knew exactly how the combined Act II was going to work. Maybe I wrote it down somewhere? In a notebook? Or an app?

As of right now - I have not the faintest clue what I was thinking. I'm invested in the flow of Act I that I've been serialising. I know where it's going. I think. Obviously. I mean...Oh poo!

I have a lot of reading to do - of my drafts and my notebooks. I'll be writing index cards for the most important scenes, that move the plot along. Then, I'll be writing index cards for the scenes that connect those plot points. Hopefully, many of those scenes are already written.

My flabby mid-section hangs off a solid bone structure and taut muscle, although you wouldn't know it from looking. As I trim away the fat, those abdominals will emerge.

People discuss two approaches to writing. Planning and Pantsing. Planning is self-explanatory, and pantsing (sometimes called plunging) is where the writer lets the words flow out, writing by the seat of their pants.

Pantsers say:

"The characters guide me as we go along."

"I carve the narrative out of the first draft, it emerges like a sculpture from the rough stone."

It's beautiful. Isn't it? What a wonder to be an artist at work. I was definitely a pantser. Who would want to be a planner? This is novel writing, an art!

It might be only my characters, but they're crap at guiding me anywhere. They wander around in self-possessed circles. Carving the narrative? That's a euphemism for re-writing the bloody thing.

You may rest-assured that next time - I am most definitely a planner.

If you want to follow along as the novel publishes, become a member. It costs £3 a month, discounted to £2 a month on the annual plan. Members get access to the novel, scene by scene, and will, at the end, receive an electronic copy of the version to be published more widely. There's a members' chat where people give me feedback and help me procrastinate.

Right. I've got some (re-)writing to do.