Thursday, March 10, 2011

Updated Novel Status

Anyone remember that novel I mentioned I was working on? The one I wanted to have completed by the end of March so that I could submit it to Angry Robot Books?

Guess what? The first draft is done!

Total word count at this point is 66,221. I expect that to fluctuate as I start revisions, going up and down as I find parts that require more explanation/showing and other parts that need to be ruthlessly pruned. Yes, the process is far from over.

So what have I learned from this. One, I can actually sustain the writing effort on a single project over a longer period of time than is required for shorter works, or in other words I can actually write freaking novels! Two, I can currently generate an output of 1000 words over two hours per night on average, or at least I can while writing first person narration. I'll need to write a longer work in third-person to see if this is the case. Three, having a general outline helped, but I am able to stray from it and come up with some interesting ideas.

I should probably say a bit more on that last point. During the writing process I actually had a character morph on me. Initially I intended him to be a lazy, no good bum, who's sole purpose was to cause calamity and die horrifically. As the writing progressed this character actually started to take on some heroic qualities, and became more rounded and mature as things went on as the plot demanded he step up and accomplish certain things. I won't mention his ultimate fate, but needless to say I was impressed at how rounded a character he became. I'm still a bit nervous about my characters, as that was one weakness that was pointed out to me by Karl Schroeder when he reviewed the short story I submitted for review while he was writer in residence for the Merrill Collection. I think I've addressed that weakness, but I won't know for sure until someone other than me reads my novel.

So where do I go from here? First, I need to take a short break. Not a long one as I need to get this in to Angry Robot by the end of March, but a few days to rejuvenate my creative juices wouldn't be amiss. I really do want to see a couple movies that have just come out or are about to come out, so this would be the perfect time to go and see those. Even though I'm staying away from the keyboard, my mind is still working on the novel and a plan is forming for revision. I know certain things I want to highlight in the book, and certain characteristics about each character I want to stand out. During the draft I discovered that two of the characters have a tragic flaw, and I want to make sure that's portrayed consistently, and I want to see if I can figure out the tragic flaw for the third character and find a way to make it clear as well, and all of this without clubbing the reader over the head with it.

I know my chances of this getting published are slim, but even if this book never sees the light of day (or ends up as a Kindle self-pub special) I've learned something from the process. Even better, I have numerous ideas ready for the next book I want to write, so even if this one doesn't take off I'm far from done.

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