I’ve been busy this summer, writing-wise. Otherwise it has been pretty slow and laid back. I am unemployed and off of EI, so we are living off my wife’s salary only. We have also moved into an apartment in the city, and our daughter, who began her first full-time job in May, and her boyfriend are renting our house from us. The housing market sucks around here, and we have some foundation work to complete before we are ready to sell. Call it an experiment. So far, all tests are positive.
I decided to use this downtime to focus on a novel. Every day that passes I feel more comfortable with my abilities as a writer, more confident in my abilities to write a readable novel. Hell, let’s cut to the chase. I think I can write a best selling novel, and I think I have two in my portfolio, maybe even four.
Okay, pop the balloon head.
Seriously, I do think I am approaching take-off, that point where one of my novels can be pitched to an agent. And I’ll get this off my plate right now: I have zero interest in self publishing. None! I believe a novel placed in front of readers needs a large amount of care. Novels not only need a great amount of effort by the author, but also a great deal of editing, story and copy. As an avid reader, I want a quality book in my hands. I do not read trash. At least not often. And when I do, I give the book the review it deserves. I think my worst rating this year is two stars, but blame that on my prejudice against werewolves.
So when my school term ended in late June — I’ve been teaching part time at our community college — I began to stick my head back into my 2012 NaNoWriMo effort. I cannot accurately describe all the work I have done on this story, but I know it is a lot. 50,000 plus words were originally written in November 2012, and in the time since, it has grown to 115,000 words, give or take, as of July 1, 2014. *If you are an agent and are turned off by seeing NaNoWriMo, please do not be. I treat Novembers seriously. It is a convenient time to write, and the group support very helpful. We — me and a few other keeners who hope to get, err, plan to get published — are actively planning our 2014 novels now. Brainstorming mostly. I have almost nothing concrete in my notebook, and frankly, I didn’t in 2014 either. But that’s not my point. The point is I write seriously, and NaNoWriMo for me is a serious project kick-off. How many times have I heard authors say “I wrote this story quickly, in a couple of months?” And the audience says “ooh.” It’s impressive to write 50,000 words in a month if you are a published author but not if you are a hack writer? *end of rant*
I began by writing about my story. It is a complex tale with many subplots and themes interacting. I created a page for each and cross-linked them all. Funky graphs. Various colors of fountain pen ink. Stabbing, paring, dodging, and reconciling. Two weeks later I was still happy with my story but with notes. Gaps and danglings. Dead ends and stupid wtfs. No darlings though. I’m that good 😉
I am now deep into editing. I just finished off 90,369 words of 120,000. Yes, I have added 5k since July 1. And I am learning a lot about my writing. I think too much and direct the stage too much — he feels, he watches, he thinks, he looks. He edits with a heavy pen and a light heart.
I have a big stickler of an issue though. I introduce a main character late in the story and another after her. It pains me to leave them so late, but it kills the story to bring them in earlier. I think. I did manage to bring him, the second character, in much earlier, and I am real happy with the scene and placement. But I cannot bring either in sooner. Let me describe it another way that might make sense. I have two stories. I have the internal transformation — let’s call it becoming a wasp from an egg — and I have an external story, an in your face, dramatic story — the wasp saves the nest. These two characters belong more in the second story, and if look at the second, external story on its own, they are introduced early. But if you look at the lead up, the egg-to-wasp story, they play more minor roles, so they come in late. They cannot show up until the threats to the nest appear, really. I think. Anyway, that’s where it stands, at 90.4k of 120k words and less than three weeks left to my self-imposed deadline.
Then it’s beta reader time. They are lining up to read it!
I only wish the agents and publishers were lining up.
*** If you are local, I think I am going to read a short scene at Bernie’s open mic night in September at the Arts Centre. It’s a head twister 😉 ***