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Where I’m at

It’s been a few days since I posted, and while I don’t feel like I have been making much progress on paper, in my head I have been tackling some of the bigger issues.

Like fear.

I’ll openly confess that right now I’m feeling rather afraid of the whole ‘novel writing’ thing. I’ve been working on rewriting/polishing/editing several short stories recently and the amount of time that goes in just to get a few thousand words looking their best? It’s certainly enough to make anyone with limited time back off from the idea of writing and editing a whole novel.

The writing part isn’t so hard, it’s the other work that takes a long time.

I have been writing on a novel, but it’s not my primary focus, and I’m not thinking about it too much. I figured that if I think  of it only a chapter at a time, it’s almost like I’m writing a series of short stories and not a novel at all. Yup, that’s me. All about tricking my own brain.

Ultimately, it’s not the best way to tackle fear. I know that. All the not thinking and avoiding I am doing isn’t going to make for a strong novel. I confess to having no idea where it’s going and you know what? While I want to find out, I’m not such a panster these days.

Even a year ago, you could find me bumbling through a novel, short story or novella. I didn’t need to have an inkling of how it ended, I could just dive in an enjoy. These days I want to know a little more though. These days I am well aware of where pantsing an entire novel leaves me – with the need for a complete rewrite and a lot of work ahead of me.

I simply don’t have time for that anymore.

So, I’m going to do some practice, and work my way up to a new novel.

January 2009 I wrote Mocha Nihilism. A novella of 20,000(ish) words. I’ve started reading through it, and while it needs a fair bit of work, I am really enjoying the characters. I love the MC’s take on life. She cracks me up. Here is the blurb I wrote for it awhile ago:

Christy has always felt like an outcast because she doesn’t drink coffee – she now loathes the stuff, and the people who drink it. But Christy has been given the opportunity to do something about it.

Recruited to be an inside man, girl – woman – for a secret organization it is her job to infiltrate the system of Starbucks and help find a way to bring it down from the inside.

I think it will be a fun Christmas present for some of my friends, and the perfect opportunity to work through a revise/edit/polish of something longer, but not as long as a novel. Funnily enough, it’s not speculative fiction at all – but it IS fun, and I need some of that.

At the moment I’m reading through a couple of times, taking notes and outlining the story I have, and the story I want it to be. I am hoping that this helps me grow a bit in my planning skills so that the next time I write a novel I’ll be better prepared.

Because, I think my next novel will be Delaney. And I don’t want to stuff her up.

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5 thoughts on “Where I’m at”

  1. You definitely want to be prepared for Delaney. 🙂

    I’m having the same fear with novels. I’ve started blindly writing and am pantsing it more than I ever have before. I’m hoping that all of my study of the craft will come together as I write so it won’t be a complete mess if I want to revise it. All I know right now is that it’s over 10K so it’s not a short story any more. Let’s pretend that it’s a novella.

    1. See, I don’t feel blocked, just intimidated. I know I could easily plan/plot/write a novel. It’s more about wanting to do it in a way that means the work that is needed after the fact isn’t going to take me 50 million years or so…. lol. I’m not sure if the current novel will gain that momentum, guess we might find out one day tho!

  2. There’s a tough line, feeling comfortable, adept. A novel is a commitment of sorts, especially for writers who are settled in the knowledge of how to write, their rhythm and style. A difference between 20 and 80 (or more) thousand words, and with a character like Delaney, I imagine the last thing you want is to sell her short. Right now your time is squeezed, a most precious commodity, but the yearning is there to tell this tale…

    I know what you mean by lack of time; I have a few older stories that I’d love to polish, but there isn’t a free moment with all that’s exploded as of late. And it kills me to know they are there, but there they will sit. For all you’ve said of Delaney, I don’t want her to just sit either, not in your head due to that niggling, nagging fear. Do what you need to cross that hurdle, a novel awaits… 🙂

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