Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Writing Game

Although my last post here was a sappy, bleeding heart rendition about how it feels to write a novel, this one is a little more honest and succinct about what it means to write a work of fiction, specifically genre fiction - in my case, horror.

It's work.

It's a labour of some strange deviation of love, but it's labour all the same. My first novel took eight weeks from first chapter to publication, which is considered astonishingly fast in the industry for a first time writer. Hooray for Charlotte, it means nothing to me. Since finishing GREY DOGS & THE WILLOW, I started a new work of fiction - CRIMSON LETTERS FROM KANDAHAR PROVINCE.

GREY DOGS was shakily written over the course of much red wine while watching TV with Anna, my girlfriend of two years - let's just say it didn't require all that much effort because I had no real clue as to what I was doing. To me, I was just trying my hand at writing a novel - I'd never done anything of the sort before, and as an avid reader all my life, I thought it would be fun. I plugged away at it with no real regard to a timeline or expectations towards wordcount, as I just plain didn't know any better. I hit close to 70,000 words, which fortunately landed me right in NOVEL publication length, just past the all feared NOVELLA classification below 60,000 words but higher than 40,000. I still have no idea what the hell a NOVELLA is beyond being clearly shorter than a novel, and don't really wish to find out. Let's just say that somehow, I hit what a publisher wanted to see right on the head without meaning to with GREY DOGS & THE WILLOW. I'm extremely proud of it, but it's created some stress in my life despite the joy that has come with it's subsequent acceptance into publication by THE SEVERED PRESS (http://www.severedpress.com/)

My current work in progress has currently reached 48,647 words. It is in it's final dramatic throes of life, struggling to keep its head above the surface of the 'completed, told story' realm, and barely managing to fight the battle. I'm not drawing it out by any means, but despite my best efforts, the end of the story is coming and I don't know how much longer I can draw it out without becoming boring to the readers.

Am I stressing over a word-count goal I reached easily before knowing what a generally accepted word-count was? Hell yes.

Is it scaring me that I have to set myself goals daily to reach to feel I'm making any significant progress? Damn straight.

I guess in some cases ignorance is bliss, this is one of them.

In either case, I'm going to finish this novel before two weeks have passed, and want to have it edited within three.

Novel number two, you're mine.

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