Sunday, October 24, 2010
Well, not really, but…
I'm currently sitting at about 110,000 words on my first fantasy novel and the main storyline is complete. It’s time to put it away. Two reasons for this: I need to put it away to separate creation from editing and I’ve also reached the time limit I imposed on myself earlier this year.
I already know that I need to completely remodel the opening few chapters to make the entire book make sense, I also need to spend some time fleshing out some sections in the middle, working on characters backstories and what drives them.
This will take an incredible amount of time during editing, but I knew that going into this project. While I could keep going right now, it’s best to distance myself from the work for a little while before I jump into phase two, editing.
There are a few reasons for this. First, its very important to put your manuscript off to the side and let it stew for a while. Let your mind drift from the project so that when you sit down to edit it you can see it with hopefully a semi fresh set of eyes.
Maybe those clues you were dropping in the book that helped the reader find out who the killer was are way too ambiguous, or maybe they give too much away too early in the book. While you are writing it you have blinders on and its hard to see the forest for the trees. Or maybe you don’t see the trees for the forest . Maybe you think you're telling this epic story arc, but the individual chapters are too hard to get through that people wont stick around to the end to find that out. That all gets honed and fixed in the editing phase.
The other and main reason I'm putting the book off to the side right now is that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is starting November 1st.
I know I’ve mentioned NaNoWriMo before, but I guess I haven’t really explained it fully. I’ll post more up on it this next week, but suffice it to say, check out nanowrimo.org to learn more.
I told myself that my first book had to have it’s rough draft completed by Nov 1st (actually a week or so earlier so I could take a break in between) so that I could start on my second one.
My first book was a fantasy novel, the typical story about a young man coming of age in a world that needs his help to save it. I certainly don’t consider it earth-shatteringly good prose. In fact I’m not fully convinced that this book will see the light of day without a ton of good editing first. It was a practice.
I’ve heard it said that an author finally figures out what they’re doing once they’ve written a million words. Well, I’m about a tenth of the way there. Not saying it’s crap, but Earnest Hemingway said “the first draft of anything is shit,” and I tend to agree with him.
So I’ll be putting this novel on the back burner for a while while I work on something different. This time I’ll be writing a tale set in modern day America about a grandfather. Sounds nice, but just wait till my twisted mind gets a hold of that one. Elements novel is put down, Grandpa will hopefully be completed by November 30th.