Thursday, August 20, 2015

50,000 Words - An Update On My First Novel

Note: To any of my longtime readers, you've no-doubt noticed that I've been posting less frequently, and that none of the recent posts have had anything to do with my writing. I can explain. At the end of last year I decided to attempt to write more topical blog posts to draw in readers, and while that worked at first, I then realized that I was getting tired of forcing myself to update my blog with content. I thus made the conscious decision to only write when I actually had something to share, rather than trying to force myself into a two-posts-per-month schedule.

As of yesterday I've officially hit the 50,000-word milestone in my first novel, not counting the around 10,000 I deleted during early revisions when I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I've also confirmed that, when formatted to the proper manuscript style, it exceeds 200 pages - which I read somewhere is the minimum or average accepted length.

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure that my 2015 new year's resolution was to finish the first draft of my novel, and while that goal seemed unattainable for the last few months, it's finally starting to appear within view. You see, while I was initially writing my first draft as if it were a draft I expected to actually try to sell and that people would be reading, I've since realized how terribly stupid that assumption was. It's a rough draft, and the quality is allowed to reflect as such.

Rather than going back and editing for consistency in plot, details, etc. I've taken to just writing the next scene or event that I want to happen regardless if it makes sense given the prior established events or details. That means that plot threads are being dropped and developed as far as 50,000 words into the story because the more that I write, the more I start to realize what the story is actually about and what it really needs. I relate it similar to the storyboard or first script of a movie; you don't pick up a camera and shoot a film as the first step - you draft the entire film up on paper first so you can make the next version of it even better with hindsight.

I currently expect to finish the first draft of the novel by the end of this year, and then I plan on rewriting it more or less from scratch with the benefit of knowing exactly what beats I want it to hit at what times. I'm considering changing the tense, tone, and adding or removing characters and whole scenes. Nothing is sacred in the first draft.

At the same time, I'm starting the slow and steady process of preparing for my next project; currently slated to be a novel concept that I cannot get out of my head and want to spend much more time preparing for than I did for this first novel. You see, this novel had almost no planning whatsoever because I was eager to get started on it after some peers enjoyed the short story it's based on and suggested I novelize it. As fun as it has been, I want to be more prepared next time so that maybe that first draft will be a little bit more fully realized.

So there. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but that's what's going on in my world of writing.

Oh yeah, and I'm going to teach myself screenwriting because the truth is that I've seen about a hundred movies for every book I've read, so most of my storytelling influence is from cinema.