Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo is afoot

As a writer you'd of thought I would have participated in NaNoWriMo. You'd be mistaken.

I've never participated in the National November Writing Month marathon because I felt like it was more or less for writers without the discipline to force themselves to sit in the chair and perform a brain dump of that story rattling around in their head.

It wasn't until my friend, and fellow writer, mentioned that he was thinking of participating that I seriously considered whether I would participate too. I mean, it's been several years since I set foot on the path of the writer and I've learned a hell of a lot along the way (and still have So much to learn). I've weathered several years of NaNoWriMo without succumbing to the peer pressure of feeling that I should participate. However, all of that's about to change.

I know my last post said that my foreseeable writing life would be mainly editing, but this is a temptation I guess I can't pass up. When my friend and I discussed it, my mind immediately shifted into overdrive trying to come up with a good story. I came up with something. Something that I'm still trying to flesh out in various text files to use as road maps when I begin writing.

I don't want to give away too much, but I'll say this...I've been toying with the idea of beginning a series centered around a private dick. What can I say, I dream of being the next Raymond Chandler! So, there's P.I. at its center. Second, drawing on my horror background, I knew I wanted something that tapped into the reader's fear. Well, I think it's safe to say that clowns fill the bill in that majority without crossing over into the supernatural.

That's all I want to say for now, in order not to give away too much. So, if you like crime fiction and want the added scare of the antagonist being a clown (read and you'll see how this all fits together).

[long undocumented break]

Okay, I realized (after a long interjection and unrelated subject matter from my wife) that that is all I have to say on this subject...except with sporadic updates during the month on my progress, so stay tuned!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Editing is my life...

at least, for the next couple of months probably.

Currently, I have two novels and one long (long for me anyway) short story to edit into shape so that I can start shopping them around to publishers.

As I said before, I was ready to reread my short story, FETCH, to see if it turned out remotely how I envisioned it and whether it was any good. I've managed a read-through-slash-edit and I think it turned out just fine, how I saw it anyway. Whether it's good is still up for debate since readers' tastes are so subjective. I've given one copy out to a colleague at work to gauge his response and hear his feedback. Normally, my wife is always my first reader, but with school in session, I decided not to add my story to the stack of papers she has to read from students. If she knew this, I like to think she would appreciate it.

As far as the novels are concerned, I might shelve the first as it's a southern gothic set in the early 50s and I don't think there's much of a market for southern gothic anymore. I loved writing the story and I think it's really good (of course, a read through will determine if that opinion is still valid), but I'd hate to spend months editing it, whipping it into shape, only to find that I can't sell it. The second book, on the other hand, is a crime drama (still trying to find a catchy title, other than DOUBLE DEALING) that I am extremely excited about. It's in the vein of Block's Keller-series books. Mine is about a college student blackmailed into contract killing for the mafia.

If the execution went well then I think my readers will enjoy it. While it's hard to have your readers root for a killer, I think in this case it might work as we get to see how the protagonist deals with his dilemma by satisfying the mafia while trying get himself out of the situation.

So, with two books and a long short story waiting for my editorial pen, I won't be doing much new creation for a while. Well, maybe. I think I'm addicted to the creative process and probably won't be able to stop myself from taking a break to pen another short story or two. Time will tell. Until then, let's keep our fingers crossed because the editorial process is where the writer gets to stand back and look at what he/she has created. It's a chance to see if all those days of filling the blank pages has amounted to anything worthwhile. It's also (for me and probably a lot of other writers) a fragile time when doubt runs rampant.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What the???

I know, I know. Two posts in one day? What the hell am I thinking, huh?

Just wanted to say that the first draft of my short story (mentioned in the previous post) is complete. It's tentatively titled FETCH. It's the longest short story I've ever written. Hopefully it's entertaining. I think so, but I'll have to wait until I go back to read it over to see if that's the case. Stay tuned.

Wrapping things up...

I've completed the website redesign and have moved closer to finishing the first draft of a new short story (which I should finish after this blog post). I've gotten to a point where I can see light at the end of the tunnel with my second novel's first draft. There are some notes I made while writing it where I noticed that I broke the story's continuity and discovered a change in the beginning that would be more compelling to the story overall.

I've set the novel writing aside in order to write the short story, but I plan to resume the novel writing tomorrow or Friday. I'm excited about the story's potential, but I know I face and arduous editing process. For those of you who keep up with word counts and page numbers, I'm currently at 56 thousand words and 249 pages. Keep in mind I'm still working on it. While the word count is very low for what I usually write, it should go up when I go back and add the pieces from my notes. Also, I didn't go into much character or scene description during this first pass as I just wanted to get the story from my head to the page. I'll flesh out the descriptive stuff during the editing process, after I have a chance to see the forest for the trees. That's the part I love the best: re-reading my work to see what the story "feels" like from a distance.

Also, if that page number sounds high for such a low word count, know that I write all my stories using the standard manuscript format, even first drafts. So, I have double-spaced lines and I use Courier New font with one inch margins.

So, there you have it, where I'm currently at with my work. A second novel's first draft nearly finished, a first novel's initial draft waiting for editing, and a short story that will soon enter the edit process, too. In my future is much editing, a process I don't like, but necessary nonetheless.

I'll probably break up the monotony of so much editing with writing some more short stories--there's always a supply of short story ideas waiting in the wings that want to be written. The good thing is that their creative process is much shorter than a novel's, so that's appealing. I'm already putting together a list of markets where I want to submit the short story.

Stay tuned to find out how things work out. So far, I've got one story published in a commercial magazine. Let's see if I can carve more notches in my keyboard.