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Archive for January 25th, 2010

Success…in 109,360 words.

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I have written a novel. 

About six months ago, a friend of the family and I were talking, and he asked me what I would do with my life if money and time were not a problem.  I’d be writing novels, I said. 

This friend of the family has a couple of connections–not the kind that guarantee a book contract some day, but the kind that can look at my work, and give me the kind of help I need to attract one. 

After we had this conversation, I decided I finally needed to take this thing seriously.  I had a bunch of ideas floating around in my head, three of which I thought would make pretty good stories.  One of them was a holy-cow-never-gonna-write-it-till-I-got-a-few-under-me idea. 

I ran the ideas I had past some people; all of them said to go for the one I didn’t want to touch.  Who can argue with that, right?  Besides, I’ve been writing freelance regularly for a couple of years now; my discipline was better, but I had doubts about my stamina. 

So I looked into some books about how others authors wrote their novels.  Most of them mentioned outlining, a practice I had felt discouraged about because, as any serious writer knows, you’re supposed to let the plot and characters unfold and develop naturally.  You put your characters together in a setting, hit puree, and see what happens. 

I’ve tried that approach before.  Nothing ever happened. 

So I started an outline last October.  By the end of the month, I had laid out the bones of the story.  Since then, I’ve worked nearly every day to give it flesh and clothes.  I set my pace at 1,000 words a day, and just kept at it till it was done. 

First draft clocks in at 378 pages, double spaced.  I finished it last Friday. 

Now it will go in a drawer for a month.  I need some distance because, as it sits, this draft is pretty crappy.  Good writing is rewriting.  I need some distance so I can come back at it, kill about 10,000 words, and hope there’s a story there that’s really worth telling.


Written by taj

January 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Posted in General