Saturday, August 21, 2010

On Finishing Novels And Starting A New One


So what does one do after finishing a 95k novel in 5 months and 15 days?  I have no idea and to be quite honest, I’m itching to get started on the new UF (used to be YA but I’ve changed my mind) I’ve been planning for a while. 

Okay, planning isn’t quite the right word.  I’ve been mulling it over.  I have my main character in place as well as the premise/hook and back story.  I’ve even got the first scene all written out in my head and it usually just flows from there.  But I’m putting it on hold for a week or so to deal with other stuff like sleep and lots of reading and a little more sleep.

Bear with me while I do a quick, hopefully short, recap of what it took to get to the end of Loss of Ignorance and what I’ve got planned.
                                                                                                                                
I decided to keep track of this one and how it progressed from start to finish.  I posted regular updates on my LiveJournal from the time I started and stopped when I reached 40 700.  I think it was about that time that I switched over to posting here.  It’s just easier to manage and I love all the stuff I can add to my sidebars.  But I digressed.  Updates included just the word count and how I felt about the WIP at the time I posted it.  Most of the time it was positive. 

The emotions I went through while writing it was a mixture of excitement, joy, love, I’m-happy-with-it-so-far, I’m-liking-it-more-and-more and I’m-loving-it.  There were also lots of Oh-my-word-this-sucks, I-totally-hate-this and does-this-even-make-sense going around but I guess we all deal with those.
Then I made the biggest mistake ever.  I decided to write word count goals for each day on my wall calendar.  Like I said, big mistake.  For three straight weeks I couldn’t write a single word.  I tried but it just didn’t work.  Maybe seeing the daily targets put me off or maybe I was just trying to write too much.  I think it was a combination of both.  After the three-week slump things started picking up, though very slowly.  One good thing came from that slump.  I wrote a short story that wasn’t that bad(or I liked it and BFF said it wasn’t that bad but she’s biased).  It kind of makes up for the slump and at least I have something to show for it.

At the end of the day I'm completely happy with how the novel turned out and when I typed that last sentence, I knew this was were I should stop.

Truthfully I’ll say that I wrote a good half of Loss of Ignorance at work.  I love my job.  Not only do I get to spend my days doing something that I like, I get to do it with people that I enjoy spending time with and most of them laugh at the stupid jokes and comments I make.  Something else I really appreciate, especially from the other two sharing the very small office, is that they don’t question what I’m doing when I’ve got a word document open in front of me.  When they do, I’ll say just some stuff and they’ll accept it.  So between proofreading adverts I plan, plot and write.  Even if I manage to get out 500 words, that’s enough for me.  If not, I’ll just put in some extra effort when I get home.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed writing Loss of Ignorance(LOI) so much more than Say It With Feeling(SIWF) which made me realize that YA might not be the right genre for me.  This thought was enforced when I started writing chapter summaries for SIWF.  As I started reading it from the beginning, I got more and more dismayed at how terrible it was.  And when I say terrible, I mean it.  This would have depressed me if I didn’t have LOI finished.  I only got to about three chapters before I threw up my hands and internally shouted ‘I can’t take any more of this torture.’   Now I’m taking the complete and utter, personal, failure of SIWF as a learning experience.  This in turn pushes me in a different direction and it’s a direction that I’ll embrace.  Maybe I knew that YA wasn’t for me but I had to give it a go.  I think it was one of those situations when you refuse to accept something until you are proven wrong.  And that is exactly what happened.  I proved myself wrong.  So now I can get down to business.

Tonight will consist of a lot of research. A lot!  I added another character, she’ll be important I think, to my ensemble earlier today but I still need my major players.  The best way for me to do this is to go name hunting.

Names are important to me.  My MC doesn’t have one yet though I have her back story and characteristics all sorted out.  When I go name hunting, I do it everywhere.  Websites, movie credits, magazines, books.  You get the idea.  Names are important to me because, and most importantly, when I find the right one, that character’s story just falls into place.  Back story, where they come from, where they are heading and where they fit into the whole story.  With LOI it also provided me with the main plot and the motivation behind it.  This is one of the things I don’t take lightly.  I’ve been dragging the new notebook around with me for about a week but I haven’t written a thing in it because I need the names before I can do anything.  I’ll definitely rectify that tonight because I need to get my first scene out of my head before I forget anything.

After the names are taken care of I need to dig into research for the Fantasy part of the Urban Fantasy.  This is the fun part and I’m really looking forward to what will come from it.  I’m not 100% set on where this novel will be going so I’m open to any inspiration attacking me.  In fact, I welcome it.  Maybe I should go do that now.  I’ve worked myself into a proper fit or excitement.  I think the wine I’m having while watching the South Africa vs New Zealand rugby game is helping.

With that I leave you.  Happy writing!

J

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