As you can see from the above image I have managed to hit the fifty thousand word goal to be declared a winner. Huzzah and what not. It was a bit of a grueling experience at times due, in no small part, to my luck playing out like it usually does. For example a week where I messed up my back then flowing straight into being sick for a week. But, thankfully, I didn’t panic and freak out like I figured I would. I used the weekends as I expected I’d need to: catch up periods. This last weekend though was the big push which got me well ahead of schedule and let me cross the goal a few days ago.
I think that if I hadn’t had a solid concept going into the month I probably would have gotten stuck around the eighteen thousand range. For the most part the beginning and end of the novel were all that I had figured out. The middle, as has always been my weak point in writing next to dialog, had a few solid ideas to start with but was almost entirely just a logical progression through ongoing events. But, for the most part, it took on a life of its own. There were situations where I thought I might have written myself into a corner. How do I get from point A to point B while not making it a plodding narrative. How can this run be more exciting. I’m not ashamed to admit that I went with “make a huge explosion” once to spice up an escape.
I do have a few notes for future revisions of the novel. Specifically themes and certain portions of the prose. As the working title, “Perfection’s Trap”, suggests one of the biggest themes in the novel is the idea that searching for perfection is a pointless endeavour. The killer’s obsession with recreating a single perfect moment drives him to kill. The protagonist’s belief that he’s no longer whole and his refusal to accept the loss of a limb drove him to drink, lose his job, and lose his wife and child. The world’s obsession with trying to fix the problems humanity caused are blind to the fact that half the population can’t take advantage of the advances and are wallowing in poverty and corporate servitude.
Of the three themes I know I need to expand the world one. The killer goes through an arc of questioning his obsession but always rages against it despite his inability to point out what his work is missing. He just knows that the colors aren’t right. And it plays out to the logical conclusion for him. The protagonist goes through a similar arc; starting out resenting his artificial arm and drinking himself to death and works his way to the point where he wants to change and in the end accepts what has happened to him. But the world? Not as played up. You get bits and pieces here or there but it is never as in depth as the two characters.
The other is my descriptions. Part way through, around the thirteenth or fourteenth chapter, I started noticing that the descriptive prose that I like had shifted to something a bit more… generic. I know I’ll need to go back through and expand on certain sections quite a bit, tighten ramblings here or there, but the main idea is that I need to go back and make sure it feels right.
Of everything I’ve experienced this month writing a sex scene was, by and large, an awkward affair. I had a discussion with Kristine regarding this and she told me, in no small terms, that if I was to write one it needed to be good. Now my initial reaction to this was to get to the sex scene and to write “Insert Sex Scene Here” and highlight it in yellow. Give it to here after the first draft is finished and just see her reaction. I didn’t do that, mostly because I wanted to up my word count for the day. A few days later I was talking with my sister and brother-in-law and he brought up how long can a sex scene in a book realistically be? Turns out, at least for mine, around sixteen hundred words. So about four and a half pages in a paper back. And there is no way in hell that is going to get longer than that.
One of the early ideas I had was to have a specific rhythm to the chapters. Specifically one chapter for the antagonist followed by two for the protagonist. This worked well until about chapter twelve. The story hit a spot where, for all intents and purposes, I needed to tell more of the protagonist’s story to set up the next installment of the killer’s. I went back and forth for a few days, until working out a different way to structure the story, cut chapter ten and moved it to a later point, wrote a different chapter ten and voila. Problem solved. For the most part. I’ll need to wait and see how it works when I actually finish it and go through with a first reading of the draft.
Currently I have three and a half chapters left to go. With luck I’ll get the majority of that completed tomorrow and Sunday. The story has reached a point where the action is rapidly rising, the climax is on the horizon, and the denouement will provide some… catharsis, I think, for the protagonist. I’m expecting it to finish around sixty to sixty-five thousand words. With the goal of future revisions to up that to around seventy-five depending on what can be expanded and what can be cut.