So the first week of Nanowrimo has come to an end. There was… I want to say a bit of a hang up I guess, right at the start. In fact after the first three days I had a whole seven hundred words written. And by the end of Monday I was more than four thousand words behind. And I’ll admit I almost performed the virtual equivalent of flipping a table, raising my arms into the air and flipping off the laptop. But I ground it out. Kept writing… and closed the gap. I’m still behind a bit but if I keep up the same pace I’ll probably be caught up by the end of the day. Continue reading
And here we are. Again. Sitting at zero words written with thirty days to go. Fifty thousands words looking like an unreachable mountain peak way off in the distance. And here I am just sitting at the bottom with only the faintest ideas of where the story begins and where it will end. Fun times are ahead. Continue reading
The perpetually incomplete novel, which had been stuck near the end of chapter four since November, has finally moved on. To chapter five. A mere stepping stone on its rise to completion but a necessary one. And I must say it feels good to actually see some progress with it. Continue reading
It’s been a bit of a struggle getting back into the writing mind-set, especially coming off five or so months of editing. It’s even harder to stop myself from going back through the previously written chapters and editing them to the nines. I keep catching myself scrolling back to the previous chapters and frowning and furrowing my brow and making corrections. To be brutally honest it is an aggravating annoyance. Continue reading
Seven months. Three revisions. 72000 words. And the novel is finished. Unless I receive a request to change something Seeking Perfection is now complete as far as I’m concerned. It has been quite the experience… spending this much time editing and reviewing and thinking and revising. I know that my short stories should have received this much review but laziness won out back then. Not so much this time. For all intents and purposes this was the longest I’ve ever spent focused on one single piece of writing and actually having something to show for it.
Where to go now… I have no idea. I want it published. I know it’s good enough to be published. The how part of getting it published is a bit of a mystery though. I’ve reached out to some literary agencies here in Canada and don’t expect to hear anything back for two months, if at all. I did learn the very depressing fact that Canada has very few literary agencies. And very few that will take science fiction, or more specifically the Cyberpunk Noir that is the novel. I suppose I’ll wait and see for now. If none of the agencies wish to review the completed manuscript I suppose I’ll try expanding into agents in the States. And if that doesn’t work I’ll try the publishers directly. Maybe. Although if anyone knows of an agent looking science fiction detective stories let me know.
I took the opportunity, today, to review that very first version of Chapter one. The one I posted all the way back in November. Ha… so many corrections were made between then and now that it’s staggering. Mostly minor things, spelling and punctuation and what not. But it’s just one of those things where you look back on what you wrote and have a momentary cringe. It is, I suppose, a nice reminder of where you were and where you ended up. I feel that, as a writer, I grew over the course of the month and a half that I wrote the novel. And grew ever more over the five and a half months that I spent editing it.
So what now? What am I going to do while I try to convince someone to publish what I’ve written? It’s back to work, so to speak. I’ve put off my supernatural themed novel for seven months now. And it’s time to put what I’ve learned over the course of writing Seeking Perfection to actually finish it.
I already know I’m going to have to heavily edit the completed first five chapters. But I’m actually confident that I can finish it by the end of the year. I can see it ending up around 100K to 110K words. Though probably a little less than that. But. Only one way to find out.
The editing process has continued down the seemingly never-ending track of corrections. Although I can see, off in the distance, the finish line. I quickly tackled the third revision which was entirely centered around grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. And there were a lot of them. Oh yes. A. Lot.
But this fourth revision is mostly centered around tightening things up a bit more and making sure the continuity doesn’t contradict itself. I know of a bit of timing that I changed in the third revision, under a sleep deprived brain, that is terribly inaccurate. I also know, from various feedbacks I’ve received, that I need to explain a few things a bit better. But overall I think the novel will be done after this revision. I’ll be looking into how it needs to be formatted to receive my 5 free copies from winning at the NanoWriMo but that’s relatively minor.
From there I’m not sure where to really go. I’ll need to actually put some effort into looking for resources on how to get it published. I’ll be going the agent route I think. Self publishing is all well and good but I’d like more than a dozen or so people to read it before it gets smothered under the deluge of other self published titles.
It’s going to be a bit strange, I think, going from the editing process back into full-fledged writing. I think I’ll be returning to the novel I’ve spent the better part of decade thinking about and revising in my head. It has been cooking for a good long while. Finishing a novel, from start to finish, in a month and a half has actually giving me a bit of a burst in confidence. That now that I’ve done it once I know I can do it again.
While I’m writing about monsters and fate and death, all subjects I have a vast interest in apparently, I’ll be thinking about a sequel to the nearly finished novel. I’ve already got a bit of an idea for where it would go and it would continue the protagonist’s streak of terrible luck and terrible weeks. Much more so than this time. I like the setting, characters, and themes enough to see merit going back for a second time. I also like the style; there is something about a cyberpunk noir that just hits the right points in my brain’s pleasure center. Though it does need time to flesh itself out a bit. But I do know any sequel would need to have more of a focus on the augmentations and the actual sleuthing side of things.
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.