After two whole days without writing anything (where it felt like I had about 5 hours of spare time each day), I’m back on it! However, I’m going to take a short break from Naobi and Cheton and work on some scenes from Motiva that have been in the back of my mind for a while, which will hopefully become relevant toward the end of the story. I’m also going to wait a few days before I start posting again. Thanks!
I have re-published my first novel Lute of the Sparrow on Amazon and CreateSpace. I disabled it a while back because … well, I don’t actually remember why. Possibly because I thought it might hurt my “career” as an author (such as it is). Perhaps I thought that if I ever did submit that novel to a publisher, they might Google it, find it on Amazon, see that only four people have read it, and drop my manuscript in the trash. However the odds of me submitting that manuscript to a publisher without significant alterations is pretty slim.
In case you are wondering, no I don’t make any money from those, and no I would not recommend self-publishing unless you 1) hire someone to paint a cover for you and 2) super-dedicate yourself to obnoxious self-promotion 24/7. So don’t quit your day job. :)
Looking at my schedule, which is really a virtual schedule, in that there is nothing to physically look at, I see that October has just begun, and I’m currently a little over 15k into Airworld, and writing at what I estimate to be a slothful rate of 500 words a day. NaNoWriMo begins on November 1 and runs through November 30.
Naobi still has to have an adventure in Sarin Morn, some kind of discovery or adventure in Leavon, and, assuming nothing else happens, she still needs to deal with the Council. Which does not even consider events going on back in Motiva. Basically what I’m saying is that there is very little chance I’m going to be done with Airworld by the end of October, unless I miraculously begin writing closer to 2000 words a day.
So don’t be surprised if I have to set it aside during November. I’ll try to get to a somewhat logical stopping point, at least.
I was scheduled to finish the first draft of Tel on April 30. I think I did pretty well on that, in that I was indeed finished Monday night. Until I thought of a tiny thing I needed to add to resolve one plot line. Then on Tuesday morning I thought of one other tiny little thing I needed to add to explain what happened to one of the characters.
It made me think of that old logic puzzle (Zeno’s dichotomy paradox, I believe), which I will now adapt to the writing process: Suppose that each day a writer sits down to write, he finishes exactly half of what is left to write. How long does it take him to finish? The answer is forever! That’s pretty much what writing a novel is like. You never “finish” per se, because there is always an infinite number of things you can do to improve it. In order to move on, you have to make a conscious decision to abandon it. I imagine it’s something like having a baby, except that instead of nature performing the normal birthing process, you have to do it yourself by tearing the child from your flesh, leaving behind a massive, bloody cavity of organs, meat, and bone fragments.
Hrm. Yeah, that sounds about right.
So anyway, after I write those two tiny scenes, which I will probably do after I finish writing this post, I will be ready to abandon Tel. (Update written before posting: Those two tiny scenes are done!)
Then what? An excellent question. I am not scheduled to start my next project until June 1. I’ll have four full months to complete that one, so I expect I’m going to set an unprecedented word count goal of 150,000 for it. I used to think that my first novel submission needed to be 90k-100k, but even a 150k book is pretty short in the fantasy field. If I spend a few weeks planning, then the rest of the time writing, I should be able to meet that easily. Assuming there is enough story to fill 150,000 words, which is always a challenge.
In the intervening month of May I could do a number of things. 1) I could do nothing, which would obviously be the easiest thing, but not writing after months of writing would leave a hole in my life akin to the death of a loved one, which would leave me pretty depressed and likely to spend most of my off time playing uselessly unproductive MMOs, and then when June rolls around I won’t feel like writing and I’ll be out of practice to boot. So I’m not sure I like that path.
I could 2) continue working on the Tel draft because of the aforementioned infinite number of things I can do to improve it. However, that doesn’t seem like a productive thing to do either. It feels like this draft is at the point where it needs to be set aside to “simmer” so I can come back to it later. If I had alpha readers, this would be the point where I would send them some chapters to get some feedback.
Or I could 3) do some revisions on a previous draft. This is probably what I’m going to do. I’ll pull out Kubak Outpost, import it into Scrivener, and start revising it to fix all of the known problems in it. I was quite fond of that story but I know it has too many problems to submit it anywhere. If I spend a month correcting those problems (mainly rearranging the order of things, as I recall), I could possibly start sending out query letters for it in June, so I can start building my collection of rejection letters!
Okay, here’s the sitch. I have finished what could loosely be defined as a “first draft” of The Sovereign of Tel. (Although, technically, it is the third draft of the March project. It’s hard to define these things. The first revision might not count since it was a totally different story and world.)
Now I face the same dilemma I had after I finished a draft of Kubak Outpost. I’ve imported everything into Scrivener for Windows, which, sadly, is the best thing out there for novel management on Windows, as far as I can tell. So now I can look at the draft from a very high level for the first time. (I used WriteMonkey during the actual writing.)
Wow, it needs work. I can clearly see that I wasn’t really into it through the entire first half of the draft. Almost all of it would need to be redone before I would feel comfortable with it. Also, the focus of the novel changed over time. Also, some sub-plots were started but I could never work them back in later. Also, it doesn’t really have a beginning.
So here’s my question. (If any of the Writing Excuses folk happen to see this, it would be an awesome topic for a podcast.) I’ve written this draft, but I know it needs work. Should I a) shelve it and go to my next project, and try not to repeat the same mistakes, or b) take some time to fix it up now while it’s still fresh in my mind?