Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Breaking the Rules

Man, talk about a dry spell! :-( Since that massively productive 10K-3Day fever I had wayyy earlier this month, I haven't exactly managed to repeat the feat, but that's okay. I'm a firm believer in not forcing the writing - well, at least, that is, until I've got a deadline to meet. Until then, I'm taking my time on this and writing as and when my brain lets me. :-)

I finished Chapter 12 earlier (not Chapter 13 like I said on twitter, dumbass-moment there) and I'm really happy. It's a short chapter (not the shortest, but not as long as some of the others, either) and it's a very important chapter. Monumentally so, in fact. You see, this is where I start breaking the rules.

Now, you could describe me (those who know me, at least) as the kind of reader who likes it when things happen a bit differently than they're supposed to. I like being surprised, challenged. And we live in an era in publishing where the same old shit just doesn't work any more - you write a book about a farm boy discovering he's actually the king's bastard son and he can do magic and wield a sword without any actual training and see how far you get. ;-)

So, what have I done to break the rules? Well, I'm not going to spoil it for you now (I want you to one day actually read this novel, you see), but suffice it to say that I'm taking a MASSIVE chance that might just see me become the laughing stock off SFF writers everywhere, but in my defence, I'm not taking the chance just because it's there - this risks I'm taking are a part of the plot, and integral to the series as a whole. I think it could be pretty awesome (provided I don't run away into an asylum with them) and I hope I can pull it off well enough that my readers will one day agree. :-) There are only 3 people who actually know what I'm doing in the Epic Fantasy novel, and for the time being, that's how it's gonna stay.

But I am taking a risk - no doubt about it. :-)

Current novel wordcount: 53410
Wordcount for the evening: 907

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So, I managed to get a doctor's appointment today and found out that I have laryngitis; I've got a dry, painful cough, my throat and ears are red inside (well, at least they're not purple... or black) and I get repetitive waves of fever and chills. It turns out, though, that coughing so hard the windows rattle in their frames and self-confining myself in bed turned out to be a good thing - I've written 8179 words since Tuesday.


Seriously, I haven't had such productive writing days since April - I managed 15000+ words in about 8 days, and yes, it was exhilarating and feverish. When we got back from our holiday, I struggled to hit 20K (that took about 2 months)and then I did and felt a bit more confident and hit 30K, wobbled along and finally hit 40K. Tuesday past I was on 41K and now I'm sticking my tongue out at 50K (almost half-way!) and I keep on wondering, "Why? What made this week different to any other week?"

By all rights I shouldn't be able to lift myself out of bed, never mind keep my hands hovering above a keyboard.

And I think it has something to do with finally realizing, truly and deeply realizing, that I'm actually writing a novel. Sure, I've been saying this for about 7 years, but it never felt real then; in those 7 years I wrote approximately 115000 words, but the thing is, I didn't *finish* anything. Oh, I started plenty - drips and draps here and there on manuscripts that ranged from Portal fantasy to Star Wars EU to Highlander and Tomb Raider stories to Urban Fantasy to the various seeds that led to the novel I'm writing now. But yep, I never finished anything.

And there's something about trying and trying and trying that keeps you going, keeps you motivated and thinking and experimenting, but it's also a helluva punch to the gut - especially after realizing that I had written enough words to fill a novel but hadn't actually written even a novella. That really brought me low. And then that get's me thinking about published authors saying, "The best piece of advice I can give writers out there is to write." and me thinking, 'Sure, man, saying that with at least 3 novels behind you is easy - you've found the zone, you've found the flow.'

Now I hear those words differently. You see, it's been a long journey for me - I was an editor first and a writer later; I would write a scene or a page and then spend a week making it perfect before moving on. 115000 words indeed. And kicking that editing-habit is a serious challenge, but people, fuckin' KICK it, because it's the only way to write.

I have no doubt at all that there are many portions of this MS that I'll be tossing into the garbage - in fact, I could name them for you now, but that would be spoiling the novel- and I'm looking forward to editing and rewriting, but right now, the actual *writing* is awesome. I've finished a section of the MS that sets up quite a bit for the rest of the novel (and even the other books in this series that I want to write, someday) and now I've entered a new section, where all the interesting, creepy and exhilarating stuff is happening. I'm even breaking rules, which is terrifying, but cool, and only time will tell if my choices will end up paying off, but right now I'm so damn impressed with myself and so damn proud of my characters that I'm on a high, even though I'm confined to bed. :-)

Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely be hitting many more patches of struggle and frustration, but I've also realized that it comes with the territory - if it didn't, well, writing would be easy, wouldn't it? And it's not meant to be. Never easy.

So I say bring on the struggle and frustration - I'm writing a novel, dammit, and I love the fact that it's not easy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One of those strange writing-days...

I'm sick as a dog. I literally sound like a dog barking, that's how bad my cough is. My girlfriend says I'm running quite a fever and as soon as I get out of bed to go and have a cigarette (I've spent the whole day in bed) I freeze my ass off even though I'm wearing Winter-jammies and slippers and stuff. I may not even go to work tomorrow, either, and as far as I remember, this is the first time I've been sick since I started working at the bookshop in April last year.

So (and I ask this with tears of gratitude in my eyes), how the hell is it possible that I've had the best damn writing-day I've had in a while?

Seriously, I've finished Chapter 9, have completed the first scene of Chapter 10, and my total word-count is now sitting at 45541 words. Guess how many words I wrote today?

3963 words.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining; far from it! I'm ecstatic, actually. I just don't understand it. :-)

I guess I've come to realize one very important thing about writing:

No matter how you feel or what's happening on a particular day, you can still kick ass.

Now I'm going to try and backtrack and think about what I ate, drank, how I walked, etc... ;-)