novel writing tiredness &c.

Posted: August 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

For the last year or so, I haven’t done any writing that hasn’t been part of two categories:

1. short stories, and

2. lame bullshit that I put on my blog.

This means that the longest thing I’ve finished in the last year or so has been “Cassandra”, which is 16,867 words in length. That’s not a bad length, mind you: it’s a perfectly good length for a fairly long novella, which is what “Cassandra” happens to be. But currently, The Lotus Imperiate (my current project) is twice the length of “Cassandra”, and will easily make it to six times the length before I’m done with it.

Which makes sense too. 125,000 words (which is my target length) is a good length for a first fantasy novel. That’s about 350 pages of paperback novel.

What makes The Lotus Imperiate different from “Cassandra”, though, is the fact that I’m experiencing a lot of stress and tiredness with tLI.

I guess it makes sense. Short stories are a lot like sprints: best gotten over with as fast as possible. Writing a novel, though, feels more like I’m running a marathon. Pacing is hugely important– both in the actual story and the writing process. When I started out writing tLI, I wanted to hit 2,000 words a day, making it 10,000 words a week (I typically take weekends off from strenuous thinkings). Now I’m typically only hitting 1,000 words a day. It’s not bad, not by a long shot. But it means that in the month and a half I’ve been working on tLI, I’ve made far less than I’d hoped. I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish the book by summer’s end. Now I’m definitely not going to.

Part of my tiredness in writing this story, though, is the fact that it’s structured like a heist story. You get the idea: there are a couple of people who want to steal a MacGuffin, they assemble a team, the team encounters Difficulties®, the thing is stolen, et cetera et cetera. It’s a heist story in a fantasy world, true, and the people they’re trying to steal the MacGuffin from are gods living in a flying city. But the basic plot structure remains the same.

I’m still in the team-assembly part. I could have made it go faster, of course, but I wanted to build up the characters and their backstories/motivations before I got the team assembled. I’m still in that part at the moment, which is part of the reason that I’m bored with it. But I’ll be out of it soon. I hope. And that’s when all the action gets started: the sneaking, and the fighting, and the hiding, and the chases, building up to a Big Thing happening and then another Big Thing, where the book will end. (I’m not about to give out spoilers to my unfinished first draft of a novel, even if the only person who’s ever read it is me.) And that’s the stuff I want to get to. I’m tired of setting up the pieces. I want to get to the actual game.

Where was this post going? I don’t really know. Writing The Lotus Imperiate isn’t turning out to be the zippy fun ride that “Cassandra” was, though. And I guess I just needed to share my thoughts on the whole business. Yes, yes– this is a somewhat whiny rant. Tough. It’s my blog. I’ll say what I want.

What was I saying again?

Oh yeah.


Carry on,

~ Ian


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