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Monday, June 13, 2011

Year of the Novel: The Great Disappearo!

Yup, I know, I know. I'm well aware that I now have the uncomfortable habit of disappearing off the face of the planet and then reappearing in a fit of blog posts weeks later. The reason for this is simple: I can't blog at work. That means I have to blog at home, but the problem is that I can't actually justify spending good writing time blogging when I'm 60% done with a novel that I've spent over a year on already. So, I guess what I'm saying is, get used to the new normal, people.

On the novel front, I am now officially working on the longest piece of continuous fiction I've ever written in my life. Last I checked it's around 112K words or something like that. I am very proud of myself for continuing my writing routine as best I could even after starting the new job, but lately I've encountered a fearsome and unexpected beast: I'm a little burnt out. I think I worked so hard during my 8-day hiatus that now that I'm back into a normal routine of working 9+ hours and writing when I find time, I'm finding it difficult to muster the energy to do so. But it's more troubling than that, really. Because it's not that I don't know where to go with the story, it's that I don't actually feel much like writing. That's the sort of writer's block they don't talk about. It's a little frightening, actually.

If there's one thing life has taught me, though, it's that everything is temporary. I know I will once again feel excited about this story and these characters*. This is probably a function of going 100 mph for a brief period of time and then abruptly slowing down again.

Another thing I've encountered is that the different story lines are finally starting to intertwine and I'm realizing that not everything lines up perfectly. The main storyline is going in a direction that not only doesn't work for the timeline of the other characters, but is also straying too far away from my original idea for these main characters. This means that about 1/3 of what I've written for Part Two is going to have to be rewritten. This was at first heart-palpitating, but then I realized what I think might be an interesting way to keep the momentum going on the novel and also fix the timeline issues.

To give you a little back story, basically this novel is the story of about five people whose lives slowly grow more and more entangled in new and (hopefully) interesting ways. It was easy to keep them straight when they weren't hanging out with one another, but now two of the five are in a training camp together and the other three are hanging out back on Earth where are sorts of crazy shit is going down. What I was doing was writing each chapter in order, skipping from character to character and just spewing the novel onto the page, but, as I mentioned earlier, that was getting confusing and also the characters in the training camp were moving at too slow a pace for the other three.

So, what I've decided is that I will just write each character out like a smaller novella, and then assemble the chapters after the fact based on overall chapter theme and timeline. That way, the three Earth-bound characters (whose story-arcs I understand more fully than the other two anyway) can help create the structure of the rest of the novel. I feel like if I can get to the end of this thing with one of two of these characters then it will be easier to coax the other ones to the finish line. Am I right, or am I right?

I've started with the drunk, Chuck. He's emerging as a sort of moral center to the whole piece. I love him. I hope things work out for him in the end.

*In fact, to be fair, I am only writing this blog post right now because I've just had a good 1500 word writing blitz on the novel and feel like I can justify this bon bon because things are feeling back on track. I think I just need to relax a little and not feel like every single second of free time needs to be devoted to the novel. Sometimes these things just need to breathe a little.