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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Year of the Novel

I'm just going to stop starting these updates with some form of an apology. At this point I don't think anyone really expects more than sporadic "pop-ins" from me here at DECW. I've been working my booty off on the novel and it is going swimmingly. Thus so little time for blogging.

I am now fully engaged in Operation-Separate-all-the-Characters-and-Write-Their-Parts-Individually, and I've already finished one of the main character's section, totalling about 60K words from start to finish. His storyline dovetails with four others so by finishing him I've more or less created a good skeleton for the remainder of the book, since all action save the epilogue needs to happen before his "cathartic moment." This is huge progress for me and I'm proud of the work I've done already. So, cheers.

One thing that keeps coming up, though, is that I keep realizing there are major (but easily fixable) discrepancies in the text. I guess this is bound to happen when you are working on something this big for this long, you're going to forget you wrote things about a character and now have to find a way to either reincorporate it, or go back and write it out of the earlier section. Exempla gratia, I had one character break his leg, but then forgot that I'd done that, so in a later section he walks out of the hospital a few days later miraculously healed. I mean, c'mon, there's Deus ex Machina and then there's just insanity. It works better if he just doesn't break the leg since he has to do all sorts of heroics by the end of the book, so that will be getting the axe in the second draft.

I think the reason I've been working so frantically is that I've just sunk $200 into an individual pitch session and critique with two agents who seem like they could be good fits for this novel. The pitch and critique are for the Atlanta Writers Club Semi-Annual Conference, and it ain't til November but I don't have any time to waste. I know I won't have this thing done by then but they only want the first 20 pages and I will have at least 75% done by then. My calculation is that, because I know how everything is gonna work out in the book, if they like my writing style and are interested in the story idea, they will understand if I need a second to finalize a draft. Maybe I'm being a bit presumptuous, but I figure it's no more presumptuous than thinking my novel is gonna somehow stand out in the nine billion pitches they're gonna hear that day. I mean, we're talking 1 in a million type chances anyway, so I think not having the book done will be the least of my worries. All I'm really looking for is some validation that the idea is solid and the writing is "there." If I can get those things, then I can always send them the finished manuscript when I get it done. Also, AWC is doing another these things in May, and I should most definitely have the for reals manuscript done by then. So, I guess I can think of the November conference as a dress rehearsal.

So, there it is folks, the shrill neuroses of a novelist. Enjoy.