I spent the past weekend starting the first draft of a new* novel, using the rules of the 3-Day Novel challenge. The last time I tried 3-Day Novel I only got 20,000 words done, and a story that was completed but not at all usable except to cannibalize aspects of it into other projects. This time I got 24,000 words down, with legible sentences and paragraphs and chapter headings, etc. It’s an organized 24,000. I was actually editing a teensy bit as I went along and I had a separate file open to keep track of names and places and other details for continuity. I’m not including that other file in my word count.
My goal for the weekend was to surpass 20,000 words but my goal for the entire novel is 85,000. I’m just past the quarter mark of the word count and I’m conveniently also just past the quarter mark of my loosely-planned plot. I’m enjoying the characters. They are taking the story in directions I didn’t know they would go.** These directions feel pretty good.
Last time, I felt completely burnt out afterwards for days. Keeping that experience in mind, I planned to work on other things this week. Surprisingly, I feel energized. Last night I actually considered setting my other plans aside and devoting the rest of the week to completing the novel at the same pace. Locking myself in the office and guzzling down whole pitchers of tea for days on end, however, with walking to the bathroom as the only exercise, is probably not the best thing for the human body. So, I’m sticking to the schedule.
What I don’t have right now is a title. UNTITLED Y.A. doesn’t quite cut it. I’ll think of something.
To be continued…
*actually based on an idea that I tried to turn into a novel a few years ago and had to abandon, but all of the characters and much of the setting have changed.
** characters hijacking the plot is something a lot of writers talk about as some higher ideal (as if understanding their desires and fears isn’t enough) but from what I’ve seen, it can lead to self-indulgence bordering on wankery. I hope like hell that’s not what’s happening here. Only time and beta readers will tell.
I’m putting my pilot teleplay on hold in order to rework the outline and figure out whether the character I killed should be saved. Part of me feels that if readers protest a character’s death (which is true in this case) then it means the death is dramatically effective. If it is dramatically effective, then the audience can sympathize more easily with how the protagonist reacts. That said, I don’t want to piss off the audience into changing the channel. A conundrum.
Today I start work on a contest entry. The winner gets a contract to write a novel set in their fictional universe. This is not selling out. This is getting permission to play on the cool slide in a classic playground.
I also just joined the Writers Guild of Alberta. Looking forward to their next event.