So I’ve just completed a novel called The Legend of Darkness and Light. It’s not like the others in that — frankly — this was a mental writing vacation for me. This story is a raucous, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred, cliché-ridden, adrenaline-pumping, goof-fest.
Think Indiana Jones meets Uncharted. A treasure hunting adventure, with all the right trappings.
And I had an absolute blast writing it ! It’s hard to explain why, but it made me feel like a kid again, and it was just plain damn fun.
Now I’m trying something new, which is to say — I’m handwriting the second draft. I’ve never done this before, and I’m not sure if it’ll change much, or anything, but I wanted to give it a shot. Normally I write a pretty clean first draft, with just a few bits and bobs to add and fluff when I’m finished. This time, though, I’m using it as an experiment and a warm-up for my writing hand and penmanship, which are in serious need of exercise.
See, my next novel is already in the works, planning-wise, and it’s gonna be a whopper. I don’t really wanna spoil anything here, not yet, and I sure as hell don’t wanna frighten my readers away, but I’ll say this much . . . It’ll be a complete 180 from what I’ve just done.
And since it’s going to be very involved, I’ve decided that Legend of Darkness and Light will have to be posted on the Midnight Reading site in it’s entirety, all at once. I won’t be putting up a chapter every Friday, as I have been with the others, because I can’t trust I’ll remember every week, and really can’t afford the distraction. So when the eBook and Lulu print version are available, the web free-read will be too.
I’m in search of some good Bluegrass music right now, so if anyone has any suggestions, I’d appreciate them. That’s really about the only “country” music I can tolerate without wanting to get out a gun and shoot everyone in sight, but in the interest of setting a mood, I’m exploring some new tunes. Right now I’m trying out Gangstagrass (not your mamma’s bluegrass!)
But back to my original point, I’m handwriting again. Or at least giving it the ol’ college go, as they say. I’ve read too many amazing novels written by too many astounding writers who all wrote/write by hand to ignore my desire to do it any longer. Granted, back in the day, that’s all I did. Even when we were all using typewriters, I didn’t write my novels on them because making mistakes drove me batty. I couldn’t continue down the line until I’d corrected the mistake, and that got too ridiculous. I’m a fast typist, too, clocking in at 90wpm, but that really puts me at the same mind/writing set as using the computer. The only difference being the sound, the use of paper and white-out, and seeing my words on the screen instead of a piece of paper that’s slowly curling away from me.
There’s a sense of “throw away” when you’re writing on a computer, vs handwriting. You’re more apt to let yourself write shit, knowing you can just delete it out. When you hand write, you invest more time and physical effort with every sentence, so you’re more inclined to spend some time thinking it over, and writing down only what you mean to say, because crossing out huge segments of crap represents so much wasted physical effort (as well as ink and paper).
There’s also a tendency to get ahead of yourself, letting your mind advance to the next paragraph, the next scene, the next chapter, even as you’re still keying out a line. As a result, if you’re not careful, you wind up leaving out whole chunks that you’d intended to write. Great lines and interesting scenes you’d thought up the day before, are forgotten in your rush to type stuff out and progress the novel.
Another thing that sitting at a computer for hours at a time, day in and day out will do is create an underlying sense of HURRY UP! After while, you get impressed by your speed, your production, your massing word counts. Better to slow it all down, give yourself permission to take 6 months to write that novel, rather than enjoying the fact that you can crank out two or three a year. And forget all notion of word counts and lengths. They don’t matter. Only the story matters, and the story will tell you how long it needs to be.
No novel should be any longer, or any shorter, than it needs to be. Padding is for bras, not novels. Your story should begin on Page 1 and end when it’s over. Period. Hard stop. The only consideration you should pay to word counts is when you’re typing up that query to your big time Traditional Agent’s assistant to the mail opening department.
Writing, as with all things in life once you sit down and think about it a second, benefits the most from that old adage: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Now, if you’ll pardon me, it’s nearly lunch-time and I have a lovely pink Cross ballpoint callin’ my name!
Power to the People!
Make Love, Not War!
Mmmm, I love the smell of ink in the morning!