How is it possible? This, my friends, is the question I am asking myself perpetually these days.
Take a gander at the wordcount widgets over to the right on your screen. If you’re too lazy, I’ll make it easier: it has a really big number on it. That’s how big my current novel is. And I’m asking myself, how is it possible?
Truth be told, I don’t know. I don’t know how I’ve managed to dodge all of the bullets WB is constantly shooting at me. (WB: abbreviation for Writers’ Bane, an organization devoted solely to the humiliation of writers everywhere. Donate today!) Writer’s block, lack of time, pure indolence, broken wrists, debilitating sicknesses, death, what-have-you– somehow, I’ve avoided it all.
It must be that new Repel-All Body Armor I bought off of Percival last month. It works wonders, though the impervious visor does get a little steamy around midday.
Truth be told, I have no idea how I’ve gotten this far without dying. Between you and me, I don’t think WB is giving it their all.
Really, I think that the only limit on how much I can write is how far my plot will let me write. Last November my plot forced me to wrap up at 50,172 words. This summer, I think I can make it at least to 85k before everything starts to fizzle out.
And if I’m really dedicated to getting to 100k, I can always write a 15k epilogue. Who would complain? Who would read it?
I think this story isn’t worth spit. I think the beginning stinks. If Earth weren’t such a big part of the plot, I’d sequester Vorse from its counterpart and make this a world apart from Earth and modern civilization.
That was a joke. A world apart? Never mind.
Where was I? Oh, yes, worth spit. I mean, not worth spit.
I’ve managed to cut my novel into a few distinct parts. Part one is what I call the beginning– quite a brilliant name, I think. That part goes from where the story begins to where my first main character is killed in a shipwreck.
The second part is what I call the middle– another awesome name. That goes from where I had my new main character fall off of a sinking ship to where I had my main character’s employer try to kill him and my main character goes to find a new employer. Smart move, yes?
The third part is not the end, but middle part two. This is where the main character is in cahoots with the antagonist– his new employer, as it happens. This part also has the supporting characters that make up the good side actually work for the destruction of everything we know and love. I am actually still writing this part, so I’m not sure where it ends yet. But this is not the end, for I still have 10k left to go before I hit my goal.
The fourth part I don’t want to think about because that might be called plotting, and I’ve had a lot of success with doing the exact opposite so far. This part– called the end– will be characterized by the 15k epilogue.
I really don’t think WB is trying very hard. They might be gathering their forces for November, I fear… I don’t exactly know why they haven’t attacked, but I know that they haven’t. Why? Because I haven’t had writer’s block. I haven’t had a single day when I could write at least 2k, which is already over the average you might need to finish 50k in a month. My characters haven’t refused to go on. There hasn’t been a plot hole that wasn’t resolved in the next scene– which, I have to say, is really cool. I’m writing, I realize that Hey, all of those man-eating hares aren’t trying to eat the man that’s standing in the midst of them… Why? In the next scene, the assassin mallard explains to the main character’s former employer that he tried to kill the MC by giving him the hide of a volatile buffalo for a few things he needed to make, which explodes after being in contact with an energy source– such as a body– for so long. These hares have the instinct to stay away from the buffalo hide, and thus they don’t try to kill the person who, surely, will be killed before long.
And yes, that’s a real example.
This is an exhilarating draft, even though it’s unlikable. I realized today that the reason I write as I go instead of plotting is because it feels like I’m reading a book. My mind picks out the potential plot holes, then when their cure comes to light I think, Oh… cool! I’m seriously writing like this. I don’t know how it worked that the plot twist that robbed the antagonist of his enormous success (it was too early in the draft– I couldn’t have it end there, so I stuck in a plot twist) was the same thing that saved the main character’s life. If you’re wondering, it was raw meat.
I might not be enjoying the story itself, but I’m enjoying how it’s coming to light. The overall thing isn’t worth spit, but the little aha moments are worth all of that.
Well. Not really. I’d still like to write something that had a lot of aha moments and still be good. But we can’t have everything, can we?
I can’t help but think how many aha moments I would have missed if I had plotted this thing all the way out. I did actually outline the first few chapters with the old antagonist– the one who was killed before those first few chapters were over. I didn’t do anything that the outline told me to do. For instance, I thought that Captain Victor the coat peg would surely have a wooden body that he could maneuver about instead of the two ships he wrecked and a duck he just stabbed and controlled for a brief time. I also thought there would be some awesome sword fights somewhere in this. No. I have a knife fight, and my main character was stabbed by a coat peg– yes, it was Victor. If you remember, in the character outline for Laidue, my second (and real) antagonist, I said that Laidue had a liking for the entity governing cold. Well, I didn’t plan on the fact that my new main character was being hunted by that same entity governing cold precisely because it would spite Laidue, and I definitely didn’t think that the cold guy’s chief correspondent and tool would be a sentient rock.
I absolutely hate how I’m describing the high points of the story to you and it sounds like my characters are just running around meeting talking animals that explode, or inanimate objects that can talk. There’s much more to it than that.
And this brings me to my next thought: after a lot of editing, this thing could be readable. It’s possible. After a lot of editing, in which the story would change completely– because I must keep the integrity of the story by haphazardly throwing things together– and my characters’ motivations would change utterly, it would be readable. But is this the great American novel, written by the new Christopher Paolini?
I sincerely hope not. Unfortunately, I don’t think so.
Seriously, though, if WB wants to keep me from writing this thing, they’re letting a lot of aha moments slip through. I am having the time of my characters’ lives.