As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, I finished a draft of a new novel.
It’s only a rough draft of what was once a short story that was trying to do too much and now may well be a novel that’s doing *just* enough.
At the beginning of the year, I took part in the Crystal Lake Mentorship programme (which was fantastic!) and I got a lot of great notes on this particular story from none other than Stephanie Wytovich.
The most important of which was slowing way the hell down and exploring the things I was writing.
However, as I was writing another novel at the time it took a few months to gear up to writing this one but — checks notes — around mid May according to my file dates I started trying to flesh out the story in earnest.
Overall, I’m really happy with the result but it’s very different from what I thought I’d have. It began as a retelling of the Pied Piper and then just veered far off the beaten track with new characters, locations, and monsters appearing throughout.
So I have a LOT of rewriting and restructuring to do but I’m suuuper happy with the idea and the characters and world have a lot of fire and energy.
Side note, I haven’t done anything on this site in months, so maybe I need to revamp things a little. New picture maybe.
A small check in to say that I’ve just hit 40k words on my longer project -OPERATION MEZZANINE.
I’ve been aiming to write 300 words every day as a very small and manageable goal to keep me sane as I work from home Monday to Friday.
But, roughly, I’ve managed about 655 words a day on average for 61 days.
I’d hoped to be a little bit further ahead by now, but no matter, the work is still alive and each day I’m finding something new to excite me about the project and writing, generally.
I’ve also had time to pen a couple of much smaller things and submit them. So it’s been a very productive time.
Here’s a couple of things I’ve learned writing half (I’d guess) of my novel over the last two months, in no particular order…
I like rough drafting scenes and then trying to fix them the next day. Fixing sentences and nuances every other day makes me a fan of what I’m actually writing. I feel less like I’m jumping from plot point to plot point and actually crafting a story someone other than me might enjoy reading.
Characters need to want something (yes) in every scene (pretty obvious, Johnny) but giving them a reason to not satisfy that desire for something else they hope is far better in the long run makes scenes spring alive. (I assume at this point every writing manual in the world is moaning a prolonged duhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… but shush.)
Making characters lie is fun.
Being cruel to my characters doesn’t come naturally to me… but the writing is much better when I do.
I don’t seem to work well on Thursdays…
But Mondays are my JAM!
If I don’t read something for more than a day I start to feel sluggish on the page. I can still write and I do but words/ideas/images don’t spring as quickly into my head.
If I don’t write for more than 2 days I become incredibly irritable and begin to question what even is the point…
Every other week I become obsessed with a new writer, director, or musician and they are fuel to me. This past two months, among others I’m sure I’m forgetting, there’s been Denis Johnson, Akira Kurosawa, Mike Mignola, Thundercat, Joe Begos, Marlon James, Michael McDowell, Blake Butler, and this week China Mieville with an emerging appreciation for Jeff VanderMeer.
What any of this means is oblivious to me at the moment. But I’m looking forward to the next 40k or so more words.
“Arterial Bloom injects the ‘literary’ piece into the horror genre with works that excel in well-crafted surprises, powerful senses of place and character, and works that stand out from the crowd. Contributors to this anthology are diverse in their approaches, plot development, and themes, and so under the general ‘horror’ umbrella there is no unifying purpose other than to gather works that are truly exceptional.”