Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category
OK, people, here you go. Proof.
What follows is intended to eventually be a comic book script, though it doesn’t have any of the page or panel breakdowns that format would require. (Actually, right now it would be just as easy to adapt the format of what I’ve got here to comics, movies or TV. Beside the point.) It’s not incredibly detailed in terms of descriptions — I stuck mainly with just moving ahead with the dialogue, becuase that’s how the stories tend to unfold in my head. I didn’t want to kill my momentum because I got stuck on some bit of acting or scene description.
And believe me, I know it’s not fantastic, I know there are some places where people’s reactions to what’s going on aren’t quite right. But hey, it’s a very, very early first draft. This scene would take up six to eight pages in the first issue of my massive opus — and since it’s all introduction, it is inherently spoiler-free.
Caveats done. Enjoy.
I feel like I should be working on the book tonight, but I’ve been having trouble getting back into the swing of things after everything going down the last week or so. Fret not–I still intend to be done with the first draft of the book by the end of October, though I most certainly realize that every night I don’t work on the thing is more work I have to put into it later.
As I think I’ve likely mentioned here previously, I’m writing the book in a very seat-of-the-pants manner. No outline, no character sketches, no ending in mind when I started, all strategies gained from my National Novel Writing Month experiences. And honestly, 25% of the way into the first draft, I’m not sure if it’s working well or not. Yeah, OK, I’ve got almost 16,000 words down at this point, and that alone implies some sort of success given my previous efforts, but given that it’s hard to see very far ahead, it’s hard to judge how well I’m doing.
It’s like I’ve decided to drive to Florida, gotten out on the road and pointed myself generally south and hit the gas…now I’m several hours into the trip, but I don’t have a map, so I really have no idea how my route’s working out. I’ve got the sun to guide me some, and I know I’m going pretty much southerly, but I just don’t know if I’m on the best roads for getting me to Florida. Though I guess as long as I end up in Florida and not in Oregon, whichever way I got there was the right way, huh?
So anyway, to keep myself from having to do any writing on the book, I reverted the ol’ blog here back to its original design, but updated with all the new funky stuff I’d put into the sidebar over the last few months. I liked the simplicity of the old design, but I’d also grown pretty damn bored with that simplicity, so we’re back to this, which at the very least looks a bit more distinctive, I think. Hope you like it, ’cause even if you don’t, I ain’t changin’ again for awhile.
As of 10:36 p.m. last night, I’m officially 20% done with the first draft of my long-awatied novel. I say “long-awaited” because I know there’s nothing you fine people anticipate more than my birthing 65,000 words of dark humor, insightful characterization, effervescent yet biting dialogue and pulse-pounding action into the world. But wait a longer, you shall; I still have 80% of those words left to pull from the ether and arrange just so in Mircosoft Word.
I need a goal, a deadline to work toward, so I’m putting this out here in public for all to see, in hopes that the humiliation that will inevitably come from not meeting said deadline will provide proper impetus to push forward: I will be done with the first draft of said novel by the end of October. That’s both a doable and a moderately challenging goal. So there it is…end of October, the novel will be done. Or the first draft, anyway. Forward, ho…
This weekend, after much deliberation, internal debate, planning, vague outlining, research and other wastes of time, I finally took my Young Adult horror/contemporary fantasy novel (hopefully to be series of novels, not to count my chickens when they are naught but embryos) out of my head and started putting it on paper. Well, virtual paper, anyway. I started writing Friday night and managed to find time to squeeze out about 5,500 words this weekend–far and away my most productive writing weekend in almost three years. (I have to graciously thank my lovely wife for allowing me to have today off; about three thousand of those words came this afternoon and tonight.)
I think I was able to get started because of something Amy said to me in an email last week. In addition to the other wonderful insights she had, she said to me (and I hope she doesn’t mind that I quote her here):
So rather than outline, I’m trying to just maintain forward motion so that in the end, I have the story down on paper–the biggest part of the job–and I can always go back and edit. What worked for me was freeing myself of attention to chronology and editing–writing like this gave me the momentum to just keep going.
That’s the National Novel Writing Month philosophy in a nutshell–keep moving forward, no matter what, no matter how awful the tripe spewing from your fingers. Just keep moving forward until you’re done. And it really does work.
But the biggest detail in there that got me going was that she said she freed herself from attention to chronology…which I took to mean that I didn’t have to start at the beginning. Not positive that’s what Amy meant, but that’s how I interpreted it, anyway. I’ve had a hard time deciding how the story should start, but I wanted to get going on it, so I just picked a visual I’d had in my head, a scene I knew had to happen at some point in the book, and I wrote that Friday night.
And then I felt like I was able to go back to the beginning, so I did…and I just kept writing, which was a pretty amazing thing for me.
My main problem at this point is that I’ve pretty much written most everything I knew was going to happen, and I have no idea what’s going to happen next. That’s both intimidating and a little exciting. I think I’ll get around that problem, though, because of something else Amy said, something else I’ve long believed (and previously touched on in this blog) but wasn’t putting into practice: plot grows from character, not the other way around. I’m hoping my characters will tell me what’s going to happen…soon.
Speaking of, I went into this with almost no conception of most of my characters and they’ve started to form much more fully in my head just from what I’ve written so far. Do I necessarily know their favorite soft drinks or the most traumatic moment from each of their childhoods? Nope–but I don’t need to right now. If I need to know that information, I’m feeling more confident that they’ll tell me.
I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of what I’ve written the past couple days is likely pretty wretched. I have no problem with that–because I’m really good at editing, and going back and fixing something I’ve done before is a lot easier than getting it out in the first place. I’ve given myself the freedom to allow my first draft to suck terribly in hopes that I’ll just get the draft done, and then I can go back and try to get that turd of a draft all nice and polished.
Okay, enough rambling. I’m putting my progress bar up there in the sidebar so all of you can see how I’m doing–and hopefully occasionally put pressure on me to make sure I’m keeping up with it. I’m expecting this book to be somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 words, so I’m about eight percent done with the first draft already. Not a bad weekend of work.
His name wasn’t really Dexter, though that’s what everybody who knew him called him; he was really a “Stephen,” but some thick-headed sack of shit in middle school hung the “Poindexter” tag on him once and “Dexter” he’d been ever since. Easier to float with the stream than fight against the current, his father had always told him. But his father had also told him “the only thing a man can count on in this life is family” right before Dexter’s uncle Vernon, his father’s brother, shot him to death for fucking Vernon’s wife, so Dexter had come not to think of his father’s advice.
Dexter was a little guy, five-six and a buck forty soaked to the skin. He wasn’t much to look at, all ruddy complexion and big ears. He carried himself as if he were a matinee idol a foot taller and made of iron, though–he had the confidence and swagger that came from knowing he was smarter than everyone he met.
Dexter was quite the brainiac, all right: he’d turned down offers from a good number of the top universities in the country out of high school. He could’ve had a free ride to Duke, to Stanford, to Cornell, and surely to any state school he’d have as much as glanced at, but he told all of them to go blow so he could pursue his dream of doing as little as he possibly could with his life.
He knew he had the horses upstairs to do pretty much anything he wanted in life, or to expend minimal effort and still get by comfortably. He knew that there was no shortage of people dumber and lazier than he who would be willing–eager–to give him money to do that which they wouldn’t or couldn’t, things which would have taken those poor sons of bitches to the ends of their mental abilities but which would barely take Dexter’s concentration off the Red Sox game.
Sometimes what that meant was writing papers for the spoiled rich kids down at Brown. Sometimes it mean gambling, either for himself or giving out tips to the guys down at Mookie’s Pub (for a percentage cut, of course).
Dexter lived cheap, had a small apartment in a triple-decker just off the interstate in Pawtucket. His friends were constantly amazed at just how little Dex ever actually worked, but he knew they just didn’t get it. When you stripped all the unnecessaries out of your life and pared it down just to what you actually needed instead of worrying about all the shit you really just wanted…well, it didn’t take all that much work at all to provide that.
But the afternoon Nevada Tremont rolled into Mookie’s on legs long enough to stop a man’s heart cold in his chest, Dexter’s life of slow and easy nothingnes evaporated like snow in a mid-winter heat wave.