I just finished the second, er, third draft of Blue Knife. It's complicated. Basically, Blue Knife is a contemporary horror/fantasy story set in a sleepy New England town.
It also happens to be, at this moment, my longest work. I once told myself I'd never have a story this long, as I tend to prefer tighter stories. However, a problem with the first two iterations (a screenplay and the first novel draft) was that I wasn't letting the story breathe. And weirdly enough, this version feels more focused and captures the atmosphere I wanted when I first conceived of the idea, though the story at first leaned more toward fantasy than horror.
I don't plan on the novel being this length once I start revising. Granted, a story should be as long as it needs to be, and I don't know what certain additions will do to the final count. That being said, most of my novels tend to undergo some major cutting during the revisions and final proofreading. Dove Keeper went from 84K to 82K. Birds in a Cage went from 94K to 88K. Rabbit Heart lost about 3,000 words, if I recall correctly. I can only hope the final version of Blue Knife, a story I've struggled with to finally have a version I feel comfortable with, tells the story the best it can.
I know the 100K milestone isn't exactly huge for people who have written much lengthier manuscripts, but as someone whose novels tend to range from 55K to ~90K, it is a pretty big deal, though I do want to caution that word count isn't everything when determining the vitality of a project.
Anyway, just wanted to share this update!
Super excited to share that I won NaNoWriMo with my contemporary fantasy novel, Not Today, Satan, with a little over 79,000 words! I'm happiest with the fact that this rewrite is the version I think the story was always meant to be.
For those who don't know, NTS is the first novel in a trilogy that's in the universe of the stories I've published about Sibyl/Scout, Satan, Judas, etc. I'm excited with where this story is going, and I can't wait to work on the sequels!
Writers online publish a lot of advice, and it's an incredible thing. When I was twelve and wanting to write, I didn't have anyone I knew who loved writing. All I had was the Internet and sites, blogs, and forums where writers, agents, and editors gave their tips and insights on a process I knew little about other than my passion and imagination. I learned a lot while feeling less alone in my pursuits.
So, don't think I'll ever deride writers for sharing their experiences and giving advice. And many of us live in a time when one must be assertive in their declarations: do this and definitely don't do that.
However, as I've mentioned before, I have trouble being as definitive. Writers stake their identities on a lot of things: their genre, whether they plot or pants it, etc. "Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser?"
"Oh, I don't outline that way because I'm not that kind of writer." – a writing friend
"[Plotting a novel is] the good writer’s last resort and the dullard’s first choice. The story which results from it is apt to feel artificial and labored.” – Stephen King
This discussion isn't so much about outlining versus spontaneity. I am a fan of doing whatever works for you.
Also, when I have a project, I don't approach each one the same way when it comes to planning. The thing is, while the core considerations I take when writing are the same—what the character wants and how it drives them—I don't follow the same outlining method every time, nor do I always stick to an outline I've created if it feels as if the plan would be unnatural and forced. A story can require different considerations depending on the viewpoints, focus, and length.
All my previous blog posts are available in "Archive," though I will put the most substantial posts here on this site. Wix changed their payment plan to something much more expensive, and I could not afford it during a transitional phase in my life. Also, I have preferred Weebly to Wix for a long while now. While Wix is highly customizable, the editor mode was always very laggy, and there were many odd bugs. Weebly is much quicker and easier to use when I want to make changes. Also, the blog add-on is less of a pain. The blog for Wix would do this thing where I'd change the font size, and it'd . . . erase everything.
I'm super excited moving forward with this new look, and I'm "re-branding" a little. While I am still a professional author, I also make games as a hobby. While I don't plan to make money off them, I do want to share them and talk about them.
Note: There are plenty of links here for reference, and though it may be odd to clarify this, none of them are affiliate or paid links.
I asked what people would like to see more in terms of writing-related work on this blog, and I was told two things by fellow writers: traditional submission advice (querying agents) and in-depth discussion on the process on writing. I will get to the former, but admittedly, that will be a very limited write-up. While I have been through part of the traditional process of publishing a novel, and I have traditionally published poems and short stories, I am an indie author when it comes to novels.
Therefore, I feel like my experiences in speaking about traditional publishing are relatively truncated and would offer less than someone who has been through the entire process; I can offer no more than someone who has also queried agents, though my query letter did earn manuscript requests (but ultimately Dove Keeper, as a gothic horror story not set in contemporary times, was said to be very niche and a hard sell).
Writing advice is also very fickle, as while I always try to coach talk of my books in helpful tips, nowadays I grow uncomfortable giving advice because of the caveats and how personal the process can be. What also comes into play is purpose; what resonates with someone who wants to pursue a professional career versus someone uninterested in writing as a profession or pursuing publication is completely different.
Nevertheless, no matter your plans, I hope this post is insightful in some way. Even if you have zero interest in the book itself, I have links to outlines and other resources. And who knows? Maybe something here will inspire you.
There are spoilers for Dove Keeper below because, when it comes to talking about the process of putting ideas together, some reveals cannot be avoided.
It all starts in high school, but I'll skip the aggressive acne and social isolation. I was writing in high school, and I tended to have very singular, interesting concepts better suited for a more focused prose work like a short story. However, at the time I felt short stories were too limiting, so I mostly wrote poetry and novels. The issue with the latter was that I would attempt to stretch very brief ideas, with not especially extensive arcs or subplots, into novels.