002: A Novel Approach

As I said in my first post (don’t worry, you don’t have to read it), I’m working on several projects this year.

mr-busy-webFirst, and the most immediate, is Adventure Worlds. I am constantly working to bring new stories there (at least one a month) and have actually managed to get a few ahead. Horror is my forte but as you will see, I like to dabble in other areas as well.

Secondly and thirdly, is a book of short stories and a comic mini-series. The book is almost done and is comprised of several short horror stories I’ve written over the last couple of years. The comic is also horror (I told you, it’s my bread and butter), and should be coming out sometime this year as a three issue mini-series.

Lastly, there’s my novel. This is a story I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years now and have finally decided to tackle the sucker. It has been an intimidating task but at least I’m not going it alone, a friend and fellow adventure world author, Ben, is also writing a novel. His is sci-fi and mine is (wait for it), horror. Ben’s already talked about his process over at his own blog, http://benwltp.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/how-does-one-write-a-novel/, so read it.

Since I’ve never written a novel before it has been a real exercise in trial and error. After struggling for a bit, I think I found something that is working for me. I plan out the chapters ahead of actually writing them. I know, this sounds like a no brainer, but maybe not the way that I do it. You see, I have a background in animation, and in animation there is something called key frames. A key frame is a single drawing of a character at the height of an action (here’s a bit more on that for all interested http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_frame). A single scene of animation will have multiple key frames and in between these frames are a bunch of drawing that bridge them, they are fittingly called in-betweens. For my novel I’ve planned a “key-frame” for each and every chapter to end with. From there I simply “in-between” those moments with small events, description and dialogue. So far, it’s working out nicely.untitled

Beyond my “key-frame” approach, I also have an idea that each chapter should fall between 1000-3000 words. The book itself will (at least should if all goes according to plan) clock-in at around 60 chapters. In my experience, the more chapters a book has, the easier it is to read.

Maybe I’m just setting myself up for failure using this technique, (if any novelists are reading this, any advice would be great), or maybe this is how everybody does it. Either way, over the next few months I’ll have an answer.

Now, I just need a way to streamline comic and short story writing and I’ll be all set.

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2 thoughts on “002: A Novel Approach

  1. Thanks for the shoutout Christian. Like I said over on my blog, I find the whole ordeal of trying to write a novel is much less intimidating knowing that there is someone else going through it with me.
    It’s interesting to see how you are approaching your novel. We carry everything we’ve learned with us for better or worse. You are going at the novel like an animator (which I still think will end up with a 1000 chapter book) and I’m coming at it as someone who has an English degree. I’m not sure what my approach is other than trying to find something new to write about, but at the end of the day we’ll be in the trenches slugging it out together.

    • Having somebody there with you, somebody who is literally going through the same thing, has made the process so much easier. Every time you tell me you’re on a new chapter, it makes me stop dragging my ass and write lol.

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