Novel Update 07/05/17

So…you’re all probably wondering where my novel is at, right? I mean, I finished the first draft almost a year ago and still, bupkis! Well, let me tell you about it.

My troubles began while working on that first draft. I spent so long developing it, that by the time I reached the end, I was no longer satisfied with the earlier portions of the book. I thought I could fix those sections in subsequent drafts…I was wrong.

With a new project beginning at the start of this year, I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and reassess the novel. During that time off, I started to get a creeping feeling in the back of my brain that the story, as it existed, would never see the light of day. Well I guess you can call me Nostradamus because I was right.

Basically, I could spend a year trying to “fix” all the things I didn’t like about the novel, or spend half that time rewriting it. I’m happy to say that the decision was not as hard as it probably sounds. The truth is, I’m just a plumb better writer now than I was when I produced that first draft.

So what’s that all mean? It means that I’m cruising through the book (about 20K words right now) and that it will be finished by the end of the year. I’m excited (and nervous) for everybody to finally read it, but I think it will exceed you expectations (fingers crossed).

Stay tuned for more updates and in the meantime, you can look forward to my crime novella (that new project I mentioned) called Sugar’s Last Dance, which is coming out in October (way, way more on that very soon).

-C

Novel update

I guess I should give an update on my novel. It is the most asked question I get these days and so I figure it’s only fair to shed some light on where it’s at and where it’s going.

I started work on it a few years ago (or pretty damn close to), and it still has a ways to go. I did hit a big milestone back in late summer/early fall of last year when I finished the first draft. I was proud to have gotten that far, but I also knew that there was going to be a lot of work ahead of me.

I’m not going to bore you with the details, but the cliff notes version is this: I kept changing what happens in the book. Because of those changes, huge sections of the novel which I had already written, became irrelevant to the story and were cut out. This indecisiveness has resulted in a patchwork collection of words that is a complete mess. Needless to say, I had become very discouraged.

It wasn’t until the end of last December (as in about a month ago!) that I finally came to terms with the story I am trying to tell. All decisions have been made. There is finally, once again, a clear direction. It’s time to start a new draft of the book (draft #4 for those keeping score). For this draft, I am just adding in those final elements I am missing and smoothing the edges on the other additions. From there, I will start cleaning it up heavily and preparing it for the editor.

…Just not right now.

For the immediate future, I thought it best to set the novel down for a couple months. I’ve been working on it in one way or another for years and I think it’ll help tremendously to come back for this 4th draft with a fresh mind.

That doesn’t mean I’m not writing anything, as I’m currently chugging away on the crime novella for Adventure Worlds Press that I mentioned in an earlier post a couple weeks ago. And more importantly, it doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the novel. I truly believe that it will be a scary book and can’t wait for everybody to read it! I just want to make sure it is everything I know it can be before I release it on the world.

-C

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel (pt. 3)

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone”

-Stephen Spielberg

Like my good friend Steve says, cell phones are not always the best thing in the world, and when it comes to writing horror, they are pretty much the worst.

Imagine if you will, what some of our favourite horror stories would look like with the simple addition of a cell phone.

Cujo.

“Hello, animal control? Yeah, this is Donna Trenton calling. So, listen, I’m at the Camber house…yeah, that’s them, and anyways, there’s a big ass dog running around out here. Oh, good! I was worried there for a minute. I’ll just stay in my car until you get here. Thanks.”

Nightmare on Elm St.

Tina: It was so scary, Nancy. He was all burned up and had knives for hands.

Nancy: Cray cray! Let me look that up.

Nancy googles it on her phone.

Nancy: Well, when I put in all that stuff, I got a bunch of newspaper articles about some creepy pedo that used to live around here. It says he disappeared or something when we were just little kids. Hold on, maybe my mom knows something.

Nancy texts her mom.

Ma do you know a guy named freddy kruger????

OMG I haven’t heard that name in years. Me and the other parents killed him 🙂

Thx TTYL

Nancy: Yeah, our parents totally killed him. I guess he found a way into our dreams. Hold on, I’m gonna look up dream therapy.

The Blair Witch Project

“I threw that fucking map into the river!”

“No worries, my phone has GPS.”

That’s just a few. But basically, every classic horror story would be radically different if they had cell phones in them. Part of what makes horror stories great is that nothing is convenient for the protagonist. And if there is one thing that cell phones are, is convenient. The other thing cell phones are, is plentiful. You can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a person talking/texting/surfing/tweeting/snap-chatting/etc. on a cell phone.

While planning my novel, I quickly realized that the story wouldn’t work if there was even one operational cell phone (seriously, the story would end at chapter 2!). Luckily, there was already a plot point in place that could easily explain why the cell phones in the story would be rendered useless.

Still though, this whole cell phone thing had weighed on my mind so much that I even considered (for a short time) changing the time period of the novel to take place in the 80’s. It would be very easy to do and wouldn’t change the overall story that much. But, on the flipside, having it set thirty years ago wouldn’t do anything to serve the novel either (other than not having to deal with modern technology). So, after a bit of consideration, as well as getting the opinion of fellow writer Ben Van Dongen (who is hard a work on his own debut novel. Check out his trials and tribulations here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) I decided to just deal with the damn things, because the fact is, we can’t put the cellular genie back into the bottle.

Novel: Untitled

Word count: 11400

Chapters: 10

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel! (pt.2)

Baby Steps.

So…I can say that my novel has started off with a whimper. I had all sorts of intentions of pounding away at it in the last few weeks but stuff got in the way. Not bad stuff mind you (well, I guess some of it was bad), but stuff.

Like most writers, I don’t make a living writing. That means that I work a 9-5 job. I won’t bore you with just exactly what my job is, just know it is the kind that you are not meant to have for more than a couple of years, and certainly not the kind a person would strive for. But, the reality is, I gotta go to work when they schedule me, even if it conflicts with ideal writing times.

Next, I got kids. Two beautiful little girls (Lelaina and Delilah) and they demand a lot of attention. I don’t mind that, and in fact, love playing with them, but, it does eat up valuable time. Usually, I get very welcomed reprieves when my mom takes one, or both of them for the day, but, due to the fact that my step-dad recently broke both of his arms (!), my mom is pretty busy.

And lastly, I’m neck deep into the second/third draft a collection of short stories I’ve been working on for a year now, with fellow writer Ben Van Dongen. This has been a wildly tiring process and has been my main focus recently in an attempt to get it done by summer.

These things have converged into a perfect storm of novel killing proportions.

I am happy to report however that I have made some progress on the novel though. It isn’t much, but it’s something. So all hope is not lost. And further more, with some changes to my writing schedule (basically, less sleep) and an upcoming writers’ weekend with the above mentioned Mr. Van Dongen and our good buddy Justin, I should be able to take a major bite out of the novel. Only time will tell, but until then, I’m gonna keep on taking baby steps.

Novel: Untitled

Words: 1725

Chapters: 1

 

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel! (pt. 1)

“The night was…sultry?”

For anybody who’s seen the amazing black comedy, Throw Momma from the Train, you know how hard it can be for a writer to get the first line of a story just right. In the movie, Larry Donner (played by Billy Crystal) can’t get past that single sentence.

Now that several projects are behind me (The Space Between Houses, which is available now, and the horror/sci-fi collection with fellow writer, Ben Van Dongen ( https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ), is coming soon), I can finally get back to that pesky novel I’ve been planning.

Last year at this time I was committed to writing it. I even went so far as to line up some volunteers to read over each chapter as I finished them (never turn down free edits). But ultimately, due to time constraints, the novel was shelved.

In the year since I last attempted writing it, a lot has changed for me. Besides those above mentioned projects, I’ve met tons of really talented writers and have learned a lot about the craft from them. With this new found knowledge tucked away in my pocket, I’m once again climbing out onto the ledge of novel writing and hoping like hell I don’t fall off.

The time away from the book hasn’t been wasted though, I did manage to keep the story in my head and spent the time further developing it. It’s safe to say that at this point I’ve planned, plotted and researched everything I possibly can to get this thing going.

Now I’m at that crucial moment of committing those ever important opening lines to the screen. Unlike Larry from Throw Mamma however, I’m not nearly as hung-up on that first sentence. In fact, the moment I’ve been anticipating writing the most since last year has been the first chapter. Being a big fan of the hook, I think I have a doozy of one to open my story with. Hopefully I’m right. Only time will tell though.

Over the next year, I’m going to keep you guys posted on my progress (hopefully bi-weekly updates). This includes the ups and downs and all the in-betweens of the novel writing process. If all goes according to plan, you’ll get an inside look at the entire shebang. From the first draft to the final edits and beyond.

Novel: Untitled (I got lots of time to come up with something)

Words so far: 0 (Although I’m shooting for a nice number between 60 and 70 thousand)

Chapters so far: 0 (I’m thinking about 60 when all is said and done)