My Clarion West Write-a-thon progress is going well. Thanks to everyone who’s sponsored me so far!
I have two chapters completed on a science fiction novel. Chapter three will happen tonight and tomorrow. Between work deadlines, the holiday, and packing for the move, I’ve gotten a little behind. But, I know where I’m going, at least in the near term.
Novel writing is as different from short story writing as I expected it to be, but not necessarily in the expected ways. It’s kind of neat and kind of scary to suddenly have more room to play with. Every little word doesn’t have to advance the main plot, and that main plot can’t be as simple as Point A to Point B.
I outline rigorously for short stories. I’m so limited for word-count that I have to know how many scenes I need, and what has to happen in each of them. This novel, in contrast, is turning into more of a complex braid than a straight line. I know what needs to happen at certain milestones, but I have all this room for subplots and complications and character development, and taking advantage of all of those things also needs to happen. I hate books where only the main character is fleshed out and all the rest of the characters are cardboard setpieces supporting that main character. I’m determined not to write a book like that…but it’s requiring constant reminding: go ahead, take a minute here to give her more personality. you have room…
I’ve been writing solely longhand, for now. I’d like to move what I have to the computer and keep going from there, but I don’t want to ruin my momentum by moving backwards. Editing is my comfort zone, not writing, so if I stop to edit what I already have before my momentum is in place and I’ve found my voice, it’s hard to make myself return to adding anything new.
Right now, the draft is so rough that there’s no voice. Once there’s a voice, I’ll be ready to go back and flesh out what I have. For now, I just need to keep moving the plot forward, and remembering to let the characters look up from it now and then.
If you’d like to sponsor me, please visit my Write-a-Thon page and donate.