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Another NaNo I Didn't Do

Although I've written three kinda-sorta novels already, so I don't feel too bad about it. If 2008 goes the way I hope, I'll have at least one more done by next November, anyway.

My first "novel" was only something like 30,000 words long, written in an obsessive burst right around the time laurie_robey and I were getting married. It was a space opera potboiler with all the bad clichés, right down to the cat-headed aliens that drive editors nuts, essentially "Shogun in space". But it was not written for publication, so I felt free to just write what I liked, not what would please editors, and I like space opera potboilers with bad clichés. It was instead written just to prove to myself that I could actually write -- and finish -- something longer than 15,000 words or so. Unfortunately, I've long since lost the data file, so unless I've got a paper copy in one of those boxes of miscellaneous manuscripts, it's probably lost to history. Still, just imagine Shogun, with postapocalyptic cat-headed aliens in place of Japan, and Brigid as a spacer captain in place of Richard Chamberlain, and you'll be on the right track.

My second novel was a cozy whodunit, in which a writer staying at a cozy bed-and-breakfast to research a historical romance discovers a murder and goes all Jessica Fletcher on it. ;) This one involved doing some actual research myself (bugging the Loudoun County sheriff's department for procedural details mostly). Not realizing that Truman Capote had already nicked the title, I called it in In Cold Blood because it was set in February and the isolation of an ice storm was a plot element. This one reached 50,000 words I think (I don't remember exactly), and I sent it off to the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York. I got back a very nice letter from a lady on their staff who said, "I'm familiar with your work for White Wolf Games -- I'm not really interested in this book, but write me again when you've written a fantasy or SF book."

I was simultaneously dismayed and encouraged by this; dismayed, because at the time I wanted to write mysteries (and would still like to if I could find the right formula). Encouraged, because a real professional in the book industry had said they were familiar with my work (o.0) and wanted to hear from me again. So after a little bit of a break, I wrote my third novel, basically a beefed up retelling of the opening of my first Fantasy Hero campaign in Richmond, with a new group of my own characters in place of the players' characters. This one (called various different things but currently titled Revenge of the Ghost-King) broke 60,000 words and was certainly my best novel yet. I sent this one off to various beta readers, whose opinions ranged from glowing ("I couldn't put it down!") to enigmatically lukewarm ("Not bad. You're in your twenties, aren't you?").

However, I wasn't satisfied with it, for various reasons, so I put it aside to simmer and started working on NeverNever -- only to have comics take over my life! And that's where I've been ever since.

-The Gneech



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 1st, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Novels are tricky things to finish, in the sense of "get published." I'm still working on it. :)

I see NaNo as really just a writing tool. It's sort of a mass writing exercise coupled with a support group. But if you've got the chops to write without that (I try to write off and on year-round), there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

Keep at it. Just a little now and then, you know. And if you ever want a test reader for a manuscript, let me know!
Dec. 1st, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Okay, now I'm seeing Brigid and Greg as a mystery-solving duo.

They're like a Platonic version of Nick and Nora Charles.

And all those vignettes we've been seeing are the "character bits" that round out the mystery-solving.
Dec. 1st, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Brigid as a spacer captain vs. cat-headed aliens. Hmmm.....Shogun II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. I can see it now:

"You are the Heart of the Tiger, Anjin-san." :)

Dec. 1st, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)

I wanna read Brigid and Greg in Space now...
Dec. 1st, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
Kanaj-na lay curled up on his sleeping mat, light blanket pulled up tight around his shoulders. He did not sleep, however. His tail would occasionally thrash back and forth, indicating an agitated state of mind.
Out there, on top of one end of the tall ridge that made up two of the Seven Hills, sat a huge metal bird, carrying the bizarre people from the stars Kanaj had heard about all his life.

If you need a copy...
Dec. 1st, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
If I had the focus, I would have finished Jewels of Hope by now, but the first installment was 100K words as is...

I say go back to writing just to write, NaNo style. Since SJ is going on the shelf soon. Doesn't matter if it's crap, there's bound to be a diamond worth thousands of gold pieces in there somewhere...

Ageis J. Hyena, signing off, over and out.
Dec. 1st, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Hey, I can't even get motivated enough to put my short story to word document.
Dec. 2nd, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
Comics cannot take over your life! Comics are life!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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