John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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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
Tags: writing
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