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September 11th, 2015

GneNoWriMo: My August Novel Post-Mortem

Back at the end of July, I was in a severe emotional crash, trying to resolve several contradictory ideas (a thing that happens to me with unfortunate frequency). I was spinning my wheels about wanting to continue Rough Housing to the exclusion of everything else, vs. wanting to be able to work on other projects, vs. the looming crisis of Mrs. Gneech's and my mutual unemployment. Finally, after some less-than-dignified LJ entries, a bad day at home, and the subsequent trip to my counselor, I basically said "To hell with it!" and wrote a book.

I poured a lot into this book. I mean, you wouldn't think so just to read the manuscript– it's essentially a potboiler adventure story on the surface. But like Wenton Delaney turning his divorce into a crime thriller, so much of this book was shaped by my weird traumas, life observations, and particular neuroses– chopped, channelled, and with spoiler fins welded on– that there was a lot of catharsis involved.

And credit to rowyn, she was absolutely right. I got more storytelling done in a month and a half writing this book, than in two years of Rough Housing. For all its blockbuster nature, this book is deeper and more intellectually satisfying (to me, anyway) than just about anything I've written to date.

So where do I go from here? Well obviously, the book is not ready for public consumption yet. The first draft weighs in at around 68,000 words, which was once "just right" but is now considered "uncomfortably short" by most of my target markets. (One publisher requests a minimum of 80,000 words, while another won't even look at anything below 100,000. Good grief.) A common motif among comments from the beta readers has been that it's a fast read ("a wild ride" was another), which is a fine feature in an adventure story, but I also don't want people to just tear through it in one sitting and then forget it a day later. So it needs expansion, it needs building out and revising.

And what about SJ? I gotta admit, after a project like this, SJ feels very lightweight intellectually, even though it's just as time consuming. It's kind of a drag to pour two months into creating a comic that'll be read in five minutes and tossed on the pile with the rest, which was something I was already wrestling with before the fact that it's not exactly a money-maker was part of the equation. Novel-writing, assuming I can get rolling and am good at it, at least would help pay the bills. I can do SJ as a downtime project on the side between bouts of writing and revision, but then is it fair to hope for continued Patreon support? I feel like I've neglected my patrons for the past month as it is, and need to do something about that.

I'm still working on it. The good news is, Mrs. Gneech has been having some success in the freelance arena and has been getting calls back for permanent positions, so hopefully stable income will shortly be a thing again. I have been holding off on breaking down and getting a job as a barista or something, so I could devote as much time as possible to these projects while we still have our heads above water.

For the immediate future, I need to put the book down and let it set a bit before going into revision mode. My next immediate set of projects will be to work on commissions and get those Dungeons and Denizens pages done that I meant to do in August. My guess is that once those are completed I'll start working on revisions, which means SJ may not get into the queue before November or December. By then, I expect I'll know which direction I need to go.

-The Gneech

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