Monday, November 27, 2006

Every Geek Is Writing a Fantasy Novel

Everyone is writing a novel. Housewives have their Harlequin Romances, cops have murder mysteries, and geeks have fantasy novels. None of these are actually written, of course. No, these people are all just writing a book, a state which is far more nebulous and thus not subject to any sort of expectation for actually producing anything.

I, sadly, am no exception.

I've been working on "Exile" for about as long as I can remember. The parts that are written have been re-written multiple times. I've changed voices six times, tenses eight, and plot at least a dozen. I've started at the beginning, the middle, and somewhere near the end. I've draw comic book covers for ten novels down the line and the main character's been everywhere from eight years old to the mid-thirties.

In short, I'm like every other would-be author out there who hasn't actually managed to write diddly-squat.

I'm at a point where I work on it only when I'm really bored, and even then I end up just tweaking the edges while working myself into an existential angst over the tone, the tense, the characterization, the details or lack thereof, the overall voice, the narrative structure, the plot outline, you name it. All of which, of course, gets in the way of actually writing anything. I find it's much easier just to agonize over producing the words I already wrote rather than trying to come up with whole new ones.

I sat down with it again the other day and tried to figure out a new way to avoid actually writing anything new. Thanks to the power of computerized word processing, I hit upon a great plan -- try to lay it out like it was in a real paperback! Why I would need to lay out a paperback when only a third of it is written, I don't know. It's like installing your kitchen appliances when the house isn't even framed.

But hey, it worked -- I killed time, got to feel like I "worked on it", and yet didn't have to come up with a single original word. Pretty brilliant, at least from a slacker's point of view. In any event, I've posted the PDF version of the first chapter of "Exile", my attempt at a fantasy novel, if you're interested in torturing yourself for a few minutes.

Note that you'll need a version of the free Acrobat Reader to view it. Just click here for the latest version if the link above gives you an error message.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved it!! Great detail, fighting, jealousy, hate, rage, a girl, swords, a hero to like and a villain to hate! This Thrush is meant for great things! As you said, many people write. The secret is to write something EVERY DAY on your book -- even if it's just one sentence. Polishing and revising are dawdlings on the way to your goal, dear brother. One sentence, one paragraph a day -- nothing less. It's a good story. Very good. Keep at it -- flesh it out, expand it, and keep going. The race doesn't always go to the fastest -- just the most persistent. Outstanding. -- Your sister