Monday, January 23, 2017

A Novel Challenge

The last part of my Five Dragon’s series is wrapping up its final edits.  While that’s working in the background, I’ve been preparing to write a full-length novel.  This is a new thing for me.  Shooting for a target length of 60,000 words, that’s still three times the length of anything that I’ve written before.  Those of you that have read my fiction know that I favor a terse style that gets right to the point and leaves the decorative flourishes to the reader’s imagination.  You aren’t paying me by the word here, so there’s no financial incentive for me to lather on the verbiage just for its own sake.

That might work fine for a short story where words come at a premium, but it adds a challenge to writing a full length novel.  When you don’t spend a thousand words describing every single dish served at a lavish 12-course feast in excruciatingly diabetic detail you’ve got to fill those pages with people doing things and things actually happening.  Add to that my predilection for narratives that feature a single point of view character, and now you’re looking at some serious plot twists to keep the reader’s attention.
All that takes planning and preparation.
Enter Moorcock’s Three Day Novel challenge.  You can guess from the title what it’s all about.  I won’t repeat what others have already said about.  Here's just one link, you can find plenty more with a simple search.)  MLK Day came and went, and with it too much dayjob work to do a proper Challenge.  That didn't mean I couldn't use Moorcock's theories at a more sedate pace though.
Using that framework as a guide, I’ve got a dozen chapters hashed out.  It cost me 3,000 words of publishable material, but what I waste in work-product, I hope to make up for in efficiency.  That 3,000 words includes an outline of the complicated off-screen event that drives the action and the working FTL system.  That system was a head scratcher for me because it's a narrative device wrapped in a thick layer of legit quantum physics.  It took a little help from Spencer Hart - remember that name, you'll be hearing it a lot in the future.  If you don't believe me, check out his blog - but it's a reasonable explanation for FTL that still allows for some rock 'em sock 'em two fisted spacer tales.

Pushing myself to write this longer form fiction has been a challenge, but one most welcome.  It's a lot like running a marathon.  Hopefully my nipples won't hurt so much at the end of this one. 

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