Tuesday, December 30, 2008

to 52,350 and beyond

according to literary legend, mary shelley wrote frankenstein in a feverish haste over the course of some ridiculously short period of time - like three days - all by hand, of course.

maybe this is a monster in its own way.

yesterday evening, after i printed out the days work, i mapped out the final chapters. it appears there's somewhere between 11 and 13 of them. at an average length of 3,000 words a chapter, i can tell from here the story will come in somewhere around 80-85,000 words. longer than i expected, and still a first draft... it's possible the book - if it's ever published - will end up in the neighborhood of 90 to 100,000.

this book, believe it or not, has hit a few shoals here and there along the way... the next few chapters are probably going to be rough - my last few certainly have been (many many thanks to my Faithful Reader for her immediate and constructive feedback both about what's working and what has not). the middle for me is the worst part of the book - that shadowy underground where anything can happen and probably should. as my dear friend rose noted in her comment a few days ago and on her own blog, delving into the dark is a critical part of the creative process. you HAVE to go to the place where You Don't Know What Will Happen Next... because if you don't... at least... if *I* don't... then neither do the characters... and what's the fun of that?

so here is what i have learned to do when i (or the story) seem to be stuck on the edge of an abyss and have no idea what should happen next. i ask myself... (and the characters) what's the last thing i'd want to happen right now? who is the last person i'd want to talk to? and... where's the last place i'd want to be?

once i can answer those questions... that's exactly what happens next.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

9 comments:

Lynette said...

keep a going
just keep a going
step by step
turn by turn
word by word
story by story
you can do it!

Laura said...

ooooh...that's how you guys do it. I'm always amazed at how good authors (like you) get to those places the reader would have never thought of....but is just where the story needs to go.

Martha said...

The creative process is painful, hard work, and magical. Thank you so much for sharing this insight.
I have always thought the two hardest jobs are writing and writing music.

Goddess Bless you on your journey to uncover the dimensions of your character's stories.

Abounader Photography said...

Great Post!!

Spirit said...

I am so glad that this book is coming along so well. I can not wait to read it.

Allison said...

Thank you for sharing how you do what you do.

Kim said...

good questions for life as well
it is the painful hardwork - the middle that makes the journey worth taking

Patrice said...

And what a wonderful journey for your Faithful Reader!

Kristin said...

I have really been enjoying going through this process with you. I am probably enjoying it much more then you are at this point. Thanks for letting me live vicariously.