Monday, September 22, 2014

On Finishing Your Novel

I haven't posted much lately. I'm trying to finish my first full-length novel, titled "Zombie Apocalypse, Vampire Raiders of Las Vegas."

Okay, that's the working title.

If you think you want to write a novel, go for it. I'll tell you it is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever do. You won't believe me; that's okay. A standard novel is 60,000 words. You'll get to 5,000 words and think "This is a piece of cake" and believe you'll be finished by the weekend. If you manage to hit 40,000 words, you will weep that you are only 2/3rds to the virtual goal. You'll wonder if you can ever finish. I suspect there are a lot of people with personal novels in a desk drawer somewhere that have five to forty thousand written words - and they will never be finished. I have a few.

When you hit sixty thousand words you will want to go have a celebratory drink. I don't drink, but for a little while I empathized with the roaring alcoholic authors of days past. I salute you! I now understand why the bottle brought you relief.

Then you run into the opposite problem. You're over the virtual finish line and your novel won't be finished. I'm currently at over 67,000 words. They aren't all good words; many will need to be deleted during the edit phase…

I just need to get to the end of the story first.

Ah, and then the editing begins. This is when you must become a cold-hearted machine of verbal death, killing all the words that do not progress your story and deleting entire scenes that are dear to you, but boring to the reader (I say, Mr. Tolstoy, did you skip the editing?).  It helps to have a good editor. I have an incredible one who only charges me a dollar a page. My editor has an eye for detail and an ear for pacing. I already have to plan a rewrite for the first five chapters. (Email me if you want my editor's name.)

My edited novel will be so much better…

… when I finish it…

… if it doesn't end up in a drawer somewhere (like my seventeen other partial novels).

Oh, you'll hear about it when I finish it

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