Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And, then I had a thought...

So, been working on the manuscript for a bit.  And, I think I have run out of steam a little.  I have a little over nine thousand words.  I had already added a little from a previous edition.  The big question is if I should add more and therefore, KNOW I will get over the eighty pages.  Or, keep going the way I am going and just write?

Friday, March 18, 2011


Been writing more of that story, which is good.  Yet, it makes me think about where I want to stop and let that editor go at it.  There are all kinds of advice that run through my head and there are two points that come close to it, I think.

One goal while I was in school was to get to fifty pages by the end of the semester.  I was going to CSULB and taking a creative writing novel course.  The prevailing wisdom was that if you could get the story to fifty pages, then it had a chance to be a real and true novel.  Yes, the scenes might not all be there and the writing might be horrendous, yet it was a good goal for me.  (It was also a way to thin out some of those who thought that this would be an "easy" class.  I took the class many times, mostly because I had far to many units from previous schools and was trying to take advantage of working on a novel in these classes.)  It was pretty easy for me to get to fifty pages.  Yet, the semester would end and I would go off and forget my manuscript to work on something else or to knock off the writing for a few days.  (THAT is also the subject of another blog.  Hopefully I remember to come back to it.)  So, when school started up again, I would need to find a new project.

The other goal was from something I read by Terry Pratchett in The Writer's Guide to Fantasy Literature.  He talked about something called a "Draft Zero."  This was the draft no one saw, only he did.  And, the main goal of this was to get the manuscript to eighty pages.  Once again, not everything was where it should be or well written, but the meat of the story was there.  Once that was done, he could start in on a actual "First Draft" and start the editing process.

I think I might try for the full eighty pages.  Once that gets done, I can start at the beginning again and at least attempt to edit the thing.

There is one thing that does come to mind though.  Since I have been working on this for many years and the drafts have built up and built up, do I really need to get to that eighty?  Should I stop sooner?  Or should I even keep going longer?  What if I hit eighty pages and I don't want to stop?  What if I keep going and this "Draft Zero" is actually something like two hundred pages?  Granted, that might not happen, but I am a writer and love to play the what if game.

I suppose I will keep going until I think I have reached the end of the story.  Whether that is at fifty pages, eighty pages or even two hundred.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Word Count/Page count update and other randomness...

So, I started a new project a few days ago.  And, I already have 5,000 words of it done.  One reason it is coming so easy is that I have been working on this thing for a long time.  And, I think I have even taken the J.R.R. Tolkien approach to writing.  It has been written that he started the LotR novel--

(Yes novel, it was suppose to be one long book and not broken up into sections.  That is one reason why many find Two Towers and Return so hard to get into, the novel was chopped up by Ballentine because they thought no American reader would read a thousand page book about elves.  Oh well...)

--about four or five times.  And, each time he felt like he couldn't go forward any more, he scrapped the whole thing and started fresh.  Many writers I know would say this is insanity and would scream at Papa Tolkien and say, "You can re-write it man!  Just keep going forward.  Or revise, don't scrap it."  Yet, he was a linguist and not a creative writer.

Where am I going with this?  Well, I have been working on this for years and years.  For a long time, I just wrote and wrote and then re-wrote and re-wrote.  Yet, there came a time when I couldn't anymore.  I went on to other things, yet this story was in the back of my mind.  I also let some people read it and when I got their feedback, it helped.  Yet, I still felt like there was something missing.

So, I let it sit on the back burner and went to grad school.  Worked on a completely different novel and that one is now in a contest.  And, I feel that after having gotten into steampunk, I realized that was missing from the story.  So, I started again, last year.  And I got maybe fifty pages in and it stopped flowing.  So, I tried to revise and re-write.  Nothing.

And I shelved it and moved on to other things again.  Now, it burst back into my head while I stared at the blank page of my computer screen.  And, for the past few days I've been riding that wave.  I know that the dreaded fifty page mark is coming in...and with the way things are going, I might reach it soon.  The fifty page mark is something I learned in a writing class.  If you can get a novel to fifty pages, then you have something that can sustain itself.  I know it can sustain itself, I am simply hoping it will continue on past those fifty pages, even though I know what is suppose to happen in the story.

Only time will tell.

First post

Ah, the first post of a blog.  Always the best, and sometimes worst.  Well, I guess I should tell you a little about myself.

My name is Lon Varnadore.  I'm an amateur writer who is looking to break into science ficton and fantasy publishing.  I have written a sci-fi novel that is currently in a contest and I'm waiting for that to win or lose.  I might put up an excerpt from it in a future post.

Currently, I'm working on a steampunky fantasy novel.  I say steampunky because there are elements of it.  Yet, they won't dominate the novel.  The fantasy part does.  I have been working on this for a number of years.  Yet, I can never get the story to work out in my head.  It always slipped from my grasp and I have to work on something else.

The first incarnation of this story was written long ago in 2000.  It was a week after Christmas and I was in need of something to work on.  I had recently seen the LotR:Fellowship of the Ring, and having finished rereading it already a few days before seeing the movie itself, I reached out for a concept.  The idea of healing the world was in the back of my head and I went about writing something along those lines.

Ten years down the line, that idea is buried somewhere in the story.  However, so much more has changed.  I will get into more of that when there is more of the story written.  A large part of why many writers don't discuss--or at least the ones I've read about and some I know--is that if we discuss the story in to great a detail, we lose that want to write it down.

I will end this by saying thank you for reading this and I hope you shall follow this blog.