Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Learning Experience

I suspect that it may be the case with all first novels, but The Rider (tentative title of my first novel) has been one epic humbling and learning experience. It was started with the same gusto and blind excitement that I'm sure every first novel is started with. It's been through ups and downs. And now, almost two years later I'm seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.

I've got under 30,000 words to go if things continue on the course they are now. It's around this point where suddenly everything has to start coming together. This is a very frightening experience. I get the sense that I made everything a lot easier on myself by just tossing everyone towards a big showdown in one location. A whole bunch of forces are about to collide and I already have a sense of who is supposed to come through. It's like cheating.

In early draft's I'd had a character Loki, and his buddy, a boy, Daniel, who got slashed back in October when I was trying to really figure out the essence of the story. Now a few months later it turns out that they are necessary for the story. It's funny how it was like I almost knew what I was doing. Maybe that is the inevitability of the story driving itself.

There was a point, I suspect it was October when the heavy thinking took place, where I'd reached the point where just slinging ideas together was no longer going to cut it, and bringing it to a close was important. It resulted in sweeping cuts, some of which are still happening. Over winter break I chopped about 10,000 words off, which I, only a couple weeks ago, made back up.

By far the greatest strength, which wasn't utilized in the early sections of the novel, was journaling. This feels a bit like eating my own words, because I was always terrible and angry at journaling. By just having a notebook that I could work thoughts out on paper gave me a concordance and commentary that I could draw from, and an understanding of exactly what I was thinking at the time. This is becoming endlessly important facing down the climactic battle of Beulah which is just before the denoument of the story.

I'll be blogging more about this sort of thing I suspect in the coming weeks as I really start to bring this beast in for a landing.