Monday, June 22, 2009

Marathon Training Day 8

So I'd been intending to update this sooner after the first day of marathon training, and do a sort of day to day update of "this is how much I ran," "this is how much Ihurt," "this is how far I have to go." But that clearly is not the case as it's been a week since my last update. But you know what? I have a great excuse this time! I finished the novel!

Yes, that's right, you read it here, and you read it clear. I finished writing my first novel on Sunday after a really good 6 hour session of sitting at Starbucks that resulted in about 8,000 words getting written (that's not including the 5,ooo that were added the day before at the same Starbucks). This marathon weekend of writing ended me with a completed book. The Rider (as it's being called for now) is about 117,000 words long (which is about 520 typed pages for those who need a better reference). There are still two scenes (roughly) that need to get added in, but in order to do that properly I need to rewrite about 50 pages of the book, so I figure I'll be getting on that here in the next week or so.

This is the part that I was very excited to get to. Gone (at least as far as The Rider is concerned) is the day to day "the writing was good!" or "the writing was shit...why am I even doing this?" sorts of posts. Putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as it were, is interesting only so far. It's something that we all know how to do. And Stephen King said it best in his book, On Writing (an absolute masterwork of the craft, and a must read):

"A radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply--"one word at a time"

(King, 151)

That's all writing really comes down to. Just putting one word after another. Story on the other hand takes editing, and a story that really works takes the fine-tuning and discerning eye. Examination under a microscope. And above all else, editing takes time.

The first question I was asked when I finished the novel (other than my friend James who called shotgun in my post-published private jet, to which I told him he clearly didn't know any authors, and could gladly call basket seat in my post-published private bicycle) was when's it going to be published, now that it's done?

"It's not done," I tell them, and they look at me perplexed (especially my dad).

"I thought you said you finished it," they say.

"I did," I say. "Now begins the editing process."

"How long is that going to take?"

"I dunno," I say, "six months?"

"You're crazy," they say.

And irregardless of my sanity, it is this part of the writing process which I find more exciting than anything else. I've mounded up all the clay into a very rough, vaguely elephant-shaped statue. But really it doesn't look like an elephant yet. Now I get to work the clay, chipping away the parts I don't need. Detailing the finer points. Refining the story down until that mound of clay I've piled up looks like a damn realistic elephant. It's here where the real craft begins, and I have the feeling that it is here where I'm going to learn the most about writing.

While that's happening of course, I'm getting started on my next project(s). I'm taking a couple days to oggle stories that I've started and left unfinished. I've got a project with my friend Duke, where we're writing each other stories, and challenging each other to push a cohesive narrative forward. It's steeped in the New Weird (think China Mielville) genre, and it's a very interesting exercise in world-building, and thinking on the fly. I'm also looking at a story of which I have about 100 pages done (most of which are in serious need of a reexamination) called Bombed! I think I've talked about it here before. It's Harold and Kumar meets the Road. Superbad meets Fallout. A post-apocalyptic-stoner-buddy-roadtrip-comedy. Something far lighter than The Rider, which sounds nice after dealing with such a heavy, heavy topic as The Rider was. We'll see what piques my interest.

And on to the Marathon training for the end of this exorbitantly long post.

It's day 8 of training (see the blogpost title). My current mileage is 15 miles. They've been far more grueling than I'd thought they would be (especially the 6 miler on Saturday). I also have rediscovered the importance of hydrating (something I seem to rediscover every time I start running regularly).

Tonight was supposed to be a night off, but because I took yesterday off to finish the novel, tonight is an hour of crosstraining (walking the dog, riding my bike, punching bag, or whatever). Tomorrow is another three miler.

And on that note i need to attempt some more productivity at my internship. More to come later!


Anonymous June 22, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

You always seem to re-discover running about this time of year, when it's hotter than hell. Anyway congrats finishing the writing portion. Good luck on the editing portion, and that "six month time line".