July 26th, 2009


New novel, maybe

I have tried to write novels in the past, but they petered out. My first NaNoWriMo ended up at 40K, then I got 11K and my last attempt to get a novel out ended at 30K. I don't think I can start at the beginning and go through the novel step by step without a strong master plan, so I went and found a book (well, happened upon it) that goes through the whole process. The book is full of stuff that seems counterintuitive, or at least full of MFA-style contradictions (By going through this 22 step process you will have a novel that reads like a natural story... that sort of thing).

So I went through the book and started with a story I wanted to tell, one that I thought was a short story that had petered out in four drafts. (It's a bitch knowing where the story needs to end up but not how it gets there.) So I followed the book, and I've been reading a few other books about screenplay craftsmanship (because that's what the library has in stock). A movie would have 40 to 70 'beats' of plot, which could be treated as individual scenes. A novel, according to these sources, has twice as much. The definition of a scene is Aristotlean: One action in one place at one time.

I have 25.

This seems too short for a novel, but too long for a short story, and of course I won't know until I start writing it, but I have more planning I have to do on the individual scenes. Hopefully I will find the scenes I have aren't enough, or I'm misunderstanding what I want to do or mixing too many important steps in the same beat.

It will all have to wait, though, because I have meetings Monday to Sunday. I'll be working on this project on the long bus rides to work, probably.