After 30 chapters, 54277 words and nearly 4 months of writing, I have come to a necessary yet depressing realization: I need to start over on this book.
My computer didn't get fried, a dog didn't eat my work in progress, and I didn't get writer's block. It wasn't like I found out this exact story has already been done (although that's always a possibility, says my paranoid self-consciousness). But what I did find was that I've been writing this book outside my usual genre, being young adult.
But how could I have a "usual" genre, since I've only completed one other book? The reason is sort of lame, yet simple: That's the only kind of writing I've done, and recently, the only kind of reading I've done. Hunger Games, Trylle, Divergent, Forest of Hands and Teeth - that's what I've been reading, and they're all teen series.
If young adult is all that I've put out, and all that's coming in, how can I suddenly expect to jump into horror for adults? Even while writing I've noticed teen novel-isms coming through, and they're usually out of place. It's just where I am in this life endeavor. But I do hope, in time, to grow as a writer. To branch out in the future. I don't plan on being in the young adult genre forever.
Unless, of course, it's a rather lucrative path to take.
Which brings me to another, perhaps seemingly lamer, reason why I'm switching the genre on this book: I think it will be more marketable. I think it will sell more easily. I think it will have a better chance at furthering my "career" (fingers still crossed).
If you don't like teen literature, or you're getting tired of it, I apologize. But I know that this shift will make the story better, have it flow out of me more easily, become more cohesive. It will increase chances that fans of the Float series will also be fans of the Sludge series.
Some things in the story are changing, some aren't. The setting's the same. A lot of the character's names and roles are the same, just needs a little tweaking. The protagonist, Zaul, will be starting a new school instead of a new job, and will be living with a sort of guardian instead of living alone. Mainly the tone, the narration, is what needs the most work.
And yes, Zaul will still crave human flesh.
All the work I've done, the time I've already spent writing Sons of Sludge, is unfortunately for the most part down the toilet. But in the end, I think it's a good thing. I think you'll get a better product, and a more powerful story. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I haven't written much material in my newborn "career" (fingers crossed) as an author, so I can't say I've been around the literary block a few times, or have any keen insight into the industry. Hell, I don't even know any other authors, on a personal level. But one thing I have learned...
I am so damned spoiled. Spoiled rotten. If I were any more spoiled, I'd be throwing a fit at my 9th birthday party because last year I got 87 presents, but this year I only got 83.
*cue audience laugh track*
This revelation mostly comes from comparing the writing process now to what it was several years ago. Let's start with word processing. Before its rise to prevalence on personal computers, the typewriter was King. Yes, many authors still use one - but I never have. Never needed to. The seduction of spell check, easy formatting, rapid editing, copy and paste - it seems too easy, but that's because it is. The thought of manually feeding paper into a machine, the frustration of seeing "teh" instead of "the", but not being able to fix it until you retype the whole page...
What a nightmare for lazy ol' me.
But perhaps the most significant contribution to my lethargy is the internet. In fact, just now, I was quite confident I used the word "lethargy" in the proper context, but just to be sure I ran over to thesaurus.com to verify. No gigantic dictionaries or volumes of encyclopedias sitting around my desk. Everything I (think I) need is right at my fingertips, constantly updated, and free.
I try to think back to the olden days, when an author actually had to research and investigate a subject before putting pen to paper. What a pain. Need some info on ancient Greek customs? Drive to the library. Want to know the distance between two cities in your work in progress? Pull out a map, and calculate it your damn self. Don't have the right map? Go back to the library. And so on, and so on.
Maybe it's just the culture I grew up in, but I think a writing process like that would drive me insane. I might not even be writing, if I lived in such a world without the comforts that I have today. But perhaps authors from the 70's or 80's would say the same thing about writing before the advent of the typewriter. Or even earlier writers shuddering at the thought of publication before the invention of moveable type.
*Gutenberg fist bump*
And, of course, the recent rise of e-books and self-publishing online have made it possible for me to make my content available without enduring the grueling publication process of landing a deal with a traditional publisher. But I guess the downside to all that is it makes it easier for everyone else, so I'm a smaller fish in a bigger pond.
I guess what I'm trying to say is... Thank you, to all the technological innovations that have made being a writer easier - and kudos, to all the authors who managed without tehm.