Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Novel #2 Status: Complete!

I finished another book.  The rough draft, at least.  It took me over a year (hey, that's less time than the first book), but I got there eventually.  I completely blame AP exams and graduation for not finishing in under a year.  Before editing, it sits at 77,017 words, which is longer than I expected, but in a good way.


I wish I could give you an "official" description.  Or even a title.  Alas, I still have neither.  To recap the scattered description I wrote when I blogged about first starting this project, Untitled Sci-Fi Book About Icarus and Other Stuff is the story of two seventeen-year-olds, Everett Flinch and Mason Ardale.  The former has an ability that allows him to jump off anything, no matter how high, and never be hurt by the fall.  The latter is the ward of Marcus Brookwell, a sketchy guy that heads an organization called the Minotaur, which is trying to replicate Everett's ability.  It's not just them, though: we can't forget Mason's musical- and skater skirt-loving ex-girlfriend, or Everett's skeptical younger brother, or his double agent mother, or a man in a secluded cabin, or Icarus, the legend himself.  Other important things include a can of royal blue spray paint, a fire tower, a Captain America t-shirt, a silver pickup truck, a laboratory, and a pair of metal wings.

Or, as I wrote for the description of my Pinterest inspiration board for this book: "This is the story of Everett Flinch, the boy who cannot fall.  It is the story of Mason Ardale, the boy with nothing to lose and everything to hide.  It is the story of Sydney Fen, the girl who saw too much.  It is the story of Marcus Brookwell, the man with a vision that would change the world--or put him in prison.  It is the story of Rachelle Flinch, the woman must join the enemy to save her sons.  Finally, it is the story of Icarus, the legend who has lived too long."

As always, the novel didn't turn out looking anything like I expected.  They never do.  When I first had the idea, I envisioned it as a quiet, more literary magical realism piece.  Somehow it became a kind-of-sci-fi-kind-of-fantasy thriller.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I think it works better this way.  Besides, I've never really tried my hand at quiet, literary magical realism piece, but I doubt it's my thing.  I'm more Eoin Colfer than I am Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Besides, a more commercial style allows me to make all sorts of fandom/pop culture references.  I was definitely playing the "how many Marvel references can I stick into this story before people get annoyed with me" game.  I mention Steve Rogers a few too many times--does the average person even know who that is?  This is problematic, since his story was a heavy inspiration for mine.

Overall, though, this book was a totally different experience from the last one.  Secrets of the Legend Chaser was all street thieves punching princes (to be fair, the prince punched back and then taught the thief how to use a sword) and everyone was riding dragons and sneaking around in castles and such.  And now my characters can actually drive places and send text messages.  Nothing can replace my love for high fantasy, but the twenty-first century sure is convenient.

Like everything else I've ever written, it was a learning experience, if nothing else.  I came up with a huge list of odd questions, including:

Do straight guys notice other guys' abs?  (The jury is still out on this one.)
What do you call those cushioned tables with the weird paper in doctor's offices?  (Exam tables.  They're called exam tables.  I won't even tell you how long it took me to figure that out.)
Is there such thing as an intravenous tracker?  (Hey, it's my book, so why not?)
Is cupholder even a word?  (Not according to Microsoft Word, but I used it anyway.)
Can I invent nonexistent Minneapolis skyscrapers at will and pretend they're real?  (Yes.)
What kind of gun do you use for a holdup?  A pistol, or something else?   (Never judge a writer based on her search history.)
Is there a way to disable doors marked "alarm will sound"?  (There's actually an entire website dedicated to this type of thing.  The legality of their ideas is questionable, but it's a gold mine for writers.)

I also learned a few things about myself.  Mainly, that I can never let characters be happy for long.  Sometimes I'm all "I love my characters--here, have some happiness" and other times I'm "LET THEM BURN.  THEY MUST ALL SUFFER." and there's no in-between.   Let's face it.  I want to be the Steven Moffat of my generation.  I want to cause havoc in fandoms.  For some reason, that sounds like an awesome job.  (If nothing else, Moffat can plot like nobody's business.)

--my characters, probably
Miscellaneous notes about the book: First line: "I had one chance to convince Everett Flinch to come quietly. If he didn’t, well, things wouldn’t go well. For either of us."  Last line(s): "'I’m right behind you,' I said, but he was already halfway to the ground. I followed his lead, positioning myself for the fall.  No, not the fall.  The flight."  Chapters: 37.  Characters (including spaces): 417,228.  Average words written per day (excluding days I didn't write at all): 520.  Hypothetical movie casting includes: Andrew Garfield, Jack Gleeson, Rupert Graves, Jenna Coleman, Samantha Ferris.  Songs on playlist include: 'Icarus' by Bastille, 'C'mon' by Fun. and Panic! at the Disco, 'Nothing Left To Say / Rocks' by Imagine Dragons, 'Don't Look Down' by OneRepublic, 'Lost!' by Coldplay, 'Broken Arrow' by The Script, '1961' by The Fray, 'All Alright' by Fun., 'Sloom' by Of Monsters And Men.

But I ramble.  The main thing is: it's done.  It needs revision, and I probably need to re-outline it to make sure the structure is sound.  Still, it's in better shape than SotLC was after just one draft, and I'm proud of that.  Will you see either of them in bookstores ever?  I don't know about that (but I can always hope).  No matter what happens, though, Everett Flinch and Mason Ardale had a story that needed to be told.  I told it as best I could.

What's next?  I thought I knew exactly what book was up next.  I have another story begging to be told, this one about a girl who daydreams excessively and makes up intricate stories in her head, only to find out that these characters are slowly becoming real.  There's a catch, though: the more they exist, the less she exists. But then, a few months ago, another idea smacked me in the face, a sci-fi/dystopian novel that I'll only describe for now as "copyright law gone horribly wrong in a beautiful way".  As much as the idea of writing a dystopia makes me hesitate, a friend and I spent some time brainstorming and I think it has potential.  We'll see what happens, though.  Right now I'm just happy because I finished my current work in progress.


What are you writing right now?  How is it going?  Any title-searching tips?
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4 comments:

  1. Congratulations!! I'm still trying to work through my first novel. Now, I'm absolutely horrible when it comes to creating title names, but I'll give it a shot. I think it would be cool to name it Icarus (I'm a sucker for one word names; that's how I roll), but another would be Don't Look Down (yes, I may have potentially stolen this from one of your playlist songs, but who cares? Songs make great titles). In other words, I love your playlist and only haven't heard of two songs on there (woo! New songs!).

    I wish you the best in revising one book, getting another published, and potentially trying to write another one, and then publishing the second book. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! Good luck with writing your first novel--I can't say it gets easier from there, but you'll learn a lot from it. I have actually thought of Don't Look Down as a title (I love the song, and it fits the book so well), but a few other books have the same title, which makes me hesitate. None seem like bestsellers (the one with the most Goodreads ratings is a chicklit novel from '05 that I've never heard of), but still. It's interesting, though, that we've both had the same idea for it.

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  2. Congrats! And good luck on the editing! I am writing the fourth or fifth draft of my first novel. (I've tried moving on and working on two different WIPs at the same time, but this one calls to me.)

    When I saw "characters" up there, I thought you had meant characters, not the letters of the words, and I was like, "How do you write over 400,000 characters into one novel?!" And then I re-read it and realized. In my defense, I am trying to read this, listen to your playlist there, and focus on my Early and Medieval Britain studying. (I just started college. And I took some weird, awesome, random classes.)

    Anyways. May you have the best of luck in revisions, querying, etc. on two separate works. :D

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    1. Thanks! Good luck with your own writing, as well! And yeah, 400,000 people in one novel would be a lot. I hope you enjoyed the playlist! Your class sounds interesting--I'm taking East Asian Civilizations this semester, so that's also kind of random, but hopefully interesting.

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