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Words I’ve written

June 11, 2012

Novel is presently at fourteen thousand.

This doesn’t cover the space it’s going to take up. I’m going to do a lot of my writing in edits.

Let me explain. I’m not a good linear writer. Those people who can just visualize a scene and relay it literally: I envy them. My scenes, so far, are messes of tangled plot, snappy dialog, and the occasional physical touchstone. Two men will talk too much, one of them will throw a plate, and there will be a precious nugget of exposition to explain something.

Not how a novel looks, of course. A novel needs description. It needs place, it needs atmosphere. What I’m writing is presently devoid of atmosphere.

This is for a couple reasons. One, I want to get plot and character out there. I’ve written a post non-nominally about character for later in the week, but they’re there. Two is a different reason: I don’t know what I want it to look like.

I know my strengths as a writer pretty well. I write good dialog. I do that: I can make people talk like a cool version of real life. That’s my strength, and if I had foresight or friends in the biz I’d probably have become a screenwriter. I’m also a fairly solid editor: I write better the second time than the first (that’s why this blog is littered with poor sentences).

So I’m writing much more downhill than I usually do. I’m ditching art for speed, for figuring out what happens. Instead of dwelling on what the main city of the introductory act of the book looks like, I focused on landmarks, on things I want to remember, on the people who live there. In rewrites it can become real: for now, it is a set in the back of a warehouse.

It’s going well, though. My five protagonists (I’m employing a loose multiple perspective, with a fairly omniscient voice) are all feeling like they can carry the weight of the piece. None of them feel particularly cliched in my mind: we have a reticent politician, a conflicted law-woman, a boy joining the priesthood, a vaguely sociopathic Albert Einstein analogue, and an oppressed, captive gunnery captain whose situation is immensely weird. We’re looking at a very strange world through very strange eyes. A few of these characters stories will conclude by the end of the book, while others will be setting up future plots.

Okay, time to write, right?

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