writing

Novel Updates!

It’s been a crazy summer! Weddings, milestone birthdays, family from out of
town staying with my wife and I. Whew! I’m glad my schedule has finally cleared
up enough that I can work on my tech series, and get back to writing my novels.

I got about a quarter into novel three when my editor handed me her copy of
novel two. Meanwhile, I’m super excited about novel four, which I’ll be
starting in November for nanowrimo. In fact, I worked up so much excitement for
novel four that I made major progress on the outline for it this morning. I
figure I can prep as much as possible to try to hit 60k this year instead of
doing the minimum of 50.

My second novel is sitting at just above fifty thousand words while it’s
waiting to be edited. I’m definitely going for seventy or more with that one.
There’s a lot more action that can be added to it, and a ton that could be
added to the plot to make it smoother. That one is my first nanowrimo novel, so
I’ve got my work cut out for me. Luckily, there are really only a handful of
characters that matter at all to the plot in this one. If I can finish novel
three next month, I’m hoping to finish editing this one by November first. I’m
already overlapping my work, and that’s something I don’t find thrilling.

Novel three is about half done at this point. It’s at about 36k words right
now. I’m shooting for doubling that, but the plot in that one is much more
complex than any of the other books I’ve worked on, or plan on writing for that
matter. There are four main characters who aren’t all together in the same
place like the boys of “Falderal”, or the old men of novel two. They’re in the
same town, at least, but even then, not always. There are also several more
minor characters in novel three. Either way, messy plot lines are something
that I can clean up after the beast that is draft one is finished. If I can fit
in about an hour a day of writing, I should be done on schedule.

I’m really excited about the stories being told in all of the books I’m working
on. Obviously, if I weren’t, there’d be no point in writing them. One of the
things I’m most proud about is that these books aren’t sci-fi or fantasy. I’ve
always read those genres, but I really miss the fiction written to mimic real
life experiences. What I’m doing with my books is sort of trying to fill that
hole. Maybe it’s not there, maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think I see
it.

I’ve posted here about novel two before. It’s going to be called “This Close to
Sitting Ducks”. It’s about an old couple that moves out to the New England
country-side, opening a small grocery store, hoping for a quiet life. After a
few years there, a famous artist moves in next door, bringing massive, out of
control parties with him. This pattern continues after the artist’s tragic
death, driving the main character closer to insanity over time.

Novel three is something I’ve kept under wraps, except for discussing with a
few very close friends. It takes place in a southwest town I spent a few years
in while growing up. Most of the events in the story, including the main plot,
are inspired by real events that happened to myself and people I know. It’s an
extremely dark book, because that town was and still is an extremely dark place
for its inhabitants. A lot of people I know who made it out still say it’s a
place that leaves a piece of that darkness in your soul for the rest of your
life.

The reason I’ve kept that novel under wraps, for the most part, is two fold.
First, it was the first novel I started work on. It was a project that turned
out to be too big for me to complete without the experience of writing
something novel sized under my belt. A good chunk of my way into that one on my
first attempt quickly grew to be intimidating and overwhelming. I abandoned it
in favor of writing “Falderal”, then “This Close to Sitting Ducks”. When I
decided it was finally time to tackle it, I rewrote ninety percent of what I
had.

The second reason I’ve been pretty quiet about novel three, which, by the way,
is titled “40 x 491”, is that it takes place in a town made up of folks of a
specific culture. The story kind of revolves around those people, so I’m doing
my best not to exploit or violate them in any way. I want to tell the horrible,
tragic tales that happened around us, but in a way that doesn’t take advantage
of the people who live there, or who were hurt in the events the plot is based
on. Yes, the story could take place anywhere. In my mind, though, it would be
best to tell it where it happened. It’s part of the Truth to me.

A lot of people outside the American southwest don’t know that Native Americans
still exist, that they’re real people, and that they don’t live in tee pees. A
lot of folks aren’t educated on their ongoing plight, or the abuses they
suffer. Here’s the thing, though. I’m not writing a book about a ravished
people. While I believe standing up with people to fight with them is right,
that’s not what I am doing with this story. It’s a story about a few college
kids, who happen to live in a town that bordered the reservation.

Maybe everything I’m doing is ignorant, and I should stop. I don’t know. That
said, I’m compelled to tell a story that represents people I loved with every
bit of my soul. If it is a mistake, I’ll pay for my sins later. That said, it
feels necessary to stress the fact that I’m treading lightly, and doing my best
to leave as few footprints in their house as possible. This book means a lot
more to me than any story I will ever tell.

My next post will probably be about novel four. I don’t have a name for it,
yet. The plot isn’t fully hashed out, either, but writing a post about it
should help me work out the details. Maybe a chapter from Novel two deserves a
post soon, too. We’ll see what happens. Whatever comes next, happy reading!

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