It’s the end of February, and I finished the 2015 NaNoWriMo novel. So, do I have any thoughts on the matter?
Yes, but they’re probably not much different than I did last year when I finished NaNoWriMo No. 2.
As usual, I like what I write, and this novel is no different. I’ll probably let it sit for a number of weeks, and then edit it. It’s currently at 65,000 words, and I’ll pad it a bit to hit at least 75,000, and if I can, 80,000.
The novel is a bit of a departure for me. It’s primarily an action thriller. No magic, no science fiction . . . just a badass heroine doing badass stuff.
Actually, no martial art, but that was scary.
I now have three complete novels (and one that I still want to finish), one of which I’m shopping around. The other two will follow suit before the end of the year. Still have short stories out, but not heard anything yet. My next task (this coming week, if I recover from whatever is beating me up right now) is to revise, expand, and polish THIS STORY (read the introduction HERE). I really like the concept/premise and want to submit it as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of March. BTW, if you want to read it, ask me for the password.
All this writing activity got me thinking about THIS PIECE from three years ago. It’s an exchange with a fictional imaginary friend, and it was meant as a humor piece. There are some truths in there. Looking back, I can mark the beginning of 2014 as getting more serious about my writing.
Mind you, I’ve yet to be anointed with the term “professional”, meaning I get paid for my writing. But, I’ve only been trying for the past three months. I’m willing to give it a few more weeks. And, yes, I kid . . . it might take another month or so.
One thing that gives me pause is that I don’t seem to have some of the characteristics of writers . . . I don’t suffer from depression, insecurities, substance abuse, or something called the Impostor Syndrome.
I’m reminded of this cartoon . . .
Actually, the Impostor Syndrome kicks in once you’re successful, and you start doubting your worth as an individual and in whatever you’re successful at.
If I understand it correctly, it involves thinking one’s work is not “good enough” to warrant whatever success it has earned. I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I like what I write, how I write it, and I like reading it.
On the other hand, I recognize I’m still young at this thing called writing, and can point to works I think are better than anything I can produce right now.
BUT . . . on the other hand, I can also point to published works that enjoy a fair amount of success that are, in my opinion, poorly written (I’m reading one now, but I won’t name it, and two others I started reading and stopped – don’t know if I’ll get back to those. The stories and characters are OK, but the writing is not to my liking).
BUT . . . on the other hand, I also don’t see much of what I do like to read out there, in the marketplace. And since I write what I like to read, it points to a low probability of me being successful.
BUT . . . on the other hand, I don’t have the added pressure of trying to make a living at this.
Wait . . . how many hands have I got?
. . . for as much as professionals say they treat writing as a job, I still think some are looking for what everyone seems to want and can seldom get from outside themselves.
Wow, sometimes I’m deep.
But, back to NaNoWriMo No. 3 . . . I have to say I enjoyed writing the action. I probably screwed up a couple of plot points (I make stuff up as I go, and when you don’t plan things out, you can get into a bind), but overall I’m fairly pleased with what I wrote. No surprise there, eh?
A couple of things that might not have been evident . . . the story has a lot of female protagonists in center roles. Males are at best support roles, and at no time is the heroine (Gin) ever saved or rescued by a man.
This actually caused me to veer from one of the few plot points I brought up and then let die; that of a romantic interest. I think when I edit it I will sow the seeds to expand that aspect of it. I could have brought it back in late in the story, but it felt as if it would have come out of nowhere.
The other thing is that I tried for a more “realistic” — or as realistic as fiction can be — confrontations, specifically as it relates to the public. I think (but really don’t know) that there’s a difference between the way the public sees what I call “turf wars” (rival motorcycle gangs, drug dealers, and so on) when it involves just the active parties versus when innocent victims get caught in the crossfire.
I suspect, but again, I don’t know, the impetus to investigate the killing of someone enmeshed in a violent life might be different from the impetus to investigate the killing of an innocent civilian caught in the crossfire.
Still, I think that in a work of fiction one has to give up on some realism. I occasionally mention cameras, phones, and so on, but I completely leave out eye-witnesses accounts, someone who might come forth remembering something, and so on. I also cheat a bit by having one of the bad entities be a federal agency.
From movies, you might get the idea the Feds can go around doing practically anything they want and do so with impunity. Certainly in the short term and in isolated incidents that has been shown to be the case, but at the level described here, it would have brought in all sorts of scrutiny (or, at least, I hope so).
But, this is escapism. As much as I try to keep to realistic actions, the story has to entertain and capture the interest of the reader. In an action story, that means action. Often, over-the-top action.
One other thing I wanted to avoid is the heroine getting beat up, shot, stabbed, and then overcome both physical and mental trauma and single-handed take down a bunch of muscle-bound bad guys.
Warning: while funny, some might not like the violence in the following:
It annoys me when the hero takes a pummeling, gets stabbed, gets shot, and then, usually with the aid of a single bandage, he — or she — be out there again, kicking butt.
Look, damage to a major muscle or nerve can be debilitating, disrupt you balance, interfere with your focus. Hell, in 2003 I ripped my hamstring, and I could not make sudden moves without losing my balance, finding my leg unable to support me, and going down. A bad cramp a few years ago (HERE) had me laid up for over a month. By the way, some of those posts are password protected. The password is “summabirch”.
Getting shot or stabbed or even getting badly beaten up has serious physical repercussions and it’s why you won’t see my heroes get to the brink of death only to triumph against impossible odds. Apparently, some authors forget the meaning of “impossible”.
But, let me get off my soapbox . . . how about a quick humor break?
But, enough foreplay. The next post will contain the last three chapters, Chapters 38, 39, and 40, of my 2015 NaNoWriMo no-longer-work-in-progress.
It’s password protected. Since it’s been a while, click HERE for the previous stuff.
Please, don’t ask for a password thinking it will make me feel good. Especially, don’t ask unless you’ve read the first few chapters and know that you are interested in reading more. Unless you intend to read it, don’t ask. I will not feel hurt, I will not cry myself to sleep, I will not hate anyone who chooses not to read my effort. I will, however, get a little miffed if I get asked for passwords by a bunch of people, and then only my regular four or five readers read the stuff.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.
If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.