Thursday, 5 October 2017

Writing mood

Today I tried to work on my novel. I wrote maybe seven hundred words.

The average finished sci fi or fantasy novel tends to run up to 100,000 words, or even more. If I wrote a thousand words a day for a hundred days, without deleting or going back to edit, that would probably be enough for a rough first draft. Then I'd be able to START editing - cut and add and cut and add.

So seven hundred words in a day doesn't feel like a lot, especially when the fifteen thousand words I have so far feel like I'm barely getting started on the ideas in my head.

Yesterday I was in the right mood and did over two thousand words. That felt good. At the same time, it was the first day I've had both that right mood and the drive to write in... I don't know, months. But at least now I feel like I'm starting to get a good handle on what that mood is and how I get there.

Yesterday I finished The Dark Tower series. The entire story felt rich and heavy, not dark but big, as if there's far more to the world and its lost history than I was able to see, like the 4500 page epic only just scratched the surface. It's a world that's slowly falling apart, where it feels like the grand events of heroism and villainy are long past and remembered only in legend. And without spoiling anything, after that kind of tale, the story doesn't have a neat, clean, upbeat happy ending. It left me with a lot of big ideas and worldbuilding to work through, and a sort of... I don't know if melancholy is the right word, but it's pretty close. (a few other stories that give me a similar feeling include the Southern Reach trilogy, the Lord of the Rings, Bioshock, SOMA, Dune, and HP Lovecraft's work)

So that was the mood I needed, and it just so happened that the video game I'm super into right now wasn't working, so I had the time and the tone to write. And I banged out several thousand words pretty much without pause, only stopping because I ran out of time and had to catch a boat.

You could guess that I'm not exactly writing a story that's fun and inspirational, and you'd guess right. This particular story and protagonist are going to be kind of dark, but the other feeling I want to work in is that it's a small part of a huge world - and it helps that I'm combining a whole bunch of fictional worlds into one, so there's plenty of stuff to reference and visit in other stories. There's easily potential for dozens of distinct stories in this world, but I'm trying not to think about that too much yet - I want a strong self-contained story that's part of a larger universe, not a crappy story that only exists to set up that larger universe (cough cough Sony's Amazing Spider-Man 2).

I'm kind of getting away from where I started, though. The point of this is that I need to find a better, faster way of getting myself into that frame of mind than reading a 4500 page story or watching a 12 hour extended trilogy, because that's a little too time consuming.

Maybe I just need to force myself to write every day, like I keep telling myself to. Even if it's not more of my novel, I should still just write. Start putting down pieces of other stories, do a blog post, whatever - just SOMETHING.

So I guess this is that first step. Gotta make sure the second step comes tomorrow, and the third the next day, and etc.

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