Monday, I began work on the SF novel. As I said before, the Dick Bachman to my Steve King is doing this one. In other words, my Dick is writing a novel. (I’ll wait while you guys groan over this tired old joke.)
So how’s it going?
Around 11:30 on Monday, I fled the building for a nearby park, grabbing my lunch on the way out the door. Driving to the park, about a mile from where I work, gives me about 45 minutes to write. During Holland Bay, I could just squeeze out 1000 words in this time. However, while Holland Bay can be considered a first draft, there was a draft before it. I already knew the story, even if it changed.
I don’t really know this story yet. It has resisted all attempts to outline it. I managed about 600 words. In reality, while I know who some of the characters are, and I’ve written one short story contained in the novel’s storyline, I still don’t know how to arrange everything.
I’ve been here before. The beginning of a novel is often the hardest part – lots of false starts and moments like Billy Crystal in Throw Mama From the Train pacing and saying “The night was dry but rainy… No, that won’t work!
The typical novel has three “acts,” like a movie or a play. The second act is difficult not because it’s hard to get motivated. It’s hard because Isuckitis sets in. Or you just get tired of the damn thing. Or you set several plotlines in motion with no clue how to resolve them all. It’s at the end of the second act I frequently stop writing.
But then there’s the third act, the payoff. Writing the third act is like sex. You don’t want to stop until you climax. More specifically, this is where you start to see where everything is headed. If you’ve done your job properly, you become your own reader, itching to see how it all ends. On all three Kepler novels, I actually took a day off to finish. The day I finished Bad Religion, I ended up writing 3500 words because I had to know.
For now, I wanted to get started. That’s hard enough with any novel. But it’s also a new universe, new genre, even a new byline. I have to get to know all these things.