A Life Of Fiction LXVII
For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.
Looking Back On NaNoWriMo: NaNoWriMo, for those who have not heard of it, is an acronym formed out of the first few letters of National Novel Writing Month. It is the month of November (or Movember if you grow a moustache in that time), and the idea is that you write 50,000 words within that month on a piece of work, ideally a novel.
Yes, I know that November is long gone now, but I prepare these posts in advance, and past them once a week or so, once I have access to an internet connection. But as I actually write these words it is still late November. And I have recently completed the challenge.
The tale which came out of NaNoWriMo was Empire of Steam, all of the chapters of which are available on this website. I conceived the idea of the story in the days leading up to November. But I did not actually begin writing the story until the morning of Saturday the 1st of November – if you’re going in for something like this I don’t see the point of cheating.
I was more than a little hung over, having been out the night before. Perhaps that was not the most conducive of situations in which to begin a novel. But I wanted to get started as soon as November began. So I began putting one word after the other, knowing that I would almost certainly still be writing by the time that it began to get dark.
I wrote some three thousand words that day, and he next, and so on. I try to write an average of three thousand words each and every day. That is my target. But it is usually split between several projects at a time, rather than just on a single project. It is a lot easier to write three thousand words on several projects because, if you get stuck on one, you can simply move to another one. But if I was going to get this project done I did not really have that option. I was going to write Empire of Steam until it was completed – or, at the very least, until I had done the first fifty thousand words of it.
If everything went to plan I would complete the fifty thousand words on my birthday – that was, of course, unless I got writer’s block. But even though I write reasonably quickly, in terms of word count, I was not sure that I could complete something in such a short time: the next shortest amount of time which I had spent on a project as big was about five or six weeks, I think, on the novel Sevastopol. Some of my novels, despite being very short, had taken years to complete, with many months pondering the middle and end of the novel.
The name of the novel was chosen because one of the boards which I go on is the wonderful Steampunk Empire (it is in the links section). As might be guessed, it is a steampunk site. So I decided to write a steampunk novel, or one with similar themes. A lot of my novels are what are called gaslamp fantasy, in that they involve mystical elements. But this novel was not going to have any Magick in it. The only other noel which I had written which might be considered to be steampunk is The War For Wars.
I’m not going to go into the details of the plot here, apart from to say that it is quite a downbeat tale. As all of the chapters are free to read you can have a look and make up your own mind about the story. I have put it available for free on this site – rather than charge for it on Kindle – because it is not as polished as my other works, having been a first draft only, written very quickly.
Yes, I wrote it very quickly, and I managed, somehow, not to run out of steam, although there were times that I wished that it was all over, and I could go back to rambling along on my other projects (such as The Black Museum, which I had to put aside for a while). I hit fifty thousand words on my birthday, just as I had initially planned. And I felt one of those great buzzes you get when you have finished a body of work. It was not as strong as when I finished The Absinthe Club (my first completed novel) but it was still there.
By then I had almost completed the story. I had already decided to include my notes concerning the plot at the back of the tale, just to make sure that it came over the fifty thousand words. As it was, I would not have needed them: the story is a smidgen over fifty thousand words without them. But they are there, just as I hurriedly scribbled them down in my notebooks as I was planning the novel. No word has been changed. I hope that at least one person out there, in the internet, might find it interesting to compare them with the finished work.
I finished Empire of Steam the day after I passed the fifty thousand word mark. I had had very little to go, anyway. Then all that I had to do was to put it on the internet.
Looking back on the process, I must say that I quite enjoyed it, especially when it was all over. It was an interesting exercise, to see if I could complete a certain amount of work, on one project, in a certain amount of time. I think that, next year, I might try again. Yes, why not?
Now that I have finished Empire of Steam I really must try to finish The Black Museum. And do a lot more work on Demoner. And then there is that new collection of ghost stories which I had begun writing…