Let’s talk about writing projects. I would like to introduce you to one of my first. I call it “Light Sleeper”. It was my first attempt at a piece of long fiction, and I hope by introducing you to it here, I’ll finally be brave enough to finish it.
Where to start with this novel?
I started writing in high school. I started for mundane reasons, and kept going because everyone seemed to like it. After a childhood devoid of sports or other more admired hobbies, I’d happened upon something that I was good at. Or, at least I was passable at. I spun out little fantasy stories and half-baked paranormal romps until graduating, when a combination of college and burnout brought it to an end.
There was pressure from certain family members, too. Much like Halloween, they were uncomfortable with the magic and mystery in my stories. I was directly told by one family member, who will remain unnamed, how disappointing it was that my writing wasn’t dedicated to more Christian endeavors. I was crushed.
So I quit. After winning a couple highschool-level awards and enjoying the praise of my friends and classmates, I reached college and found myself uninterested. I’d become self-conscious about my work. My new friends were less interested in reading it, too. I was young, and not sure how to proceed. When college proved a greater challenge than high school, I unintentionally let writing slip away.
I completed my undergraduate degree, and decided to take a semester off before entering graduate school. That was one spring term and the summer, the longest break I’d ever had from schooling. I was excited for the rest, until I realized that I had no idea what to do with myself.
During college, I’d become engrossed in role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. It enticed me in the same way writing once had, and even came with a performance aspect. When my Dungeons and Dragons group fell apart, I found myself aching for that creative outlet.
One night, later than I’d like to admit, I mentioned my old writing hobby to someone in an online game. I was playing World of Warcraft, and it happened to come up in a random conversation. He said he wanted to write a book. I told him that I used to write.
His response? “Why did you stop?”
I don’t remember his name, though we did talk a few times after that. His simple question, and my lack of an answer, got me thinking about writing again. I talked to my partner (now my spouse) about it, and I started planning a book.
By the time the spring turned to summer, the book was done. “Done”. It was a 120,000 word rough draft, with a weak plot, terrible pacing issues, and inconsistent characters. There was obvious projection, unnecessary anger, and it was everything I needed it to be. An untrained, clueless first-time novelist drafted 120,000 in four months, not because they were any good, but because they’d re-discovered the joy of writing.
The book was shelved during graduate school. It was written in 2010, and didn’t re-appear until 2014. I’d been writing short stories and playing with other novel outlines in the meantime, and my writing was considerably better. I turned my nose up at the terrible draft upon re-reading it, and decided it needed a total rewrite.
I did the re-write in about a year. The result was closer to good, but still pretty bad.
Now it’s 2018. I’m on my third re-write of the book. I’ve taken breaks and worked on other manuscripts (I have a stack of them now), but I feel like it’s time to settle in to a serious attempt at finishing it. But when is a manuscript ‘done’? At least ‘done enough’? That’s a question we all have to face, isn’t it?
The initial blurb for the novel can be found here. Hopefully, you’ll get some progress updates soon. I won’t be posting sample chapters or excerpts, but you’ll hear plenty about it in other ways.
Every in-progress book has a story. Tell me about yours below.