Thursday, May 8, 2014

First Novels: Raising Kain

I've said this with other posts, but yes, this is the third time I've sat down to work on this post. I have a valid reason though. I didn't like the way the first one started, and I started the second about five minutes before the end of my break. Had I realized that at the time, I wouldn't have started it then.

Either way, we have this post going now, so I'll just keep on writing.

The reason I didn't like what I had first written is because I was trying to pass off wise and sage advice. Then I looked at it, and knew I shouldn't be giving such advice. It's not that I don't have experience in the situation I'm bringing up. I just don't feel that I've matured enough from that experience to really be able to see it from all angles.

So, all I can really do is tell you about my experience with “first novels”.

I started writing Raising Kain after I read the how-to book Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print. (It's a very good how-to book, and is something I would suggest any writer, new to the craft or not, pick up.) Also, the name of the author is Lawrence Block. What helped me get started on my novel wasn't really what inspired the novel. It was more of a connection I felt with the writer. The way he was talking about his writing experiences the more I felt like I could see myself in that role, experiencing the things he experienced. Then he talked about his early writing habits.

Lawrence Block wrote soft core sex novels for the first few years of his career. He would write two of these a month. He'd do twenty pages a day Monday through Friday, not write anything on the weekends, then finish the book the next work week.

I don't know what possessed me, but I thought “Yeah! I can do this!” (I would also like to note that my first novel was not a soft core sex book.) So, I sat down, on a Monday I think, with a small idea about a boy who becomes the greatest hero in Atlantis, and I knocked out twenty pages. Tuesday (day two or whatever, I don't remember the days of the week) I knocked out another twenty pages. (If you're wondering, twenty pages equals some 6,000 words, not a number to be laughed at.) Both days I walked away from the computer exhausted and broken. It took almost every hour I was awake to write that much.

After that, I didn't touch the book for a week.

I was burnt out on it. I didn't think about it. I didn't want to think about it. All I wanted to do was shut it out of my mind. It wouldn't go away, thankfully.

That next Monday (using that day because Monday is a good day to start things, I guess) and I wrote more on the story. I didn't write twenty pages. I think I wrote five, and instead of walking away from the book like I'd gone eight rounds with Mike Tyson, I walked away feeling good. I felt accomplished, and that's the way it went for the rest of the book. I wrote a little each day, and inch my inch the novel got done.

I loved that novel.

I still love that novel.

And, I found out not too long after I finished writing it that it wasn't even really a novel. It tapped out at forty-eight thousand words, and your average novel starts at sixty-thousand words or so. Yeah, I was kind of crushed.

I still consider it my first novel though. And, I still fondly remember writing it. The only thing that makes me really sad is that I need to keep it hidden in a chest for fear that someone might read it. Lol. Not because I don't think it's good, I absolutely love the story, it's because of the way my writing style has evolved. Raising Kain very much looks like it was written by a child coming out of the sixth grade.

Now, I've ran my mouth on for far longer than I expected too. So, I'm going to shut up, and maybe continue to tell the tales of my first novels.



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