Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Book of Shaldu...Part One??

(I apologize in advance to any who are offended by graphic content such as extreme randomness and the use of the word Flow'st etc.  I am not liable for any mental injuries originating or beginning from this blog or blog post.  Don't judge me by the brand of my cheese crackers.)

There comes a time, when one has to choose--do I give in and eat the Cheez-Its?  Or do I abstain?

...Pardon, O Readers.  That was completely uncalled for and spontaneously random.  I went back to my roots...

Anyway, let's get down to business.

Recently I have been pondering much as to the outcome of this novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo: the Book of Shaldu.  Revision has teamed up with Procrastination, and alas--they are winning!  I have not written or revised in over a week--perhaps approaching two weeks.

But I have been wondering...what if the Book of Shaldu isn't really finished yet?  What if this 50k chunk of words I have is not yet done...what if it is Part One?

Yeah.  I rhymed there.  Not on purpose, mind you--I like to think of myself as a poetic writer. >_>

Now, there are several reasons I came to this conclusion.  What's that?  The conclusion that my story might not be done, of course.  Weren't you listening?  Stay on track--I do.  Flow'st and other such delightful personifications. :)

Heh, aye.  There's a list coming up, folks.  Brace yourselves!

1) The Word Count

When I finished the Book of Shaldu, it was hanging around a proud count of around 50,000 words.  In print length, that tallies up to around 200 pages.

Now, when I take a look at some publishers (not all, mind you), they require higher word counts than the one I have.  Marcher Lord Press is asking 65K or higher.  Flaming Pen Press refuses anything below 60,000 words.  The process of revision will heighten the word count, yes, but I doubt it will increase it more than 5,000 words.  Of course, I could surprise myself--but the Book of Shaldu will never be a 'long' book.  And I rather want to publish a 'long' book.  Short books always seem so...short.  Disappointingly short.

So if I wish to make some of the requirements in word counts for some publishers, I must make the Book of Shaldu longer.

2) The Ending

I ended the Book of Shaldu on a very, very unsatisfying note.  For the reader. ;)  It was the extreme mother of all cliffhangers.  So, to please the reader, I might have to extend the ending.

But that's not the only thing about the ending.  Overall, the ending didn't seem like an ending.  It left you at the lowest of lows with a nod to despair.  There was not any resolution to the ending.

The ending was also very...dark.  I reminded the readers of the Light that still shone in a dark place, but at the end I made all of the reader's worst fears come true...and then pulled the curtain on them.  THE END!  *Bwahaha* They would probably think that I was sitting on my computer chuckling in evil delight at the thought of their torture...Oh wait...uh...forget I said anything.

So the ending was dark--and it was unsatisfying, without resolution.  I've read reviews of certain books before where the author did that very thing.  The readers all complained about it.  And gave it bad ratings...

3) The Tale

Overall, the tale was short.  Unsatisfyingly so.  The tale didn't seem like a tale.  It was a story--but for all of the epicness I tried to integrate into the novel, it had not the size for it.  It didn't have the expansion I wanted.  And some of the characters didn't get enough screen time to fully develop them.  The remedy?  A longer novel.  More plot.  More screen time, more expansion--more delving into the ancient history of Arowdae I hope to unveil.

4) The Problem

But there is cons to this plan.  The problem is this: am I making this up just so I can get writing again?  I love the actual writing process.  I do everything in my power to get back to the writing process, the writing of a tale.  I'm addicted to it.  So...would I persuade myself to make the Book of Shaldu longer just so I can put off revision for a while longer?  *cough* You know what that is called?  Procrastination.

So what say you, readers?  I'm asking you.  What do all of you experienced writers out there think?  To expand or not to expand?  To write or not to write?  To revise or not to revise?

The floor is yours.  Don't get eaten.

Upcoming stuffs:
-Reviews.  Lots of 'em.
-Do I hear an echo?  Hmmm...could it be saying give a day?  No, wait, that's not what it says...stay away?  No...Can you guess?
-A Post. ;)


Nolan said...

Sounds like you've been critiquing your work a bit. Always good ;-)

I completely agree with the super cliff hanger=bad ending thing. That's one part I didn't like about Sword in the Stars--every individual book must be good, not just the story as a whole series. Don't treat just your whole series/trilogy as fulfilling--treat each and every book as a fulfillment to the reader, and they'll stick with ya.

Eldra said...

Sparks are flying from my brain at this extreme randomness. But in a good way.

If you feel you have enough material to continue the plot farther, then by all means go ahead and "finish" the story. Books that end in a dark cliffhanger aren't cool at all.

Jake said...

Aye. :) Thanks for the input!

The thing is, it's the first in a series. So I might just put some of the plot for book 2 in book 1. *shrug*

The Director said...

As far as cliffhanger endings go, I don't mind if there's a conclusion and then a cliffhanger event that sets it up for a sequel. I guess it works if there's some semblance of a conclusion, even if it's not a complete one...

I say revise, write, go for it, and if it doesn't work after all, you can scrap it. But I'd rather do it and have it be discarded in the end than not try to expand at all ;)

Good luck, Jake!

Jake said...

@The Director
Thanks Director! :)

Star-Dreamer said...

Hey Jake. I just have to encourage you here because I know how this feels. Let me tell you something…

SOTD (the book I have under submission) started out as a book about 25k. Not very long at all. That might qualify for a short story or a novella. It wasn’t very satisfying either. I didn’t like the ending for sure, and I was not satisfied at all with the middle.

What did I do? I started brainstorming like you wouldn’t believe. I started asking myself the questions “why?” and “how?” and “who” constantly. I decided to take the story at its face and dig deeper: why was my MC chosen… what makes him a worthy MC? Why would my villain want to do something so awful? He must have some sort of ulterior motive… Why is that person even there? *tosses random unimportant character aside*

And anything I saw or heard that struck my fancy was fair game. My church notes ended up full of character side notes and internal plot ideas, along with questions to myself, my characters, and half started paragraphs. (and you know you are a Christian novelist when even your church notes are fair game… :D)

The more I brainstormed, the larger the story grew. Now it sits at about 90k (rough estimate) and it’s going through yet another revision which will definitely make it even longer. (I have some really awesome things in store… *rubs hands together with glee and gives evil chuckle*

My point is this: don’t revise. Rewrite. Revising is just fixing plot holes and character flaws and such… and it’s good for the final, final, final drafts…

but REWRITING is what helps you expand on the plot and story, and even start to realize why your character decided to do something or go somewhere that almost doesn’t make sense in the first draft. You and your character start to understand one another… you create a much stronger author/character bond, which is good for writing a believable story.

And Brainstorm. If you feel like you can’t write (or you just don’t feel like writing) and procrastination is sitting on your doorstep drinking ice cold lemonade and whistling gleefully, then you sit down and just think about your story.

Just think about it.

Ask yourself questions about it… the “whys” and “hows” and “whos” Don’t forget to have a notebook and pencil handy or you might regret it. You’d really be surprised at all the cool ideas that come up. And, of course, it’s so much easier to build something when you have a firm foundation… which is what your rough draft is.

And then, of course, you can always bounce ideas off a friend. :D I do that all the time and find it extremely helpful.

Anyway, I hope this helps you. thanks for sharing with us.

Jake said...'ve given me a lot to think about. :) The thing is...I'm not entirely sure that I write the way you do. I wrote the Book of Shaldu the way it is, and I'm not sure I can rewrite that much into it. I don't think I have enough PLOT to get that much rewrite into it. Still, I shall ponder both sides of this and await my parents' opinion as well. >_> Thanks a lot for the info! :)

Creative Artist said...

*gasp* That's a lot of information... though I do think re-writing is a good idea. But DON'T ask me. I am terrible at this stuff, and I don't even think my own plot is working very well... *lightbulb* WAIT! Sorry. Idea popped up. See ya'll! *poofs*

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this won't be much help, but I'm writing what comes to my head. Warning: I have never tried any of this. :) I would say think really super deep into your character and pull out the deepest darkest secrets, wishes, fears, whatever, and incorporate them into the story. But then again, you may have already done that. Do that for all your characters, and their twists may add something to the plot, or just add a subplot.
I'm sorry if this was just a bunch of stuff you already know...I'm kind of trying to help myself as well with my writing process.

Jake said...

Hmmm...super deep. :) Actually, that sounds like a good idea. I shall have to see what happens. :) Thanks for stopping by!