Monday, August 12, 2013

WRITING MY NOVELLA: OBSERVATIONS, NOTES AND WHAT I'VE LEARNED

I learned many things about the book writing process, namely it should have taken me less time.

I just submitted my completed manuscript for the FIGHT CARD novella 'Union of the Snakes' to Paul Bishop for editing. It will be out later this year (perhaps Fall) and I will keep everyone updated with details regarding its release. That said, I want to share eighteen observations that I made about my writing process, specifically for this project.

1. It should have taken me less time. Far less time.

2. The reason why it may have taken me so long is that I'm an awesome procrastinator. I've elevated the pastime to an Olympic-level sport.

3. YouTube, Facebook and whatever cheesy reality show that happened to be on television was my chief antagonist during the novella writing process. If I actually liked Twitter, THAT would be my enemy, too.

4. Working at a newspaper all day doesn't help the creative process. Many nights, I came home devoid of the will to put theoretical pen to paper.

5. You can conceive, write and complete a novella on weekends in a chain coffee shop. Yes, I'm THAT guy.

6. I've come to respect my fellow writers who knock out their e-books - one after another - and make it look effortless. I bow to you all.

7. If you can pardon the cliche, I just tried to write the book that I, myself, would want to read.

8. The more I write, the absolute less I read. In fact, I try not to read much of anything while I'm writing. Quite simply, I don't want another scribe's voice in my head.

9. UNION OF THE SNAKES was written entirely in the cloud. Sure, a local copy was saved on my main laptop, but whenever I switched computers, it was waiting for me, no matter where I was. My primary service was SKYDRIVE with a backup on Google Drive and Dropbox. On days when I didn't feel like lugging out the laptop, the writing was done using the same services on my iPad and a GREAT app called IA Writer.
The one, the only Fred MacMurray

10. Nothing gets me in the mood to write more than an old film noir. If Bogie's in it, all the better. If it's Fred MacMurray, I'm in Nirvana.

11. To prepare for this FIGHT CARD novella, I must've watched about 100 film-noirs, neo-noirs and just your all-around basic hard-boiled crime classics -- all on a loop. Truth be told, I got something from each and every one of them.

12. Sometimes I found research to be a fun and necessary distraction. My story is set in various locales in 1954 - namely Hollywood and Chicago - so I really wanted to ensure that I had a strong sense of historical context.

13. Thank God, I don't outline. The journey would have been way less fun if I really knew where it was all going.

14. Music, above all, really is a chief muse of mine. Especially music of the era I'm writing. Jazz, jump blues and onion ballads really fed this beast.A Spotify playlist for 'Union of the Snakes' was my main inspiration.

15. As someone who has embraced to hard-boiled/noir genre, I've come to love first person narrative. In fact, I have a newfound respect for it.

16. I'll be honest... Every now and then, tense tripped me up if I wasn't on my toes. I found my character saying things he couldn't possibly say.

17. As I was writing, I came to the realization that if you're not matriculating on more than one form of social media, you might as well be placing stamps on a hand-written query letter. The pimping of your book comes long before you write 'THE END.'

18. Hemingway was right: "The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck."

3 comments from fellow 'Basement' dwellers:

Helen said...

I was interested to read that you don't outline - I need to outline or I would lose my way ^_^ congrats on getting it finished I know it will be good!

R. Ann Siracusa said...

I found your observations interesting. Every author has to find their own method of writing, although I agree that procrastination isn't good for any of them. I've done the outline thing and also started with an idea for a set up and totally pantsed it. After about eleven or twelve completed novels, and seven of the published so far, I've settled into something that works for me. On a single sheet, I have one sentence for each scene that tells me what has to happen in that scene. I have no idea how I'll make it happen, so it keeps me on track without taking the fun out of writing.

Anthony Venutolo said...

I agree ... For me, the single sheet would probably work best...

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