Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taking A Short Break From The Novel . . .

If anyone's been paying attention to the "Novel In Progress" tracker in the upper right corner over the past couple of days, you might have noticed that it's been stuck on 56,560 words all this time. Let me clear up what's happening.

First of all: No, I haven't given up on the novel. I haven't burned out, nor ran out of juice. And I'm not suffering from writer's block. In fact, one of the things I've been blessed with on this novel is knowing exactly how and where I want to take the narrative, thanks to a rather extensive outlining process I worked on over and over again over the course of 2010.

Secondly: I'm doing okay myself. I'm not dealing with personal issues, or going through a rough patch at work or at home. There's no current crisis keeping me away from my writing. In fact, short of the zombie apocalypse, there's very little excuse for me to take a break from writing even if I happen to be dealing with some issues in my life. After all, writing for me is therapy. I genuinely have FUN writing my stories -- it's why I got into this whole crazy spec. fic. writing thing anyway.

So, thanks for worrying about me everyone. But both me and the novel are in good shape, so no need to keep asking. And, no, this is also not the scheduled break on the novel which I was planning on taking anyway after I wrote the core chapters. You may recall in this post that I mentioned I would be taking a 4 - 6 week break in order to work on some other stuff, not the least of which was researching the remaining chapters.

Well, this current break is a much smaller beast, though somewhat related. I decided the short stories that need to be written . . . need to be written RIGHT NOW! Which surprises me because I'm actually on a pretty good roll with the novel and just finished writing a very awesome scene that I'm proud of. But, see, that scene marked the exact middle point of the core chapters I'm writing. So far I have 13 chapters written completely, out of a planned 26 core chapters. Moreover, I'm at a natural pause within the narrative itself, where my characters were just hit with a major revelation and are now about to embark on the most dangerous leg of their journey. In other words, I've entered the dreaded 3rd Act -- that part of the novel which makes or breaks it for the writer. I don't know about you, but this seems to be the perfect opportunity to take a step back and breathe a little.

So, I have some short stories to write in the interim, including a rewrite of the piece that I just had critiqued by the fabulous Altered Fluid group here in NYC. I've been thinking long and hard on this rewrite and it looks like--just as I had suspected 2 weeks ago--that I'm going to end up tossing the entire story out and writing it from scratch all over again. This time with major changes to the plot, tone, and even the main character. Some of the secondary characters will still be present, but retooled to perform different tasks now. At least, that's what I *think* I'll be doing. Part of the reason why I've been non-active on the writing front these past few days is that I'm trying to organize everything in my head before I sit before the computer. I should be starting the rewrite sometime tonight and working through the week, including Christmas Day if so needed.

So, this is just a warning to you all to not bug me about the fact that my novel isn't being worked on. Yeah, I know all about it and am on top of things. I promise. No need to point it out to me anymore. This is a self-imposed break for very necessary reasons. When I do resume work on the novel, you'll be the first to know. Until then, let's talk about other things, 'kay?

Thanks, all. You're the best!

P.S. -- Oh, and the reason I keep referring to the novel as "THE NOVEL," and probably will until the very end, is that I rarely assign titles to my works before they're finished. I always found that practice by other newbie writers a bit presumptuous, given the fact that a story can change a great deal from the initial drawing board stage to the final rewrite. Which is why, of the fews time I *do* mention a title for a work-in-progress, I always provide a disclaimer that the title is only temporary. To put it plainly, the title of a WiP is the least important thing a writer should be worrying about.

3 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

Good luck with all the projects - plus the holidays are a good reason to take a little break. Seems like they take a lot of time too :)

Rodney said...

It's funny, that I'm one of the few people who sees something bizarre in your behavior and immediately think that it's just another part of the "Batista Plan".

Although, it's always a good idea to take a break from the novel. Every novelist I've ever read talks about the importance of pacing yourself when undertaking such a huge task, and I'm glad you're doing that.

Happy holidays and good writing!

David Batista said...

Kim -- Thanks! I'm a busy, busy bee this holiday! But at least it's not because I'm shopping or wrapping gifts. This is the kind of busy that's the 3-letter "F" word for me . . . F-U-N!!! :)

Rodney -- Yes, you wouldn't be wrong in assuming this is part of some plan. I did factor this all in to the overall writing of the novel, the chance that I might need to pause to write a few short stories in-between. Which is why I'm breaking at the most opportune place to break in the process. And since this won't be a very long diversion, I don't run the risk of losing steam on the novel.

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