Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday I finished the second-to-last-draft on "you know what", aka the Untitled Horror Novella.

Although now it's actually more of a Dark Urban Fantasy novella.

I will work on giving it a title today. My plan is to do a controlled free-write describing the story. A free-write is where you set a timer and start writing. You can't stop for anything. No censorship is allowed. If you can't think of anything to say, then you must type "I can't think of anything to say". A "controlled" free-write (which is my word for it) is mostly a free-write, but I pick a topic, and will allow myself a few pauses now and then, as long as I'm not getting too hung up.

I'm hoping that not only will a title fall out of the free write, but perhaps I can use it to develop the copy I use to sell the book. Aka the description for Amazon sales.

How does a horror story turn into urban fantasy? First you become possessed by a music video circa 1997. Then you lose your job (an unrelated event), and spend the next 6 weeks writing the story, inspired by the music video, that demands to be released from your soul. Then you submit it to your writer's group, and they tell you the first 12000 words are great, but the last 20000 words are total crap. They remind you that a good story should have ups and downs, like a roller coaster. Don't just sent your characters into the grist mill without at least making the reader think they have some sort of chance.

Then set the story aside for 13 years. Let it ruminate. Have some life experiences. Start up the writing again, and begin development on a universe where faeries are real.

Then reread the story. Realize the true nature of the antagonist. Realize that of course, he's a faerie! The elements are already baked into the story and need only a few adjustments (thank you subconscious!). Do some character development on the antagonist, do some exposition, let your formerly-doomed protagonists in on the secret so they have various ways of fighting back, and success! The story has been transmogrified, unplanned, into dark urban fantasy.

I like the story very, very much. But then, if I'm my only audience, I could simply write to myself and make the most perfect stories, for myself. The true test will be when someone actually reads the thing.

I've passed out copies to various family members. They have a reputation for honesty and I've made it clear that I can take whatever they dish out. Based on their commentary, I shall do the final edits.

Meanwhile, I'm starting cover design, formatting and layout, and other elements of publishing.

I also had another bout of insomnia last night. I'm noticing a pattern: reach a specific type of creative milestone, and be too hyper to sleep that night.

This time I recognized it early, and didn't waste any time laying around in bed. I of course had already done my read-for-an-hour routine, and tried meditating, thinking about my past, forcing myself to not think about writing, and other tricks. So as soon as I realized none of that was going to work, I hopped up (remember, I was hyper), took a melatonin, drank a glass of milk, and started answering OKCupid questions.

That did it! After about an hour I was ready for sleep. Whew!

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