Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Project Depth

As a few of you may know, I've been writing an online novel set in a fantasy realm.  Although I'm only a few chapters in, I've already learned a great deal about both writing and what works for me.

Let me start by acceding that the online work is shallow and campy.  It's a fun little project, but it lacks the depth necessary for me to ever put it out alongside the rest of my work as a "real" book.  I realized this as I finished the most recent chapter.  But why?

Because the work lacks the depth necessary to be considered something serious.  I'm having fun, but there are so many steps missing here in what I normally do for a novel that I couldn't, in good conscience, claim that the novel is anything but a lark.

I've already covered the fact that I'm not outlining this book, so it threatens to spin off into chaotic directions the way weeds overrun a garden.  However, that entails so much.  What the outlining does is allow me to plan and think to a level of detail that grounds the story and goes beyond the surface.

Additionally, each chapter I've posted has been written in one night during a single sitting.  This is way outside of my normal bounds.  Each chapter usually has a focus and takes several days to weeks to develop.  This lets me go back, rearrange, and generally shape the chapter to make sure it both follows the general storyline and takes into account sufficient patience for the work to develop and not feel rushed.  Rushed work is normally where shallowness comes from, in my opinion, because it doesn't simmer and let things build to a point of anticipation.

I'm also not editing as I go.  My editing process is pretty intense, and it lets me remove extraneous things and add parts where reinforcement is necessary.  What you're seeing in my online novel is the first, very raw form of the story.  Like a rosebush that grows wild, it gets in the way of itself and makes things messy, whereas proper trimming and shaping creates a great piece of art for others to enjoy.

Don't get me wrong - I intend to follow this thing to a satisfying conclusion, but I'm not going to pretend this will be the next great American novel that students will write papers on in a hundred years.  It lets me continue to write and see where my wacky imagination takes me without the pressure of a full fledged book.  As long as the readers of this blog remember that while reading this story, I think we'll all have fun with it.

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