Sunday, January 1, 2017

The New Dawn in a New Year

It's very late right now, probably too late. I've been trying to get domain names working, and so far it seems to have worked, except on my home connection. Odd, but so be it. Technology has a way of sorting itself out.

But that is not what I am here to talk about. I have decided to make a blog, as I am writing my own book. This might be a whim or it might be a calculated and dedicated move, find out next time. It's January 1st, 2017, and arbitrary dates give us the impetus to make big sweeping changes in our lives!

So, a little about me. I'm Alex, I'm currently a sophomore in college, and I am majoring in Computer Science. I have recited this so many times in my life that I may as well tattoo it on my forehead. This isn't what is interesting about me.

I have been writing for most of my life, and it never was much of a thing to notice. I'd write a short story here or there, make a very bad and almost plagiarized screenplay for an "alien invasion movie where the aliens are already on Earth." Sound familiar? I was 8. That thing is long gone now, and rightfully so.

That being said, I am taking a large step now. I started writing a novel in July of 2016, but it was more of a pastime. It wasn't until this winter break that my passion for writing fully blossomed. I was at 11,000 words going into my third semester this year, and I came out on the other side with 11,300 words. Pitiful. Then, this break started, and immediately following Christmas, I made a goal for myself. I wanted 20,000 words before the end of a year, less than a week of time. When the clock struck midnight, and the year changed, I had succeeded. 20,979 words. This is the longest continuous piece of writing I have ever created.

There was a huge difference, though. There were times where I had to write a story, for school or a competition or just a fun adventure. When I was writing these, it was a strain, almost a pain in the ass. I didn't enjoy it. Writing this novel, though? I've enjoyed it. Crafting the plot, collecting ideas, weaving a narrative out of nothing but my own mind. It's something I've always wanted to do, but never had the dedication to.

So what is the book about, you rambler? It is a fantasy, I refrain from adding the word "epic" or "steampunk." The book, which has no title yet (I will refer to it merely as "Boma and Dandon" for now), is about two countries locked in a petty struggle with one another, while sinister things brew below the surface. The countries are Boma and Dandon (Cue dramatic music). Dandon is the larger, more developed country, while Boma has rampant crime issues. They are led by kings, and have advanced militaries. The world is modeled based on 19th century Great Britain (Very loosely). In the heart of these two countries are the Cryptlands. They are a desolate spot, with gray grass and skies to match. Here, something or someone is waiting.

The novel follows 4 main characters. There is Orin, the 62 year old Lieutenant Colonel of the infantry for the Dandonese military. He's jaded and is fighting because duty calls. Then there is Harrison, the 19 year old former-rifleman for the Dandonese infantry. He is a bit lost after just being released from the military due to a terrible arm injury. After that is Magdeline, the brash 16 year old girl working in a flower shop in Dandon. She is an orphan that never knew her parents, and she's discovering something about herself. Something powerful. The final character is Somondro, the Chief Cleric at the Holy Tower in Boma. He has a mysterious past and is discovering omens for bad things to come in his newfound position.

What will happen when the world starts changing and these characters are there to see it? At this point, I'm not 100% sure, haha.

What next? I am going to lay out goals for myself. I've seen some authors I follow, such as Jenna Moreci or Vivien Reis, construct a system of quarterly goals. They set huge goals for the next 3 months, then come back and evaluate them. They set many goals, and achieving a high percentage of them leads to a successful quarter. So, let me try this. By April 1st, 2017, I plan to do the following:

  • Reach 50,000 words in my manuscript.
  • Fully outline the entire novel.
  • Come up with a title.
That's it for goals. Start small! I know it's odd to not have the novel outlined. I have a good portion of it outlined, but much like George RR Martin, I find that when my story has a set path and I know every step along the way, writing it becomes a hassle. I want to get knee deep in the narrative before I fully know the climax and resolution. I have at least another 20,000 words outlined. Reaching 50,000 words would be insane!

Anyway, that's about it for me. Don't know who will be reading this blog, if anyone. If anyone does and wants to read the unedited Prologue (By unedited I mean, I wrote it and haven't looked back), post a comment here. I may post it as a blog entry! I would love honest feedback on it. I most likely have issues with passive voice, among other things.

My dream right now is to get this novel published. I will write it, edit the hell out of it, edit it just a little more, find some Beta Readers, get solid feedback, edit it some more, then begin the query letter process. Self publishing has become a lucrative and viable option in this day and age, but I do not have the fanbase, marketing skills, or knowledge to make it work. I also don't know how well a new fantasy book would do on that market. I would prefer to go the traditional route. I also want to have that gatekeeper that can rip my book to shreds. I want to have that validation, and dare I say, extra challenge.

Meeting that challenge with my first book is near-impossible, so it might just be a dream. I can always write another book.

So, let's hope I can write this book and stick the landing!

2 comments:

  1. Awesome, bro! I hope you're able to achieve your goal, and I can't wait to read it.

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  2. Wow Alex, you never cease to amaze me with your determination! Can't wait to read it someday, I'm already a fan just by what you've described so far!!

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