Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

The Art of Not Completely Sucking

You might remember mention in my New Years Goals that I wrote three novels last year all of which, looking back, sucked.  Three different genres (Fantasy, SF, and Superhero), three different lengths (108k, 73k, 61k), but they all sucked.  Really sucked.

Except one of them isn’t quite as bad as I thought.  The superhero novel was the shortest of the three, with the first draft weighing in at a little over 61,000 words.  I gave it the temporary name of “Heroes Inc” in lieu of an actual title.  Typing the last scene out on November 3rd, I decided to focus on short fiction for the rest of the year.  The other two novels?  Well, I’m still afraid to look at the first one and I have a clear recollection of a couple of the painful scenes in the second, so they can wait a little longer.

But Heroes Inc isn’t that bad.

I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, just that it sucks less.

My writing style tends to be light on description in the first draft as I’m just trying to get the story out, and this manuscript certainly suffers in that respect.  Keeping with the suffering theme, my hero doesn’t really suffer enough.  Trials and tribulations, sure, but a lot of the resolutions seem a little easy to me and there’s nothing that really makes him suffer emotionally.  Well, there is one thing, but it’s over kind of quickly.  There are no sadistic girlfriend versus airborne trolley filled with cub scouts scenes (I’m not sure those are completely realistic even for the Superhero genre), but there are certainly places I could pull the stops out a little more to stir the emotional knife stuck in his stomach.

I also wonder if I tried to accomplish too much in a 60k time frame and if some things need to be expanded.  Just from this initial reading, I’ve already thought of a couple of short scenes that I might add in and other things that might make a couple of scenes less, well, boring.

I think there might actually be something here.

Reading this odd little creation of mine has set the wheels turning on it again and I think I’m going to take it to the next level:  reading through with an open notebook and making detailed notes on potential changes and revisions.  But even after those revisions, it’s still at least two editing passes before I’m likely to let anyone look at it, and I don’t want to set any kind of time goal on that yet.  Even taking into account possible job changes (see yesterday’s post), I’m trying to get a lot of other stuff done with my writing in the next couple of months.  Time’s not exactly tight right now, but too tight to devote a lot of time to another major project unless I suddenly come into a huge sum of money (probability zero).

But there is a chance I might be looking for some first readers in a few months.  Any takers?


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