Thursday, May 27, 2010

What ever happened to that novel, anyway?

Perhaps you may recall the novel I started way back in November of 2006 for National Novel Writing Month. Tentatively called "Throne of the Living Dead," and later "Gun Dead," it was subtitled "A High-Firepower Melodrama in XX Parts" (with "XX" a number dependant sheerly on how many chapters I had written), and well on its way to living up to the name. Guns, zombies, gore, cheesy action... and just a hint of cheesy romance.

That was then. And, really, that is now, too.

See, I encountered a problem. The zombies ate my brain. Well, not really, though you might debate the point. It wasn't even that, three months after I started, I fell in love. You always hear about how artists and writers must suffer in order to achieve true greatness. And, of course, my suffering (more or less) ended when I met Marisa.

Still, I don't think that accounts for what is now going on two and a half years of what amounts to writer's block.

Much like her, I've hit a wall.

I just can't write. Not fiction. Not screenplays. Nothing. I can get my work done, throw together the occasional bit for a freelance gig, but basically, when it comes to my Creative Writing side, I'm just plain stumped. I've tried new novel-centric software, since Final Draft always helped my screenwriting. I've tried rethinking the novel into a script - movie or graphic novel, take your pick - I've tried just plain picking up what I have written and staring at it.


It's killing me. I want to write. I want to edit. I want to finish a first draft and move on to rewriting. I still fantasize that someday it might become one of those limited edition horror novels I collect.

But I can't do it.

I think my mistake was leaving the structure open-ended. If I felt like writing a new chapter, I could just change the number (see "XX," above) of parts in the melodrama. But as you might expect, I had good parts, bad parts, some plain awesome stuff and some stuff not worth the paper it was inkjetted on.

So I kept having ideas, and I think somewhere along the way, the law of diminishing returns kicked in.

Add to that my dubious skill, plus the various time constraints of the past couple of years (see previous post), and you have a recipe for writing disaster. No time to pick up the laptop and start writing, and on the rare occasions I do have time, I just come up empty. It's all in my head, I know it. I just can't do anything about it.

Long story short (too late, I know), that's what happened to the novel. I always gave some thought to turning it into an online novel, posting a chapter at a time on a blog. I have the sad feeling that, despite my success with Dead Hunt, this thing is going to end up unpublished even if I do finish.

But I think it has some entertainment value, if not much literary value, so I keep hoping. And staring at the screen.