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TheZot

Yankee's done

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I would've posted this under the original announcement thread someone started, but it looks like that went missing in the board DB mess last year.

Anyway, ignoring the shameless self-promotion for a second, I've finally finished Yankee. It's on nifty at http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/yankee/ in its component chapters, or if you want to read it one massive wad it's on GA's efiction site at http://www.gayauthors.org/eficiton/viewsto...d=5&chapter=all

16 chapters, six months, and almost 80K words. It's nice to be done. :)

(Time to cry Havok and let loose the dogs of literary criticism, I expect...)

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16 chapters, six months, and almost 80K words. It's nice to be done.

Hey, screw that. My first novel was 120,000 words, and I cranked out the first draft in a month (while working a horrendous full-time job)! My second was 170,000 words, but that DID take six months.

On the other hand, time and word length don't mean squat. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingburd was written in a few months, isn't all that long, yet it's the only book Harper Lee ever wrote -- one of the greatest novels written in the last 40 years, IMHO. I think I've read it five or six times. And Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is immensely-long book (over 1000 pages for the paperback edition), took the author years to write it by hand, and that's the only book she ever wrote, too.

I think a lot of budding authors are daunted by the task of writing a novel. But the reality is that writing a novel isn't like climbing a single massive mountain; it's more like climbing a lot of little ones. When you break a novel down into individual chapters, it's not that big a deal -- to me, anyway.

But I've read a half-dozen books designed to help budding writers complete their novels, so apparently, enough people think it's hard to warrant doing books on that subject. Still, think of this one has just a first draft. I think there's ways you can expand on your last two chapters of Yankee, and amplify and take care of some of the plot threads left at the end. You've got the core of a terrific story, though, and your main character of Justin is a fascinating guy.

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16 chapters, six months, and almost 80K words. It's nice to be done.

Hey, screw that. My first novel was 120,000 words, and I cranked out the first draft in a month (while working a horrendous full-time job)! My second was 170,000 words, but that DID take six months.

True enough. I don't find the size daunting (nor double entendres) it's more a matter of time. Job and family suck down an awful lot of it, not leaving much for writing. That's been my biggest issue. Well, that and figuring out the whole plot and enough background material to make it all believable, but that part I can let the back of my brain chew on pretty much any time.
But I've read a half-dozen books designed to help budding writers complete their novels, so apparently, enough people think it's hard to warrant doing books on that subject. Still, think of this one has just a first draft. I think there's ways you can expand on your last two chapters of Yankee, and amplify and take care of some of the plot threads left at the end. You've got the core of a terrific story, though, and your main character of Justin is a fascinating guy.
Yeah, the last two chapters are getting ripped out and redone, which'll probably mean they'll be four or five chapters, and Rob'll be really miserable by the time it's all done.

Getting things done to the end has always been a problem for me, one of the reasons I was happy to actually have Yankee finished. Now I'll be happy when Yankee's finished right. :)

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Job and family suck down an awful lot of it, not leaving much for writing.

Yeah, TELL me about it. I'm usually so crushed and bone-tired by the time I get home from work, I barely have enough time to check my email, pay the bills, eat dinner, then collapse in my bed... only to wake up 6-7 hours later and do it all over again.

Most of the books on writing that I've read advise that you're better off trying to do just no more than double-spaced pages a day -- maybe 500-600 words or so. They advise, don't try to do more than that, and you can finish a first-draft novel in about six months, which is a reasonable pace. Unfortunately, this advice doesn't seem to work for me; I'm better off when I have an uninterrupted 6-7 hours and can try to crank through an entire 5000+ word chapter. And like many people, I can only write when I'm really in the mood, and it's hard to get to that point for me these days.

Yeah, the last two chapters are getting ripped out and redone, which'll probably mean they'll be four or five chapters...

Very cool! I think you're making the right decision, Zot, and I bet your story will be better for it. One suggestion that might help is for you to go back and quickly re-read the previous chapters and note any possibly-dangling plot or character elements that haven't yet been taken care of. (I had to do that twice with my own novels, and it helped me immensely.) I suspect by the time you list all these details, you'll have more than enough material for an extra chapter right there.

I'd like to see you find a way to incorporate the drama class into this; for example, maybe they wind up doing some kind of school play that involves Justin. Maybe something goes terribly wrong in a performance; maybe he forgets his lines or gets stage fright, or a light comes crashing down on the stage and hits somebody, or narrowly misses somebody. Or maybe Justin gets overwhelmed with the crowd and discovers that he enjoys being an actor, once he hears the laughter and applause, and it changes his personality a little. There's a lotta different ways you can go here -- the sky's the limit.

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