A New Project

Stargrace is participating in something called National Novel Writing Month, in which participants challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It’s an awesome program, and I wish her the best of luck and the greatest encouragement with it. Her page for the project is HERE, so be sure to check that out and offer support and encouragement.

I considered participating myself, but after thinking about it, I’m an egomaniac and would like to write something that I can, at least potentially, get published. Confining the writing of the thing to 30 days isn’t very compatible with that. My thinking is that if Terry Goodkind can get published and make millions, there’s damn well no reason why I can’t do it. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but I’ve never really gotten started.

I have thus embarked on the writing of a fantasy novel of comparable length to what one expects from that genre nowadays. (I figure that as 2-300K words.) My goal is 500 words a day of actual writing – that’s roughly a page a day, well under what NaNoWriMo requires – which is pretty doable and should see the work finished in a reasonable amount of time. I have a setting already worked out in rather a lot of detail, something I’ve been developing off and on for quite a while.

I am not going to clutter up this space with fiction. I may post select excerpts from it over on the dedicated blog, and occasionally point to it from here, or mention how the overall progress is going, if there’s any interest. The effort may or may not have an impact on my normal blogging, although the act of blogging for the last year and a half has managed to prove to me that I actually can get some writing done just about every day.

For now, I offer the following: It will be story set in a fantasy world, one hopefully less Tolkienesque than most, and will be a tale of mystery, of ancient secrets, of war and insurrection, set against a background of feuding gods and a menace older than creation itself. I have a servicable but skeletal outline and about 1600 words written so far. Wish me luck.

11 responses to “A New Project

  1. It is, but it’s one reason I balked at the NaNoWriMo project – a 50K word novel is simply not publishable in the fantasy field today. If I’m going to write a novel, I’m going to try to get it published.

    If this project follows my typical pattern, though, I’ll get about 10,000 words in and lose interest.

  2. I grew up in the same town where Poul Anderson lived, and I got to hear him speak in 8th grade as a “reward” for doing decently in an essay contest then. One of the things he said he always did when writing was “a page a day.” So, if you can stick to that, then you’ll probably do well.

    Something else you might look into is that Orson Scott Card has a “writing class” section on his website at http://hatrack.com/writingclass/index.shtml and it might have some useful tips for you too.

    Good luck and good writing!

  3. One word of advice… be extremely careful what you post on any blog site if you have a desire to eventually submit it for publication. In most cases, anything written and published on a site such as a blog becomes public domain and is therefore automatically ineligible for future publication.

  4. That is not at all correct. Written works are automatically copyrighted under US law, whether they’re registered or not, and the copyright holder posting them to the web does not change that, although it can in some cases complicate efforts toward publication for various reasons. HERE is a link on that.

    That said, I do plan on being extremely conservative on what I do post. Gotta maintain some suspense, after all.

  5. Not seeing a link.

    You might be right. I’m just going off of what I have been told by publishers, literary agents and copyright attorneys over the years.

    Ownership is extremely difficult to prove without an official copyright. Personally, it isn’t a risk I would want to take, but I’m not you.

  6. Link fixed – I forgot to save it with the edit.

    Bluntly, anybody who told you that works posted to the web go into public domain was talking out of their ass. It’s not true and never has been. This page HERE is actually a better summary of various common misconceptions about how copyrights work.

    However, your general advice is valid – posting without explicitly including a copyright notice, or in some cases posting substantive excerpts at all, or in the case of ‘important’ works (however the author wants to define that) without registering the copyright can create complications with publishers and the law, if it happens that you actually need to defend a claim. Posting short passages (which is all I plan to do) should not be a problem.

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