Red Whale: Quick Update

On Reddit Fantasy a topic about National Novel Writing Month emerged. Writers everywhere started posting stuff about their work-in-progress. I’m still waiting what exactly comes out of the blender out of all the random stuff I put in the Red Whale. Yet, I gave in, and posted something real quick about the “Year of the Red Whale.” Might as well update it here too for the world to see.

Tyrant emperor turned beggar turned criminal thug, burns empire that starts a world war but he doesn’t give a damn cause he’s busy squaring off against necromancers, witches, and basically everyone else he pissed off while he was the emperor.

That’s a mouthful. I probably could have come up with something better, but I didn’t want to write a sales pitch, just to bring out an idea into the open. My original thought for this novel was to set it at 120K words, then it got reduced to 80K. Having recently scraped much of the material, I feel the sweet spot is going to be between 90-100K. This is, if the plot went out of its way again to complicate things. I could revert back to 80K if I manage to control everything and keep the plot simple.

Now, with this shenanigans over, I’m off back to writing.

By the way, this is Ryukahr, my favorite Super Mario YouTuber/Twitch streamer. Give him some love, will yah?

On a side note, here’s Hayley Williams of Paramore doing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”

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Red Whale: Year One Draft

I started writing “Year of the Red Whale” around October, to participate in NaNoWriMo. I made it to 40K words before the month ended, progress that I’m proud of. Since then I barely made it past the 50K-mark, getting stuck on multiple dead ends. The plot thickened to a messy pile of goo. Then all sorts of ugly things started spawning from said goo after trying to patch things up.

I didn’t think much of it until January. The Red Whale was a NaNoWriMo project, not the main WIP, but still it had ended up as my top priority novel to work on. I kept putting deadlines for myself to complete the draft, after all as a journalist I’m trained to submit on time, but I keep letting myself down. The solution was to get back to the main WIP, Project Ashes, but I couldn’t just let go of the Red Whale and busied myself over it.

Now, a year later, I’m still stuck, making no decent progress whatsoever. I had renovated a lot of scenes and redone several chapters. Nothing helped.

Finally, the nuclear option: Change the entire plot. Keep some scenes, some chapters, some characters, but turn things around. It worked. The pace changed, a lot, and I had to remodel my writing style. I had to cut down some action scenes and then add more action scenes. It feels like a brand new work-in-progress at this point, really. My only issue is, should I add more POV characters? There’s a lot going on, but the only thing that matters comes from the protagonists. So there is that to consider.

My final deadline, I hope, is on December.

Since it’s November and it’s a season for Stranger Things, here’s a Alice Cooper “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” I’d put “The Man Behind the Mask” instead, but, meh.

Innards #15: Shoryuken!

Progress!

The word rolls around my tongue like a sweet ball of chocolate. I am savoring every bit of it as it melts in my mouth.

For all it’s word, the development of the “Year of the Red Whale” is again, running at full speed, after getting buried alive in a mountain of debris. The said debris, has finally popped out, like a nasty pimple.

Gross, I know.

I’ve included a bunch of stuff that were only ever to be glanced at. Such as sorcery. Mages exist in the world of Red Whale and after over 40k words, not a single scene involving magic has taken place. Only lots and lots of gun fights in a world where people still use swords as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Move over Zatoichi, The Man with No Name just walked into the saloon. Give the man some whiskey! He’s had a long ride home. But don’t expect Zatoichi just to vanish, he’d be checking in to one of the room upstairs.

So yeah: Magic, switched character roles, and deleted a bunch of useless words. It only saddens me that I had to kill off a character who was meant to live throughout the story. It worked though. The story started flowing more naturally after. I’ve also switched around the protagonist’s party a bit, so now I’m getting to know a whole bunch of new people that I’ve made up in the moment.


In other news, I have a ton of other stories waiting to be written. What’s awesome is that, the more they sit in the Vault, the more they sizzle, and new ideas for their respective worlds are starting to take shape. I would have never thought of these stuff if I were forcing myself to come up with some cool things.

 

I’ve also renewed my efforts to write novellas. I have originally planned to write and finish three before jumping into the whole novel. But, whatever. Like the stories locked in the Vault, the novellas have sizzled, bringing out some fresh flavor into the stew. I cannot wait to write them all.

One more thing. I am not the slightest bit embarrassed to learn the band, Blink-182. So here’s a song from them.

 

Innards #14: The Vault


A new and big idea has decided to settle in my head. This intrusive idea arrived this morning, knocking politely in my hollowed skull, and what did I do? I let it in. I entertained it. I gave it a glass of water, fed it, and before I knew, I had accidentally nurtured it. 

Oh Cthulu… 

It’s something to be proud of and yet, something you shouldn’t. Oh wow, you got a fun new idea, neato! Yes, it is neat. But what’s not neat is me unable to finish a single manuscript.

This new idea is a reminder that I’m dragging behind while all the cool stuff is piling up. And quite frankly, the more I hold off those ideas the more they become stale. And I do not want stale bread and I certainly do not want my cheese all moldy. 

I forgot how many “Projects” I already have out there. “Ashes” and “Dark” are definitely going after Red Whale. Then there’s the matter of “Tunnel Crow Town” and Project Ghosts, which is going to be really big. There’s also Project Sherlock that needs to be written after “Ashes” and between “Dark” because the latter two are so damn depressing. Oh, there’s also Project Hunter, my planned YA books, and then well, there’s the new idea that happens to be YA. Oh, I’m not done yet. There are multiple horror anthologies being written and then Project Starkiller, which is as big as Ghosts. Oh, I forgot my 2010 baby, “The Conductor” and my 2005 sweetheart, Shards. 

There’s a few more, like projects Apples and Valentine, and my nose is itchy to write a classic High Fantasy with a bit of twist. Then ther are a bunch of novellas. So yeah. In short, I’m screwed. I need to catch up or else the world will roll all over me.

A friend of mine said I may have writing ADHD and from exhausting all my projects like that, I can see why. 

In the meantime, the Red Whale is cruising along, almost done but with a lot of holes that need more than a few patches to fix.

Now I stop this and onwards to writing!

Patch 1.0

Locked in 43,000 words, I feel I have overwritten things for the Red Whale. 

I know it’s said to finish the draft first before applying rewrites, but, it’s just not working for me. So I stopped writing forward and moved back a bit, all the way to the second chapter actually, and started making a few tiny fixes. 

These include:

– Shortening chapters. 

– Tightening sentences.

– Removed characters.

– Added new characters.

– Deleted entire chapters.

– Toned down the dark by two shades.

– Included new sub-stories for new characters.

– Deleted sub-story arcs. These were intended for future use.

– Picked up the pace.

With all of that I ended up with 38,000 words. I still feel there’s a lot to do here but for now I’m content and I’ll start working on new material.

In other news, spent an hour and a half playing “Super Mario Maker” and learned how to Shell Jump, P-Switch Jump, and Spring Jump. So far, Shell Jumps are the most difficult to do.

Production at full go!

After weeks of going back and forth in other things that needed immediate attention, I am back at full production for “Year of the Red Whale.”

My word count has soared up to 50,000. It is not a great number from a shy over 35,000 from last month, but I managed to plunge right through it. I had to delete entire sections and chapters of the novel to begin a fresh start with greater clarity in mind.

It’s never easy to cull huge chunks of your story. Sometimes it is necessary though. Who knows, maybe they will end up as part of a “Deleted Scenes” section, somewhere, somehow.

This is still Draft 1, I should say. But I’m doing everything I can to polish it as I go deeper into the story. Maybe that’s why it’s taking me too long to finish the entire damn book.

I’ve also finished writing a short story titled “Shiny’s Purple Bottle.” It’s a story about a woman and her mother.

I think I’ll send this off to a magazine. Maybe at Shock Totem when they open submissions. I’ve always wanted to get my story published by them, been watching them from the very start. So far I had submitted one story to them, which was rejected, and after looking at the story, I can see why they, or any other publication would decline in publishing it.

I do hope that this new short has the meat and bones professional publications are looking out for. I’ll keep polishing this story until Shock Totem becomes available.

In the meantime I’ll draft another short story. One that isn’t horror or weird, for once. All my shorts are either of those two. Maybe I’ll try my hand for science-fiction and aim for Clarkesworld.

 

Not going to make it

As of this writing my total word count for “Year of the Red Whale” is within the 30K range. This includes the initial write-up pre-NaNoWriMo. I still have two hours to go, but I don’t want to blaze through it so recklessly.

A lot of things happened this month. And I failed to catch up, and that’s no excuse. I failed at NaNoWriMo, but I still managed to write a large amount of words into the story. So, I can’t feel too bad about it.

I’m just now going to polish the things I’ve written at this point and then proceed in crafting the rest of the story.

Peace out. Still listening to the entire Paramore soundtrack in an endless loop.