Starting the Fifth Novella

Blog Post No. 454

ek9ec_bxsainecfIt’s August (already, somehow) and for better or worse, I’ve put the Invasion Novel aside to start the fifth novella, Snow from a Distant Sky. I had a really good plan for July that would result in me getting the third and fourth draft of the novel done and (ideally) put me in a good position to have some folks get their first look at the book. That didn’t happen. Between going back to the day job and the earwig invasion, I only managed to get the third draft done. I think I managed to make it a good one, though. I didn’t want to rush (because I would miss a bunch and it would have been a waste of time and effort) but there is still a long way to go. It’s definitely not ready for people to see.

I don’t mind taking a break from the editing. I’ve said it many times, I much prefer writing to editing. Even though it’s more work to sit and create day after day, it comes easier to me. Since starting is the hardest part the fact that starting writing is easier makes a big difference. Not that editing is completely joyless. It’s just more of a drag than writing. The new novella comes with its own hangups, though.

fu7ohvagk3to2t1Like with the last two, I hope to make this novella shorter. I failed those times and I told myself I would do more planning for this book so that I would wander less and stick to the plot more, but I didn’t. So, we’ll see how much it gets out of hand. I don’t intend to make it as short as Thinking Machine. That first book suffered from me constraining the length. I hope to make Snow about 35 000 words. It’s hubris to state a length before I’ve really gotten into the book, but I’m determined to make it more concise and to limit the amount that I have to cut in the edits (especially after Break/Interrupt and the Invasion Novel). As long as I can keep it under 40 000 words, I’ll feel like I did a good job. As long as the length and the story fit well, that is.

Starting with a blank page is always intimidating, too. I’ll never get used to having nothing but a blinking cursor staring me in the face. Thankfully I’ve have enough experience that I know I can turn that blank page into a few thousand words in a matter of days. The most intimidating thing about this book is that I’ve been building it up throughout the series and put it off, twice. Time has made it a bigger deal than it really should be. The idea is one that I’ve had (and failed to make progress with) since at least 2004.

jxrwv3n1ffixSince I’m taking a break from the novellas after this, it’s also kind of a wrap up of what I’ve been building. It’s not going to tie up every loose end, but it will answer some of the questions I’ve let hang in the other books. Like, who is that guy who keeps showing up with impossible doors and snow? Some folks have asked me about it and I don’t want the answer that I’ve put off to be a disappointing one. All I can do is write it, though. Worrying about it too much is a good way to get stuck. Here’s hoping that by the end of the month I’ll either be done the first draft, or really close.

4 thoughts on “Starting the Fifth Novella

  1. Pingback: Writing a Book for the Second Time – Ben Van Dongen

  2. Pingback: First Draft of Snow from a Distant Sky – Ben Van Dongen

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