Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THING IN THE WOODS First-Ish Draft is Done

This announcement is a week or so late, but here it comes. The first draft of my "teen Lovecraftian horror novel" The Thing In The Woods is finished.

The story began when I was hanging around the Borders in East Cobb when I was in high school or college. I was reading a Call of Cthulhu role-playing game manual and came across the concept of one of those isolated small towns where Lovecraft depicted evil things afoot being suburbanized. The phrase they used was "supernatural Love Canal." What began as a short story turned into a novel (in terms of concept, as I actually hadn't written very much), a novel I neglected to focus on other projects like Battle for the Wastelands.

However, I eventually realized this was another project I could write fairly quickly, since I wouldn't need to do as much research as I would for other projects. As of last March, only 1,517 words had been written. By the time the summer writing challenge with my friends Nick and Lauren began, only 6,000 words had been written. Now it's 46,000 words long. I call it a "first-ish" draft because I typically write one or two chapters at a time, print and revise them, submit to writing group(s), and then revise based on their comment. The last two chapters, which one of my groups will consider on 12/29, would technically be at the "second draft" (or a "Cherie Priest first draft" because she considers an unrevised-but-just-finished project to be "draft zero"), but earlier parts will have been revised twice or more.

Then things will get a bit tricky. Many agents will not represent and many publishers will not publish a work that's this short. There are some presses that will, but oftentimes they will only put them out as eBooks, not as print books. Although the eBook market is rapidly growing and threatens to obliterate mass-market paperbacks, no print editions mean no book signings. That's a very good way to generate publicity and thus further book sales (I've covered a bunch in my years as a journalist--see here, here, here, and most recently on page 10 here). If book signings are not an option, I'm not sure how I'd do my bit to promote the book.

Fortunately, I've got ideas for at least three more scenes I can add that flesh out the book's female lead (she's a relative newcomer to the story and I fear it shows) and provide one last POV for the novel's (human) villain that's thematically fitting. Hopefully I can get it to 50,000 words. Then I can bring the completed novel before my other writing group (and some interested friends) and once I revise based on their opinion, it'll be ready to be shopped around. I'm thinking this will be done by the end of first quarter 2014, although graduate school could be a problem.

Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

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