Friday, May 17, 2013

Writing Contest Update Halfway Through

A couple weeks ago, I announced that I'd begun the writing contest that began with just my friend Nick and I and expanded to include Sean Korsgaard and Lauren Patrick. I even included a selection from the first Mortal Kombat movie for your entertainment.

Well, here's my progress:

1. The Thing In The Woods, which is turning into a full-blown young-adult Lovecraftian horror novel, is now at 18,063 words from a beginning-of-the-month figure of 6,349. Right now, I'm concerned that it's actually going to be too short, although I've seen minimum YA word-counts as low as 45,000. I've added a small unrequited romantic plot involving our rather snobby Buckhead transplant hero and a small-town community theater enthusiast that should add to the word count some, include more female characters (before she showed up, the only ones were the protagonist's mom and little sister and they didn't really do much), and show some character growth on the protagonist's part.

Now an aside about the young adult genre: My friend James R. Tuck said what made my first complete (original) novel Battle for the Wastelands NOT a YA book even though the protagonist Andrew Sutter was in his teens was that his difficulties were "grown man problems" (hunger, genocide, war), with some teen-romantic drama being a tertiary issue. Contrast that with Thing protagonist James Daly's problems(before the tentacled swamp god and his redneck cult get involved), which are basically having to contribute to paying his parents' mortgage in the aftermath of the housing crisis, not being able to afford the college he wants, and his little sister trying to hook him up with this artsy girl who has a crush on him. That explanation makes a great deal of sense.

2. The Cybele Incident, my hard SF novel and hopefully beginning of a trilogy (with a fourth novel set a generation later), began the month at 15,817 and is now at 18,380. I wrote a new beginning for the first chapter to make protagonist Commander Thomas Briggs more sympathetic (the original beginning depicted him trying and failing to pick up women at a bar) and various odds and ends throughout the story. I did expand an attack sequence to depict the female lead/villain/anti-heroine doing something rather sneaky, as opposed to straight-up throwing nukes around.

Just over 14,000 words written and two more weeks left. At this rate, I might hit 30,000 words, which is 60 percent of the National Novel-Writing Month figure. If I had to guess, I'm probably going to finish Thing first, since it's going to be shorter to start with and it's a one-shot.

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