To The House of Death…
I just finished the rough draft of “To The House of Death,” a Young Adult slipstream novel I’ve been working on for three months. It’s the second novel I’ve written completely by hand (that’s right: with old fashioned pen and paper!), but boy, is it long. It filled up five and a half notebooks (see picture at right)!
The idea for this story originally came to me in a dream. I wrote out the outline on a Saturday morning in June, and have been hammering away at the novel ever since. I would write three or five pages in the morning, after lunch if I had time, and again at night (wash, rinse, repeat). Life was busy, and three to five pages was all I had time for! But after months of plugging away, I now have a rough draft that will probably weigh in at about 300 pages typed, if not more.
The advantages of writing long-hand
I tend to have so many dang ideas for plot twists. If I’m typing and have the ability to write quickly, I end up chasing too many plot bunnies down too many plot bunny holes. This is traditionally what happens to me every November during NaNoWriMo. The result: a five-hundred page novel that is not cohesive and that would need major editing to be viable.
The advantage of writing long-hand is that it gets me to slow down, and thus, the material comes out at a much higher quality the first time. Plus, I find it is a lot more relaxing to write in a notebook than to sit in front of a computer, which I do for work most of the live-long day. So I end up enjoying the writing process even more as an added bonus.
I got the idea of writing novels by hand from my hero, Margaret Atwood. She calls it a “Rolling Barrage,” a term from the first World War, where one row of soldiers would fire, duck—and then the row behind them would fire. Unfortunate if timed incorrectly, but effective if done well, as Atwood says. Similarly, she starts typing up her hand-written chapters as the writing creeps forward. I prefer to write out the whole rough-draft first and then type it up, but it’s a similar drill.
Here’s the video interview where Margaret Atwood talks about her creative process. It’s edifying to know that like me, my idol is also a terrible speller:)
Let the Barrage Begin!
I am thinking about posting a weekly or bi-weekly chapter either here on my blog, or up on Scribophile, to get beta-notes and feedback. Are you interested in being a beta for the first version of my novel? If so, please raise your cyber hand and let me know in the comments or via email.
What the Story is About
The basic premise: two demigods descend down into the underworld to prevent the destruction of the sun and the moon. They must ultimately confront Father Death and the terrifying demons who haunt the places under the earth.
I think this novel will really appeal to teens who are having their own “underworld” experiences: illness, depression; even just the “ordinary” struggle for young people to adapt to our violent and crumbling social structures amidst mind-numbing technology and schools that do not serve their needs. I believe it will offer adolescents solutions to hold their own darkness, and ultimately, offer hope that their own situations will improve by moving through their emotions in a healthy way.
All in all, I think this is the first novel I’ve written that will be worth pursuing in terms of publishing, with all the labor of love that entails. I’m excited to embark on the journey, and I hope you will join me:)
Interesting in becoming a beta reader? Poke me in the comment section or via email at art4earthlings at gmail dot com!