Pleased to report I've completed the first draft of "Swash!", my comic novel about a boy who stumbles upon an ancient pirate shipwreck, only to find he has to also deal with the returned pirates. Now comes the hard part . . . editing the damned thing.
Clocking in at 87,822 words, it is the longest piece I've ever written, which I find it heartening in a way. I'd like to think each of my "novels" has gotten longer and longer because it reflects my improved ability to thread in other subplots and description, which perhaps I wasn't doing enough of before.
It's also mostly true that ten-percent of a first draft is crap that needs to be excised, but I'll be just as pleased if it ends up at 80,000 or so.
I confess I'm delighted with the way the thing turned out. I THINK all the various subplots tie together nicely, and the ending actually has a kind of Willy Wonka meets Christopher Moore vibe that I hope works.
Not that I planned to, but I've done some things differently on this one than the ones previous. For one thing, I didn't print out a single "draft" copy of the work in progress until I finished it. I suspect this has more to do with the sticker shock I get when buying inkjet cartridges ($66.00 for the cartridges I need!) than anything else, but I'm glad I did my in-progress editing on screen.
And because most of the activity takes place on a small slice of land jutting into Cape Cod Bay, early on I also hand drew a map detailing where things were, just so I wouldn't confuse myself. No, I can't draw for crap, but I can imagine (dream, more like it) that a hardcopy edition might contain a similar map (drawn by one with more talent than me!) to lure folks into what's inside.
Editing the thing will take some time, but in the next week or two, I'll send reading copies for comment out to all the usual suspects (yes, that means YOU friends and family members who I KNOW read this thing but don't comment!) Keep an eye out for it.
Plan to pull out all the stops on this one in terms of trying to get representation. But it seems I'm always about to query when the publishing industry takes their (perhaps mythical?) summer off. Though one wonders with e-books and Ipads and Kindles nipping at their heels, whether that's still true or not.
I'm also excited to know exactly what I'll be working on next, a novel containing the private detective character featured in my free Smashwords story Telegraph Hill.
I've mentioned before that I started something a while ago with him and abandoned it. But after finishing something whimsical and somewhat comic, I'm looking forward to continuing in that vein.
And if you haven't already downloaded and read Telegraph Hill then what's stopping you? One-hundred and sixteen people already have! For me anyway, I suspect that's the closest to viral I'll ever get.
And after trying my hand at horror, thriller, and sentimental coming-of-age, perhaps my true calling is something akin to serio-comic with a touch of paranormal. Only time will tell.