samuel x. brase likes to write

Caravan

Posted in novel planning by Sam X. on 26 July 2009
The gauntlet I threw down a few weeks ago is being met. The first third of the novel, Act I, is written in rough form, clocking in just shy of 30,000 words. Some of the writing is pretty shaky, but that’s what happens when I pound it out in 7 weeks. I’ve done some editing, but more needs to be done. Still, I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far; I’ve never gotten this far on a single writing project. The most exciting part is I know what it takes to write 100 pages now: doing that a couple more times and finishing this book out doesn’t daunt me in the least.
The second act is well planned, I can see finishing it by my birthday (Sept 21). My concerns lie with the third act, of which I have only a few ideas about. I have a number of action sequences imagined, but no established tension, no big reveals. My worry is that the second act is so loaded that there’s nothing left for the finale.
Let’s take a look here. I can’t spoil a ton because the plot is all I got, but…. Okay, so I broke down the major actions for the rest of the novel and there are three of them. I think my problem stems from the lack of a fourth major action; without it, one act would be very heavy in comparison to the other. I need to figure out a fourth action, probably a smaller one, like an initial skirmish between the two sides.
(Three hours later) And I’m back. I decided that instead of a contrived fourth action, I’ll simply amplify the first action beat in the second act and move some of the others around. I have a very rough (very, very, very rough) outline of the second and third acts, which I think will work better. It spreads some of the major actions from the second act into the third and elucidates on some events I hadn’t fully thought out.
Tomorrow I’m going to try and elaborate on this basic outline I have created while inebriated. If it gels, fantastic. I expect it to. There is ample room for the character development that is necessary, and ample room for exciting moments.
God this novel is going to be great.
If I can pull it off.

The gauntlet I threw down a few weeks ago is being met. The first third of the novel, Act I, is written in rough form, clocking in just shy of 30,000 words. Some of the writing is pretty shaky, but that’s what happens when I pound it out in 7 weeks. I’ve done some editing, but more needs to be done. Still, I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far; I’ve never gotten this far on a single writing project. The most exciting part is I know what it takes to write 100 pages now: doing that a couple more times and finishing this book out doesn’t daunt me in the least.

The second act is well planned, I can see finishing it by my birthday (Sept 21). My concerns lie with the third act, of which I have only a few ideas about. I have a number of action sequences imagined, but no established tension, no big reveals. My worry is that the second act is so loaded that there’s nothing left for the finale.

Let’s take a look here. I can’t spoil a ton because the plot is all I got, but…. Okay, so I broke down the major actions for the rest of the novel and there are three of them. I think my problem stems from the lack of a fourth major action; without it, one act would be very heavy in comparison to the other. I need to figure out a fourth action, probably a smaller one, like an initial skirmish between the two sides.

(Three hours later) And I’m back. I decided that instead of a contrived fourth action, I’ll simply amplify the first action beat in the second act and move some of the others around. I have a very rough (very, very, very rough) outline of the second and third acts, which I think will work better. It spreads some of the major actions from the second act into the third and elucidates on some events I hadn’t fully thought out.

Tomorrow I’m going to try and elaborate on this basic outline I have created while inebriated. If it gels, fantastic. I expect it to. There is ample room for the character development that is necessary, and ample room for exciting moments.

God this novel is going to be great.

If I can pull it off.

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New Plans

Posted in novel planning by Sam X. on 5 July 2009

The novella. Well, novel. I have about 60 pages and I can’t deny that the plan is for about 300 pages. That’s not a novella, that’s a novel.

We’ll call it EE for now. In brief, the idea is that five strangers meet after discovering portals from our world to another. They explore this other planet and the alien ruins contained thereon. The twist? When they’re on this alien planet, tentatively Planet X, they have been reverted to young teenagers. Oh, and — they’ll constantly be competing with a group of “lost boys” who have declared themselves the protectors of the new planet.

The reasons I decided to start a new project are many:

  1. With a clean slate, I can practice keeping the scope simple.
  2. As a result, this will be much easier to write than Doveiron.
  3. I don’t want to write Doveiron as my first novel, I want to learn from other projects.
  4. I’m tired of writing short stories for now; while the ones I’ve written flit from market to market, I will work on this.
  5. The project also allows me to put to work a number of theories I’ve been formulating about popular stories.

My idea, as it is coming together (I currently have 17,000 words), feels like a cup of cold water thrown on the face — sigh, I should probably not pitch it that way. The reader is plunged almost immediately into a new world that neither they nor our main characters understand, and the journey of discovery is shared by all.

The heart of the story is simple. I want to put friendship and rivalries under a lens, I want to romanticize exploration, I want to hook lots of people with a fun story and make them smile. Doveiron is a bit of a preachy novel, painting the dark picture of corporate ownership, impotent politics, brutality, etc. EE is about hope and dreams, candy and flowers, butterflies and perriwinkle. No, of course there’s an underbelly — every story needs a nadir — but I’m working to keep the vision narrow.

A lot of my writing is done for me and me only; if other people like it, that’s great. EE is definitely for me, but I’m also writing it with a definite audience in mind. I realize that if I want to be a professional writer, I’m going to have to understand how the writing is sold as well. Who the audience is, what the marketing could be like, plans for further books, etc. To get published, the more you know about how your story can be sold, the better your chances are. If a publisher finds my story and likes it but wants to know if there will be other books, I can tell them right now that we can sign a contract for four more books with the same characters and places.

Everything about the EE project makes me excited for its possibility. I started it about a month ago and I have a fifth of the first draft. I could have the whole draft done by the new year. By this time next summer, I could have a well-edited, slick machine of a mainstream-friendly novel. I think I will set that goal for myself. Have at least a second draft, something I can be proud of, by June 1, 2010. It’ll require a lot of continual effort, but I think the end result could be amazing. I really do. And I’d have it done before I’m 26.

Then it’ll be time to find an agent.

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