by Shelt Garner
After about roughly three or so years of hard work, the novel I’m developing and writing is getting much, much better. Some of this is coming from simply improving my storytelling ability through brute force and some of it is coming from the reading that I’m finally managed to get around to.
But I’m still only on a first draft.
Yet, I have put my self on a pretty tight deadline, so I should be finished with the first draft of the first of two books in a few months. The story is set near the end of “the before times” right before COVID struck the US, but I think that by the time I finally get around to trying to sell it that people will be thinking about politics again so there will be an audience.
The story is meant to be very, very “of the moment” to the point that it plays with some of the era’s political tropes for the purposes of the plot. One my biggest problems is I’m just not a very dark person and there are some very serious issues that I have to address without in any way cracking wise.
But I’ve improved so much since I started this journey that I know if I just keep plugging along that I will continue to get better and better. One thing I’ve learned is don’t be too quick to assume you can’t figure out a problem in a story. It helps, sometimes, to just distract yourself for a few days and come back to the work with fresh eyes.
It used to be that the whole thing would collapse at least one a week — sometimes once a day! — and I would have to rework everything. This happened in large part because I have very high standards for myself and I just did not know storytelling structure well enough to build a framework to support the kind of story I wanted to seriously tell.
But I’m finally here.
Now, I just have to put the hard work into it. I have to stop navel gazing so conspicuously and gratuitously and actually do the work necessary to finish not one but two books. (The first book ends in a cliffhanger.)
I have a pretty good system established for going from development to writing but it’s so thorough that it can slow me down at times. But anyway, I hope to get a lot of writing done over the next few days.