by Shelt Garner
Well, not only is my fucking computer on its last legs, I’m at a loss as to word count for this novel. Because of my computer problems, I’ve decided read a lot for the next two weeks while I wait to buy a replacement computer and, as such, I’m yet again reading Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire.”
This go round, I’m trying to get a sense of some of the finer points of what makes the novel my “textbook.” If I can produce a novel as great as The Girl Who Played With Fire, I will be ecstatic. It’s exactly the vibe I want for this novel and I want my novel to be an Old Brown Shoe for anyone who’s read it.
And, yet, the more I read it, the more I realize not only how much work I have ahead of me, but the issue of word count. The novel — while rather wordy — is really, really good. And I keep trying to figure out why Larsson did this or that thing as part of his storytelling vision.
It definitely looks as though I may match him in word count for the third draft o the novel — which is a bad thing. I’m trying to keep the thing down to about 100,000 words, but I’ve totally reworked the beginning of the novel to the point that the Big Bad Event that is the whole point of the novel doesn’t happen until roughly 50,000 words into the story.
My vision is that by the time the Big Bad Event happens, you will have invested enough into the world and the characters I’ve created that the rest of the novel will zoom by, just like with much of Larsson’s work.
But there is a lot I just don’t know — just like I’m on edge about my computer. It definitely looks like it could have a catastrophic crash at any moment and I won’t have anything to write on until early October. Ugh.
And there is also the issue of making the novel a lot darker. I need to make my villains not only more evil, but also give them a lot more rationale for being the way they are. I have a few ideas as to how to do it, but it’s not going to come easy.
I’m just not a dark and twisted guy and it’s really hard work for me to think up evil people. Oh well. That’s why they pay me the big bucks, I guess.