Friday, June 02, 2006

There's a lot of things I still want to do in my lifetime, but last night I accomplished something of which I'm very proud... and relieved.

I wrote my first novel.

I've been working on this thing on and off for a few years, and last night I completed the final chapter. Hallelujah. I don't know how professional authors bang these things out so quickly. My favorite writer, Elmore Leonard, is 80 years old and still pens a new novel every year. Maybe if I didn't have a day job. Maybe.

What's my book about? Well, it's about 250 pages, printed out with the normal font, margin and single-spaced. Since publishers consider 250 words a page and I wrote around 88,000 words, it's technically more like 350 pages.

But what's it about? Vegas, baby. Gambling, girls, glitz, romance, casinos, criminals, and crazy characters.

I used to spend a lot of time in Sin City. At the time, I was about to start writing yet another screenplay. But I got very discouraged by the spec market. Scripts are blueprints for movies, so everyone feels they can alter the plans, despite how much the writer has carefully laid them out... I could hear the development notes in my head, people second-guessing every choice.

How many movie development executives does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Uh... does it have to be a lightbulb?

I reminded myself to write it for me, to look forward to the feeling of satisfaction from finishing a movie. At that time, the thrill was gone, baby. Been there, done that. But a novel -- that would be novel. And no matter how it turned out, it would be quite an achievement for me. And I think it turned out pretty good.

But I'm not sure if I'm ready to show anyone yet. (I might post a passage from it, we'll see.) The way I worked on it, I'd write and rewrite and rewrite a chapter. It could take me weeks or even months. Then when I was done, that was it. Onto the next one. No going back to fix a previous chapter. As a result, there are some small plot inconsistencies -- details that got changed later on, pay-offs that weren't planted properly, things like that. They're fairly minor, and probably easily fixable, but they kinda bother me... I just can't be satisfied.

So I plan to look it over and tool with it some more, get feedback from friends and then work on trying to get it published. Which I know won't be easy.

But for now, I just like knowing I did it.


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