Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Progress Post: Starting a New Project

I haven't posted about my progress since May, mostly because there had been very little change since that post. As you may have gathered, I was in something of a slump, and realized I was better off concentrating on mentally plotting, sorting out priorities, and doing fun things until I could start typing without my stomach immediately clenching into a knot. To me, that's important. But then, I can go a couple of weeks without writing a single word, and then pick it back up and write 20,000.

That isn't quite what I've done, but I did finish the work-in-progress (which is what WIP stands for), the tentatively titled "Reincarnation." (Quick lesson on proper citation: if it isn't published, the title goes in quotes. If it's published, it's underlined or in italics. Short stories are also in quotes. Similarly, album titles are underlined or in italics while the songs are in quotes.)

"Reincarnation" clocked in at 131,452 words. I'm going to trim that down closer to 100K, which only sounds intimidating if you haven't seen how padded this draft is. There's a lot to cut.

Then last night, I started in on a horror novel based on personal experience, which I'm calling "Grandmother's House." In college, I lived in a very creepy old farmhouse in Maine, and I had some experiences I still can't explain. My father recently pointed out some pieces of the house's history that I'm glad I didn't know while I lived there.

I'm not interested in telling the story exactly as it happened, because it was anticlimactic. Instead, I'm playing up the events that did happen, adding details of things that scare me, and turning it into a coherent narrative with a satisfying ending.

Unfortunately for me, writing horror involves delving into the things that frighten me. In order to bring out the fear I experienced, I have to imagine myself back in it before I can transcribe the sensations I felt. The scene I wrote last night, of my main character's first moment of creeping dread, involved picturing the first time I peered into the dark cellar of that house, smelled the churned dirt of the floor, felt the cold air gusting up, and realized I had to go down into that dark and windowless place.

It was just one scene, but it left me drained and jittery the rest of the night. It was safer, somehow, having that creeping dread on the page instead of in my head, but that doesn't mean it was easy to invoke.

My writing group advised that I do something different, and this most certainly is. We'll see if getting it out is even feasible, and whether I can do it justice.


  1. *claps*
    YAY! So glad you're working on this one.

    1. I'm not sure if I'm glad, or not. It'll be good to have it out of my head and into other people's, but I'm scaring the heck out of myself in the process.

  2. I hit a bit of a creative wall just recently. Following the advice of some friends who are in my writing group, I took a break for a week or so, was able to get a new scene for what I was working on and got back in the saddle all refreshed and ready to continue on yesterday.