Develop a Story

I didn’t start out to write a novel. I just had an idea. In this case I had the rather vague thought of a young man who wakes up one day to a world that was utterly silent and in which he was absolutely alone. It was to be a story about isolation and alienation in an utterly hostile world. No, I haven’t given away any of the plot because the story didn’t turn out this way. No matter how I tried to make the story about theme driven, it never worked and, after several fitful starts, I surrendered to the storyline and I became the recorder of events in the story rather than the originator.  The characters grew until they led the action rather than my leading them.

Letting the characters unfold the action can have consequences though. Since the characters are a product of your psyche, especially those corridors of your mind that may often be hidden in shadow. I found myself writing about things that I normally would have steered clear of, yet in the context of the action and dialogue, virtually nothing was off limits. I also found that once the story was launched it wanted to keep going and going, from action point to action point, adventure to adventure. Suddenly 100K words became 200K, and 200K became 300K. Then suddenly it was over. It wasn’t that I ran out of words, the story simply reached its end and the characters stopped speaking to me.

Once the initial writing was completed, editing began. Then more editing, and even more editing.  Editing was followed by doubting. Is it too long? What about consistency? What about style? What about marketability? Oh, yeah, marketability, how do I make money with my creation?  Maybe I should split the novel into several novellas or novelettes. After all, six eBook novellas at .99 cents each would bring in more than one eBook novel at $3.99.  A more compelling argument is that I doubt anyone would pay $3.99 (much less $12.99) for a novel by a previously unpublished author, whereas on a whim someone might spend .99 cents just to see what it’s like.

If you’re turned off by the previous discussion of marketability, not to worry. In the end, the whole marketability thing doesn’t really work for me as I am a terrible self-promoter and a worse capitalist. If I can make a profit at writing, at least enough that I can declare my office as a business expense, I’ll be happy.

© Copyright 2011 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Starting the Process

Okay, so last year I finished writing my first novel, over 332K words.  That having been accomplished, the next question is, “What the heck do I do with it?” It’s all well and good to be a novelist, but if no one ever reads it, was it worth the effort? Was it worth spending hundreds of hours on the computer writing and researching just to lose it all the next time my hard drive crashes? Would it even matter if my novel vanished into the ether? Would it make a difference to anyone? Probably not, but how will I know unless I put it out there? And I guess that’s what this is all about. That’s why I’m writing this blog.

What does a blog have to do with getting published? Well, I figured that a blog, that is, putting the effort out in public, would sort of hold me accountable. It wouldn’t just be me anymore. Anyone who might stumble on this blog could share my experience and, in turn, the expectation that someone would care enough to keep up with my efforts to get published might keep me motivated to follow this through. Writing, under the best of circumstances, is a solitary pursuit. No matter what gives you the idea for a story, no matter who you talk to or discuss it with, the execution of the story is a lonely, personal process because whether you like it or not, the story is inevitably about you.

To help me through this process, I’ve started developing a flowchart of the publication process (Publishing Process Flowchart) . I know flowcharts are lame, but I’m kind of a visual guy and mapping the process helps me to understand where I am in the process. In future posts, we’ll walk through the process, talk about writing, and hopefully, in the end, get my novel reformatted and sold as an eBook.
© Copyright 2011 by Kevin Fraleigh.

The first step

Somewhere in my closet there is a notebook with dozens of yellowed, worn pages of prose and poetry I wrote in the late 60’s and early 70’s, back in a time when I still believed the pinnacle of the writer’s craft was to have his work captured on paper and hard bound. While there is a part of me that still clings to that belief, I have resolved myself to the realities of electronic publishing. In this blog I hope to document the journey to get my new work published as an ebook, but it’s late now and I have many things to do to make this blog my own.
© Copyright 2011 by Kevin Fraleigh