Thursday, September 12, 2013

Double Jack, Draft 3

I've wrapped up Draft #3 of Double Jack, my primary work in progress (WIP).

So far, this is the easiest story that I've told, yet also the hardest. Stylistically, it's a leap off a cliff with all the faith that I would make it work. That is mostly works gratifies me, but in writing, if something isn't totally working, you have a problem. At this point, I don't know whether I've written something wonderful or something overly pretentious. I don't think that I will ever know. I suspect that some people will always love it for what it is, while many are turned off for the exact same reason.

Th novel is set in a mildly fantasy 1920's. Added to this mix are has-been wizards, some alternate timelining, and all the sensibilities of a 1920's novel. Those sensibilities turned out to have a huge impact on the work.

Since a 1920s novel that I've read have no presumption of violence, my story likewise has no presumption of violence. I found that amazing. For my Endhaven series, I had wrestled with how to make a less violent fantasy novel, but Double Jack skipped merrily to my destination then splashed in the birdbath. In such a novel, the mere threat of violence often serves the same function, with the added bonus that losing the fight doesn't kill any of my characters.

I also found a modern novel much easier to write. I didn't have to make everything up. Where before I would poke along at 500 words a day, I suddenly found myself dumping 2000 words with ease. I had the whole world as my backstory and mining it was easy. Unfortunately, Double Jack is not easy to sequel.

I still wrestle with the novel's length. At this point, it's a novella at 40k words. I am not sure how to increase the word count. It may just be a novella.

Now that I've finished draft #3, it's off to my few readers. I don't call them beta readers as they comment on many drafts, not just final ones. They really help spot big things early, but more importantly, they point to things that work well and stand out.