31 Aug 2020 - Vidar Hokstad
When I first started planning this series, I had no idea it would take this long for it to come to fruition.
I intended to self-publish from the start. That was not the problem. The problem was that I started writing without a plan. And roughly 10k words in, I ground to a halt. I struggled my way past another 6k words, but then got nowhere. To those of you with no concept of how long a novel is (that was me before I started writing as well), the bare minimum for a novel is around the 40k mark. My novels are now aiming for between 65k and 75k. That's 65,000 to 75,000.
It comes easy to me to write shorter texts. 3,000-4,000 word articles is something I've written many of on technical subjects. But a novel is a different beast.
While some people can just sit down and write, or even insist it's the only possible way, some people swear by writing long dispositions ahead of time.
So I tried that. Didn't work for me.
As a result I put my project aside for other things for several years.
Then earlier this year I just had to try again.
This time I tried a new approach: I planned out characters and gradually expanded on the plot, and I put together a spreadsheet. It seems so totally counter to the idea of writing as a creative endeavour. But it worked.
I planned out scenes and assigned word counts, and instead of this one big monstrosity, I had a list of smaller stories to tell, that needed to get somewhere to move the plot forwards, but they were small and bite sized.
And then I sat down with what I had and gutted it. Suddenly I blew past the first 16,000 words, and before I knew it I had a full manuscript. A rough first draft, mind you, but a complete novel that was possible to read, though messy.
That's when the hard part started: Figuring out publishing. I'll tell more about that journey later (frankly I'd rather be in a space ship getting shot at, like my characters).