I just wrote a 71,000 word novel in 8 days. And you know what? It’s pretty good.

This entry is almost certainly going to be a little long and hard to follow. It will probably contain a fair number of dropped words and typos, too. It’s 2 AM on Wednesday morning, and I just finished about half an hour ago. I know that I’m not going to be able to sleep for hours, so I figured that I might as well get all of this down.

I just wrote the first draft of a novel. I began it on May 31st at around 2 PM. I just now finished it. That seven and a half days contained one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I’m not saying that it’s some kind of impossible accomplishment. I mean, Stendhal wrote the Charterhouse of Parma in 52 days and we still read it 200 years later. That is an accomplishment. In SF and Fantasy, given the number of books some authors put out, I think it’s not an uncommon skill to be able to put down 10,000 words a day of first draft.

Nonetheless, it is not something that I had ever imagined I would be capable of doing. It was an experience that was not only incredibly intense, but also one that I was not really looking for. It was something that came upon me almost like some kind of miracle. Now, normally when miraculous, ecstatic experiences come upon me, I don’t write about them in this blog, because they’re not only incommunicable, they’re also kinda off-topic. But this is a writing / book blog, dammit, and so I think it might be of interest to document a writing miracle.

I don’t normally talk too much about my writing process, but this experience has given me a lot of insights into what I do. These insights gradually spiraling into a massive blog entry. The blog entry is pretty good, but it’s also five thousand words long. There is no one in the world whose writing I like so much that I’d read a five thousand word blog entry from them. If Tolstoy had a blog, and he wrote, “Further acquaintance with this topic caused such an intense ferment in my spirit that I was impelled to write an online essay totaling some five thousand words to examine the stirrings of my soul”, I would still click back on that. So I am splitting this entry up into seven or eight entries that I am going to post over the next few weeks.

Anyway, if you want to know what the book is about, then I have just four words for you: Vampires In High School.

Sure, it’s more complicated than that. The word vampire never appears in the novel. They don’t suck blood or fear the sun. But that’s not what vampires are about. Vampires are about sexiness. And my novel is about preternaturally sexy creatures who like to have sex with high schoolers. It’s also gay. And an alternate history. And a work of science fiction. But mostly it’s a vampire novel. Normally I’d be ashamed of that, but….it’s not like I spent eighteen months on it. I wrote it in eight days.

I’m normally pretty tight-fisted with details about my unpublished works (because I figure there is a good chance that if they’re unpublished, they’re bad) so I don’t think more plot details will be forthcoming. But you won’t need them for the posts that follow.

            Next: How This Came To Happen

16 Comments on “I just wrote a 71,000 word novel in 8 days. And you know what? It’s pretty good.

  1. Congratulations on the accomplishment! Writing a full novel in eight days is an amazing achievement and I commend you for it. Now, I would suggest taking a week off to kick back and relax. After the amount you wrote, you deserve it!

    • My plan is to get back on the horse immediately and start revising for various language errors I noticed I was making, while they’re still fresh in my mind…but these plans sometimes do not come to fruition.

      • I’d actually suggest taking a few day, or a week or two off. When you start editing right after finishing a novel, you’re still too attached and are very prone to skimming over mistakes you would have caught otherwise. It’s best to use some time to detach yourself from it first.

        • Sometime I prefer to edit while I still have some sense of the voice and the plot. Things fade over time, and my own attention flags. If I am doing final edits, to cut extraneous scenes and words and to correct typos, then waiting for a bit can help. But my next round will mostly be to add things (for instance, I didn’t know how the story would end when I began it. Know that I know the ending, that influences the kind of details to play up in the beginning). I think that for additive revision it’s best (for me) to begin sooner, rather than later. But, we’ll see.

          • That does make sense, actually. I suppose every person has a different way they prefer to edit, much like writing. And wanting to add thing to the story itself, rather than basic grammar editing is easier to do when the story is still fresh in your mind.

  2. That’s awesome. When the muse muses, as it were… you got to… be-mused?

    On a slightly unrelated topic, your Seven Robots at Brain Harvest was a great read.

    And on a more related topic, it’s… pretty unfortunate that you believe your unpublished works must be bad. That is a false belief for so many reasons. I am sure I and many others would enjoy works of yours that have not been published. Stick it to the man, bro.

    • I don’t believe it must be bad. I believe it might be bad. I do sometimes have a desire to self-publish things that I think might just be too strange for pro markets, but I personally (and this is on me, it’s no offense to anyone else) have never even been tempted to to and read someone else”s never-traditionally-published work so it’s hard to believe someone would be willing to do that for me.

      As for the muse, oh man, I have an amazing link on that. While I was writing, a friend of mine sent me a link to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on the source of creativity (and writerly angst). I was _so_ amazing. I kind of want to read Eat, Pray, Love now.

      • Cool. I will peep it. And in reference to non-traditional-publishing, I, too, don’t read self-published work. However, I recently started e-booking a few stories that I felt confident in, but would otherwise have to be trunked for lack of markets. So far, zero sales… but, that’s where I started, anyway, and if the market massively alters, it gives me a baseline of knowledge to churn that kind of product.

        But, yeah… I don’t own an e-reader, and I get my books from the library and the bookstore, so… I’m just hoping there are people hipper and more experimental than I am.

        • Yeah that could definitely happen. I mean, amongst music fandoms, it seems like there is a certain cachet in liking something really unknown, because there is a perception that the market is homogenizing and that strange and innovative things are either barred from it or taken in and then destroyed. If the same sort of perception arose for fiction, then there could start to be a class of people who act as unofficial curators for self-published work (although its funny, even in music, right? Because isn’t the end result of all that curating and taste-making to introduce the band to a wider audience and enable them to reach a point where they can enter the market and get signed?)

  3. I stand by my statement that you are a TERRIFYING OVERACHIEVER. (And also, congratulations!)

    • Could not have done it without you. I really need to go back and mine more of our conversations. After our conversation yesterday, I was like, “Huh, if these are only going to take a month then I guess I wouldn’t mind writing more of them” and I went in and put some straight-up sequel hooks in the epilogue…just in case

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