The Dark Lands

Here’s the deal. I have been working on a young adult novel for a little over a year. When I started writing it, I told myself,”this is just a practice novel.” I wanted to get in the habit of writing again. I wanted to see if it was still fun. At one time in my life that was all I ever did in my spare time. If you have been reading my blog you know that I still think about writing books all the time.

Over the last month I have been bogged down in my practice novel. There have been tons of things I was not happy with. I slowly began to try to fix them all. Today I decided that it was time to do what I originally said I was going to do. Put the practice novel aside. It was never meant to be anything more than proving I could still do it. The basic story is a good one and I think that at a future date I am going to go back to it. I already have an idea how I can change it into something better.

The practice novel was set in a real world setting. It is one of the only things I have written in my life that was. I almost always have some mixture of fantasy or horror in my writing. I thought it would help me get through it. A book set in a school with kids. I know that subject. The problem was that when I reread it, I really didn’t like it. I liked that I had written it. I liked the basic plot but I didn’t like the overall theme of the story. No amount of rewrites was going to change that. It was going to take a complete overhaul.

It was time to call it quits and I did. Today I took an idea that has been roaming around in my head over the last few weeks and started it. That’s a little unusual for me because stories often kick around in my head for a long time. I wanted to try it because I think that over the last 20 years I have really over thought my writing process. It has lead to the start of a bunch of stories but rarely a finish.

This time I am just going to go along for the ride. I knew the first line and I know how I want to end it. I know nothing else, I am going to discover it with my characters. I am also going to be way more disciplined about my writing time. I knew that I needed both an overall word goal and a daily word goal. I was going to treat this a little like my weight loss program. I must be accountable, no drifting off.

I decided that the goal needed to be manageable and the count realistic. I did a word count on some of my favorite young adult novels and decided that 65,000 words would be my overall goal. I want to submit this book and 65,000 was definitely a publishable length. No practice novel here. My daily goal will be a 1,000 words. This is just over 2 pages a day. A number I think that I can meet, even with the day job.

The final step of the accountability will be reporting out on my blog my progress. Cherie Priest had a great little word counter on her blog and was kind enough to share it with me. I added it on the right side of my blog and will update it everyday, even if I don’t make my goal.

Everything that I have been doing over the last few months has been to gear up for this moment. I know that now. The blog was a way to make sure that I was thinking about writing everyday. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get more consistent with the blog in preparation for starting the new book.

So here we go. The book is called The Dark Lands (This is just a working title and will probably go the way of the dodo). It is a young adult story and a fantasy novel, although it will have elements of horror. I don’t know if it will be any good and I don’t care. I almost feel like a writer again. Even more importantly, it was really fun today and I have missed that feeling.

I am not going to talk about the content of the book very often. I find that the more I talk the less I write (I am a natural born storyteller but that is not going to get the book written). I will probably write about things that frustrate me in the writing process. From time to time I will throw out a few sentences just because I feel like it. Here are the first two sentences of the book, thanks for reading:

Josh could hear the growling behind him. The fear coursed through his veins as he jumped off the cliff into the water below.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

2 Responses to “The Dark Lands”

  1. >I’m probably wrong considering your wife edits all your blogs, but.. he could here the growling.. I think it’s supposed to be hear?I don’t know. I’m out of it today anyway, but yeah.

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