In my writing group, April was a sprint month in which we attempted to throw down a word count to jump start our new novels. Every year, I participate in NaNoWriMo in which I write an entire novel in 30 days. This was a little less ambitious, but it was a way to force a daily writing routine. It allowed me to try and work out some ideas on paper that I’m not entirely sure will survive into the editing phase.
I managed to write half a novel in one month. It’s a prequel for an existing novel that I’m editing at the moment. What I found during this little experiment in my sanity is that it was helpful to have my nose deep in one novel and start working on another. Even if I don’t use the manuscript for anything, it gave me some backstory possibilities and a plethora of arcs I’d like to see developed. It is however, a meandering train of thought that seems to derail at every turn. This does sometimes tend lead to my favorite work though, so I’m hopeful to see where it takes me in the next month.
I’ve set a new goal in the upcoming two months. I’m setting aside my writing (other than my faithful sticky notes) and putting on my editing hat. It’s not always my favorite part of writing, but this story has kept me interested. I think I can see some potential and I know with more edits it can be a contender. With this in mind, I should have the novel’s second draft ready in a month. I really dig the sound of that. A lot.
I work as a teacher. I grade a lot of papers. Some are carefully crafted magnificent experiences created by amazing wordsmiths. There are however, many that become an experiment in the tensile strength of paper bathed in red ink. At a certain point, I realize that I can see fractal patterns and I believe that my chicken scratches are divine intervention.
The tables have turned.
I am currently editing and writing at the same time. It is without a doubt that I love writing. It’s an opportunity to express myself and create a world without limitation. I’ve discovered that if writing is the utopian world I want, it’s only supported by the gruesome underworld of editing. I write an entire novel in a thirty-day period and it shows when I get to the editing phase. I can no longer comment on a student’s writing now that I’ve seen how much editing I’m currently putting into my current novel.
I’ve decided to put some elbow grease into my craft by revisiting mechanics, structure, grammar and even simple spelling. It’s been tedious to say the least, but I’m enjoying the fact that as I’m reading my current novel that it feels, well, more solid. I can’t say that anything I write is going to be the next big thing, but I can definitely tell that it is improving from where it once started.
The novel that I am revisiting right now is the start in a length series of books I hope to continue working on. The characters are much richer than I originally anticipated and the world has a lot of potential for expansion. I’m writing what I’m passionate about and I think it translates into the work. I’m setting some soft deadlines to be done with the first second draft and with that, getting it into a state that it’s suitable for an agent’s eyes. I’m nervous and excited about the potential waves of letters, both positive and negative about my writing.
This week I will be releasing the first chapter of Suburban Zombie High online for the masses. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m a bundle of mixed emotions that results in me jabbering. Since it will be the first episode release, I thought it would be a good idea to tell people how they can be sure to catch every “episode” of the book.
On the right hand side of the website there is a box that says “Subscribe to Blog.” This will make sure that each entry of the book goes straight to your mailbox and you can read at your own leisure.
For the more tech savvy folks out there. You can add: feed://remyflagg.com/?feed=rss2 to get updates from the entire website. If you are just interested in receiving chapters of Suburban Zombie you can add: feed://remyflagg.com/?cat=3&feed=rss2 to your RSS News Feeds. By doing this you can be sure that you will get the chapters as they become available.
If you look at the top of the website you’ll see a menu for “Projects.” If you hover over that, you’ll see Suburban Zombie High is a button. If you go there, it’ll show you the newest chapter of the novel.
Each chapter will also be broadcasted on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook) but unfortunately there are some limitations. If you rely on FB to show up on your timeline, only 33% of the members of a page see a post. Twitter’s will also work but because of the fast paced nature of Twitter’s feed, it can be difficult to keep up with latest chapters. If you’re one a daring person, you can find my twitter feed: http://twitter.com/writeremyflagg and my Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writeremyflagg.com
It’s been almost a year since I’ve written anything in a blog format. I had, by my definition, amazing success with I.Am.Maine. I had a multi-media experience where I got to explain exactly what it meant to be from a small town in central Maine. I got to hear other people’s experiences and I think the therapy of that project will resonate with me for years. However, It’s time to say farewell and take this momentum and move forward.
Again, I had a great success with my first novel, Suburban Zombie High. I managed to make it onto the top 100 satire list both with the print kindle edition. I will continue to blame Kurt Vonnegut for my short lived fame. However, this made me realize that I have a shelf full of books waiting to be read and that I need to take the plunge and make them available for the public. I have participated in National Novel Writing Month since 2006 and that has resulted in some fun characters, outlandish plots, and even time heartfelt moments. I think it’s time that they are shared with the outside world.
I held off publishing Suburban Zombie High School: The Reunion because I’m actively hunting for an agent to get a publishing deal. There are so many things involved in this that it impossible for me to explain. However, thanks to a fellow writer, I was introduced to the idea of serializing some of my writing. I thought, “Well isn’t this a great opportunity to bring some sassy high school characters being chased by zombies to the masses?” So you’ll begin to see Suburban Zombie High, Suburban Zombie High: The Reunion, and Suburban Zombie High: Final Class, brought to the web. I’m expecting this to be a weekly chapter release until we reach the final clash of teens, homework and zombie slaying.
For those who have been with I.Am.Maine from the start, there will be two books forthcoming. One will be a physical copy of the blog, while the other will be a photojournalism book discussing the hardships of a small town. I’m hoping to see these out in the next year or two.
Meanwhile, I am currently writing & editing. I am about half-way through editing a book that I will begin taking to agents this year. I am also several chapters into the sequel (or prequel) at this point and I’m looking forward to the opportunities this is going to bring. Where many of my books have a single story to be told, this book is proving to be a myriad of intertwined possibilities that will most likely keep me busy for years to come.
Thanks being the fire under my butt when I’ve slowed and the support I’ve needed when I stagger.