So, I finished the rough draft of the first book of Allosaurus. I did a quick and dirty word count, and it comes out to just around 19,300 words. Those of you who are familiar with National Novel Writing Month know that the goal is 20,000 in one month.

Took me seven.

Still, it’s the first time I’ve written that kind of volume without being on some sort of manic episode – thus, putting the tales of Fran and Palmetto-Bug Man ahead of the original Ashland* by leaps and bounds. Also, the original Ashland has been, mercifully, lost. So, yay meds.

A lot of people look at writing as homework that you have to do, every day, for the rest of your life. Forgot who said that. It doesn’t feel too far off the mark. But there was also an element that felt like I was compelled to write. Even on days when I was tired, or didn’t “feel” like it, Fran and company beckoned. I could see her in my head, arms folded, foot tapping. “Dude, let’s go!” she’d exclaim, while Fenris and Pamela checked their watches. “I got asses to kick! C’mon!” And so I’d follow them along, writing as I went. When I would try and write something that was out of character for them, they would look back at me, incredulously. “You know I wouldn’t do that,” Mister Vanglorious would say. This made it a bit difficult to stick to the original plan of my story, in which Fran dies. It also allows me to go further in exploring what I really want to write about with these characters, which is the way a person can become a monster – and how they can, maybe, win back their humanity.

Speaking of Mister Vanglorious, there are several characters that I “borrowed” from my best friend Doc. Doc’s a hardcore gamer, with experience working in the industry designing peripherals. He’s that serious. He came up with D – Nforcer, Vanglorious and Arctica Winters as avatars for DC Online and Champions Online. Thing is, he more or less killed them off in the games, so I was only too happy to give them new life in Allosaurus. Thanks, Doc.


*Ashland is a story I’ve been writing on and off for about twenty years, in all honesty. The basic theme of Ashland is the way things lose their real value when everything has a price. I stopped writing it because, as a satire, it slowly became indistinguishable from reality.

  1. Boots says:

    I know it sounds terribly corny, but the best definition I’ve ever heard of being anything came out of Whoopie Goldberg in the film “Sister Act II” when she’s talking to a teenager about singing and says something like ‘if you get up in the morning and you think about singing, and you can’t think about anything BUT singing, then you’re a singer.’

    Your saying that you feel compelled to write is, I’d take it, akin to this very idea. Do you HAVE to write every day? That I’m not sure of. But might you WANT to write every day or might there be things which cross your mind every day which you think would be great to write about? That seems to me the mark of a writer…and you’ll note (sigh…) that I’m at the keyboard again as I write this!

    I can imagine being many things. But I can’t imagine being them and NOT being a writer. That strikes me as closer to the mark. And as for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), while I totally understand (and agree with) their concept that getting people to pour out all those words during a set amount of time gets a lot of people past the seriously debilitating habit of second guessing every adjective and comma, it’s not the do-all, be-all of writing. Writing is second nature to me and I do lots (and lots) of it. But I found the artificial ‘quota’ concept which is easy to fall into with NANO really difficult to cope with. Once you become a writer (and get past your hesitancy to write and have it not be perfect in the first draft) then the really great stuff takes years to develop. So good on you for getting your Allosaurus work through it’s rough draft! Now comes the fun part!

    • getbusyyall says:

      Hey Boots! Good to hear from you. Yes, there are days when my mind is pretty full of things I need to write down. And it’s true: sometimes what we might think of as corny or trite turns out to be the truth – that might be a mark of some forms of truth. An inescapable sureness. We think we may be too advanced or too deep for these things, but perhaps the simplicity of Sister Act us just too deep for us …

      It’s like the words in a Bob Marley song versus an Elvis Costello one. Both contain truths, but one uses a very evident song writing craftiness and the other uses a craft so effortless as to appear almost childlike. What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding, indeed. (and yes, I know that was Nick Lowe, but still.)

  2. sakuraandme says:

    Okay you sound like a serious writer even though you don’t really look at yourself like that. I really enjoy reading them and look forward to what’s next! Happy Valentines my friend….Hugs from down under….Paula xx

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