Writing: A Love/Hate Story, Part I

My first published book, Night Falls on Tephalus, is thiiiiiiiiis close to the finish line, but holy hell, what a long, strange road it’s been.

The thing that eventually became Night Falls first came into existence in November 2011. Yes, you read that right. 7 1/2 fucking years ago. Previously, I was embarrassed to tell people when I first started it, but now I tell people with a slightly confrontational edge in my voice because I have persevered through making just about every mistake an author could make on the way.

I wrote what was then called Noir Knight during National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) 2011. For those unfamiliar with it, NaNoWriMo came into creation in 1999 when a group of friends challenged each other to write a novel in one month. To standardize things, they decided that since your average 250-page paperback has around 50,000 words, that would be the minimum requirement. (They picked a word requirement and not a page requirement because some people would shove in their margins and bump up their font size until their books looked like Dr. Seuss epics.) After some shifting around, they settled on holding NaNoWriMo every November. The movement’s gone international and is now a thriving nonprofit that encourages writers of all ages. (For more info, check out https://www.nanowrimo.org/ .)

Anyway, in November 2011, I managed to crank out over 50,000 words, 25,000 of which came in the last four days. (You know how it works. You start off thinking, “This’ll be easy. All I have to do is average 1333 words a day.” Then, you miss a day or 20 and you’re calling in sick to work and blowing off Thanksgiving so you can pound out 6000+ words a day. Somehow, the completed Noir Knight had real sentences, paragraphs, everything. What it did not have was a whole ton of internal consistency, character motivation or development, or what you might call a plot. Still, there was something there. I knew it. I just had to coax it out.

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