Friday, December 09, 2011

Branded

Last night I wrote THE END on a novel. This is the second time in a year, which seems like pretty good going by today's non pulp era standards. Then again, I am doing this full time at the moment (alongside a couple of other writing bits and bobs), so it's as it should be. FYI, this new one is a stand alone called THE DAMAGE. It is noir. It seems like psycho noir to me, although I have yet to hear a definition of that term.

Looking back at timestamps, I can see that I first started this novel way back in August of 2009. Not that it has taken two years to write. Fact is, I abandoned the thing at least twice over that period, starting it over each time I picked it up again. And this is nothing unusual - my hard drive is a veritable graveyard of novels abandoned at various stages, going right back to when I started writing. But this one kept bugging me, whispering to me that I really should come back to it because there is some kind of gold in there. And each time I went back to it, I would get bogged down with the same set of problems. Then, the last time I picked it up, I did something new.

I changed the title.

Sounds like not much, but it altered the whole thing. I just had the wrong title before, and every time I thought of the work, that title came into my head and it was wrong, just wrong. As soon as I called it The Damage, things started coming clear. I could see what to chuck out and what to focus on, and had faith that I could find the path to the conclusion. Which is funny, because a lot of writers don't even have a title until after a work is done. Maybe that's it - I should just think of every work in progress as "Untitled". But that doesn't seem right either. To me, the title is hardwired into a novel. You are reminded of it every time you open the manuscript, and although you don't make any effort to justify the title in the text, the two become fused. The title is branded on the novel's butt cheek.

It feels good to finish a book that I've been tussling with for so long. I feel slightly saner today. Less psycho noir.

6 comments:

Helen Smith said...

Good luck, Charlie - and congratulations on finishing another book.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Looking forward to it.

Charlie Williams said...

Cheers guys!

Anonymous said...

Please, make it a real book made from the corpse of a tree. no shitty e-book everybody seems to publish these days. or some collector's edition for the shrink-wrappers.

Rich Wilson said...

The problem is no-one want to publish books these days. Believe me (as I'm sure Charlie will echo) it's getting harder and harder. E-Books might not be the prefered choice, but at least it's a forum to get words out there.

Good luck with the new novel, Charlie. Look forward to it.

Charlie Williams said...

I hear you, Anonymous. I want my books out in print. But if they're going to be done that way, it needs to be by a proper publisher who can take care of all that. Believe me, I have held books back for several years because I was holding out for print rather than put them out as ebooks. But these e-readers are actually pretty good. Like Rich says, it's a way of dribbling stuff out there for those who want it. (At least novellas, which no one seems to want to publish these days.) It pisses me off that it means not everyone will get to read it, but I can't hold a gun to a publisher's head. Oh, I can, can't I? Where'd I put that gun...

Thanks for the luck, Rich - same back to you.