Monday, December 14, 2009

No Notes is Good Notes

Writing update

Transcribing my notes, handwritten and electronic both, is at last complete. Whew! Not that having them transcribed and organized (somewhat) by categories is the be-all, end-all of actually being able to use these notes to write my first novel, but it's awfully damn close. I put a LOT of thought into various concepts for this novel between October of 2008 when I first had this idea (I could probably figure out the exact date with a little effort - I remember I had thought up the idea in the morning and then had gone straight to a seminar at the Visory Group offices about new telephony products. Some of the notes I just finished transcribing were written in my notepad during that meeting) and the present. Some of those ideas evolved quite a bit over time, and in some cases I simply forgot what I'd originally intended and the concepts didn't so much "evolve" as they were forgotten and replaced with something similar but slightly different. Now that I have them all in once place, I can at last figure out what to use and what to discard.

The same applies to the several, several (several) variations that I seem to have on the book's overall sequence of events. Again, I'd have a good idea, then I'd forget part or all of it and several months later I'd write down a fresh, also good idea that used some of the same elements, but replaced others with different (not necessarily better) ones. I need to reconcile all of those "plots" into something more workable and useful. I'll stop short of an actual outline (as I've had experience with detailed outlines that then crushed my enthusiasm for writing the book. Not this book, a different one which I still do plan to write someday), but I would like to figure out what story elements are worth using and be sure that I position the story in such a way that they fit in neatly.

And so, without further ado, the final tally of my notes, as exported from OneNote to Word (which it turns out isn't exactly hard, but it's more labor-intensive than I expected and certainly not a one-click process as it probably should be. You can very easily convert whole notebooks to a .pdf with a single click), and without counting research and other text that I didn't actually write myself:

Total Pages: 111
Total Words: 43,143

Given that some mainstream fiction novels can be as little as 55,000 words, I've darn near written a book already. Albeit one without a discernible plot, theme, dialogue, setting, or story of any kind. But it's encouraging to know that, at minimum, I CAN write that much. Not that I really doubted it. I can (and have) blather on, in person or in print, for hours and hours about pretty much any subject or no subject at all. Turning word-count into quality storytelling, well, that remains to be proven. It's something, though, and something's surely better than nothing.

Now, back to my dungeon.

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