Geek Speak – Wherein Daniel Shamelessly Brags About Finishing the First Draft of a New Novel | Ginger and the Geek Podcast and Blogs
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Nov 9 / Daniel J. Hogan

Geek Speak – Wherein Daniel Shamelessly Brags About Finishing the First Draft of a New Novel

by Daniel

I love...er...GEEK the library.

I finished the first draft of a new fantasy novel.

If you are confused when I say ‘new,’ allow me to point you to my other podcast, The Magic of Eyri. It is based on a fantasy novel I self-published in 2007.

Folks familiar with Eyri (all three of them) have asked if this new novel is a sequel. Nope. It is a brand new book called, Riddle of the White Gun. It is a humorous-spaghetti-Western-urban-steampunk-fantasy.

To break down that casserole of genres a bit:

Humorous – Full of my usual (twisted) sense of humor. Plenty of banter and running gags.

Spaghetti Western – Part of the fantasy world has an over-the-top, violent, stylized ‘wild west’ inspired by films like Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Great Silence and Django.

Urban – Part of the story takes place in a sprawling, congested metropolis peopled with humans and other beings. The city has more of a noir feel.

Steampunk – The fantasy world uses pseudo-1800s technology. Again, it takes place in a world I came up with, so I threw in some of my own (bizarre) ideas. But, there are plenty of brass goggles, trains and clock-work automatons to go around.

Fantasy – Magic, gods, zombies, goblins, vampires and werewolves, to list only a few. Also, there aren’t any horses in my West.

Elevator Pitch:

Inspector Chauncey Riter does everything by the book. Drake, a bounty hunter, never read the book. The unlikely team chases down a gang of treasure seeking bandits in a world filled with vampires, werewolves, and other fantastic beings.

White Gun is actually the third draft of a book I wrote in 2008-2009 called Night of the Lonely Werewolf. After reading through the first draft Werewolf, I wasn’t all that happy with the story. However, I came up with some better character ideas during the last few thousand words (of a 90 thousand word book. It happens).

This prompted my first rewrite, called Drake (named after the main character). The second draft was going strong, but then I took a break to write something different for National Novel Writing Month 2010. Big mistake.  After not looking at Drake for a solid month, my flow was ruined.

This summer, I realized I had not completed a final novel since 2007. Taking my girlfriend’s advice (which I ALWAYS do), I decided to approach novel writing like it was “my job,” even though it is not (yet?).

What inspired me to try again was an article about Michael Moorcock’s adventure novel writing method (first found on BoingBoing). Moorcock’s advice about outlining the story and coming up with lists, etc. helped me prepare.

Two of Moorcock’s rules I used quite a bit were the 2,500 word chapters and shifting focus to a minor character. Both helped keep the story moving.

Getting my eyes on the story every day, until I finished was key. If I wrote one thousand words–outstanding. If I wrote 100 (and those days came), fine. At least I kept moving and looked at the story every day.

Two and a half months later (a far cry from Moorcock’s three days), I finished. It came to about 74 thousand words. That final word count will change as I continue editing.

Now, the big question I keep (honestly) getting:

Will I self-publish again? No. It is too expensive for me to go the self-publish/Print on Demand route. I want to try the ‘traditional’ route this time.

I could (and perhaps, should) write a whole post on the pros and cons of self-publishing (and there are plenty of each).

I am happy with the first draft of White Gun, although there are some areas which need work. Editing is going smoothly thus far, and I would like to have a final draft by the end of December.

Daniel J. Hogan is the geek half of Ginger and the Geek. He is also a photoblogger and host of the Magic of Eyri Podcast. He owns a pair of spurs. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.