Book One, Update One

Post ImageAlthough I’ve posted bits and pieces of information about the latest book, and even uploaded the opening paragraph to tease you for your reading enjoyment, I haven’t really said much about the book itself. Unfortunately, that’s not about to change today. The good news is, though, I thought I’d at least tell you why.

Have you ever gone to a job interview but didn’t tell anyone about it? Or maybe started a diet and not said anything to anybody? Or perhaps even started writing a book and never told anyone what it was about? Why do people do this? I have one answer for it. In a word: embarrassment. If you announce something and it doesn’t turn out the way you promised/expected/hoped then you kinda feel stupid. Therefore, at certain times in your life, you really want to make sure something is fer real before divulging too much information about it.

I’ve had one or two people in person ask me, “What’s it about?” In response, I hem and haw a bit and usually just say, “Well, it keeps changing.” Then I mumble a few odd and vague words, sounding like a sit-com character caught in lie while trying to cover up for his roommate who’s dating two girls at the same time. (How was that for a hideous simile?)

But the fact is, it does change and mostly because I’m making it up as I go along. Back when I started the project, summer of 2008, I was going to write three books, each one a retelling of another story, with the three of them together retelling a fourth story. It was a cool idea. I worked on synopses, characters, and plots all through the end of 2008 and finally started writing last December. After two months or so, I got ten thousand words into it and stopped cold. It was terrible. The characters weren’t all what I imagined. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

So I kept the title, kept the opening paragraph, and decided on a retelling of a different story, the reasons for which I’ll get to in a future post. This time around, I didn’t write any words before I realized it was another dead-end.

So I kept the title, kept the opening paragraph, and decided on something completely different. I did some intense backstory work then finally began writing again on Saturday, August 1, 2009. And now it’s really moving (in the sense that I’m continually pressing buttons while my word processor has the keyboard focus).

But even now, it’s not going the way I planned. The protagonist isn’t behaving at all like I intended. His best friend is more like a mentor. One character intended to play a major role disappeared completely. The title, which I liked so very much at the start, doesn’t really fit any more, so that will most likely change. Worse, the main character is so unlike what I’d planned, I’m even seriously thinking of changing his name. That’s right. I’ve already written it 1,465 times and something as important as the main character’s name just isn’t working for me anymore.

So if you’re wondering why I call him “Bob” and why I haven’t released the title or told you anything about the plot, it’s because this cake needs to stay in the oven just a wee bit more.

Mmmm . . . cake.

7 Responses to “Book One, Update One”

TexasDeb said
December 10, 2009 at 8:27 am

When I read established authors writing regarding developing characters and story lines, they seem to consistently say those characters seem to have lives (and names!) of their own that evolve. They often express surprise, noting the stories go where they will.

In other words, everything you are talking about sounds just like actual writing, Charlie, so Yay for you and carry on. You’re a writer, writing!

Our job is to wait for your finished product and then we can thank you at the book signings later and tell you how much it was WORTH it.

Tami said
December 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

*laughs* Love the image – very appropriate!

I agree with TexasDeb up there – sounds like writing to me! You’re under no obligation to share anything with anyone (though I’m glad you are able to share what you can!) and a book is never finished until it’s been published. =]

    Charlie said
    December 10, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I stole the image from my own page here:

    Link is over on the right. In fact, there are lots of links over there I doubt many people click. 🙂

Nick said
December 10, 2009 at 9:42 am

It’s intrguing so far, I hope it comes to fruition! I’ve always wanted to publish a book – I’ve started writing 2 stories but one of them is little more than a few paragraphs and the other is 10-11 pages and I’m at a point where I can end it and make it a short story or continue it for a novel. But I don’t know what to do with it…

Regardless, I’ve experienced the same issue, everytime I re-read it I re-write it. It’s annoying and eventually I got bored of it…

Biz said
December 10, 2009 at 11:17 am

I can’t even imagine how difficult writing a book would be – you are doing great Charlie!

Quix said
December 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Are you sure you want to commit to having the words “the” “and” and “of” in the title (and there is just no way to write that and have it sound grammatically correct…)? That’s a big step! =)

All kidding aside, I definitely empathize. I started my novel (which I am currently boycotting and throwing fits about continuing) and had this grand idea for the awesome message behind it – and it’s turned into something completely different. Weird how as a deity of a story, in control of every word and happening, sometimes your characters just take control.

I look forward to the final process, and thanks for sharing some of the messy middle bits with us!

    Charlie said
    December 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    And thank you for reading about the messy middle bits. I hope you find a breakthrough on your own work. Good luck!