Restless, I decided to read. I don't remember the situation, but somehow an idea came to mind. It could be I was reading the news, or a book review, or some entirely unrelated thing spurred a thought. It happens.
Actually, at 2:22 am, I was already awake in bed, clicking through my Android. That's when Google Docs tells me a new file was saved. I started work then on a haunted house story.
At first, all I had was a line. Not a line of prose, but a gist, and not much of that either. It sat for a few days, then I added a few ideas. I expected nothing -- horror is not my genre. I cobbled together a curious 60-second plot. Then I started taking it more seriously.
I watched several Stephen King movies, read a lot online (starting at Wikipedia's entry for haunted houses). I asked the question, "What would my story look like if fully enhanced from gist to novel?" That is, the gist might be interesting, but would it have enough legs to really move forward, or was it merely a fun vignette for a lonely campfire?
It is clear it will be a longer story. Since I'm new to this, I suspect it will turn into a novella as opposed to a novel. I can see 30,000 words as a possibility. Imagining writing 60,000 words is difficult. That it is a haunted house story only adds to the challenge. I'm not the first to try it.
As I said here,
It is a strange thing to work on a haunted house tale. It is a well-covered genre, covered masterfully by great writers. Naturally, I think mine brings a different twist, but I have several stories I am drawing from for ideas. I'm stealing ideas from Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, George Langelaan, Twilight Zone episodes, and other sources.
Last night, I developed a beginning outline and created character sketches.
As I look as the 31 major plot events in my haunted house story (another sleepless night -- see my Facebook status), I am daunted. My usual length is under 5,000 words, but my outline and character sketches alone add up to 1,600 words. There is no flesh yet. No subplots. No setting. No texture of any kind. All I have is the synopsis. This is the easy part. The hard part is not planning to write, but actually writing.
I will add supporting information to those 31 events, and from there, slowly build a novel. To be sure, however, I am not naive to the challenge ahead. The thing is is in vitro, hoping to birth. Writing a 2,000 word story is easy, more or less. It can be done in one sitting. A germ of an idea, an interesting twist, and viola! It may or may not be a good story, but getting the first draft done is not especially taxing. A cup of coffee and a few hours are all I need to get the ball rolling. A good tale needs editing, rewriting and all that, but to lay down the basics is a breeze.
My respect for any novelist, no matter how poor his story, is strong. Wannabes are abound. They fill coffee shops and online discussion boards. Writers write. The rest talk it to death, never getting it done. I won't belabor on my progress much more, since writing is how "done" happens. And blogging doesn't count.
In the meanwhile, please like my Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/AnthonyTrendl