The second rewrite of The Gnostic is going great, and I hope to be done by the end of the year. The first rewrite was really a complete top to bottom writing of a second book using the same characters, overall plot, and reworked scenes. I guess in that sense I have written two novels already. The first draft was terrible, and will never see the light of day, though. Really terrible. At any rate, rewriting now is more like molding clay than engineering a complete building. I’m just reworking existing material to make it flow, read better, and include more detail.
I’m also making Trudy crazier.
At 116,625 words, 415 hours of editing time, and 2.5 years, the second draft of the novel is done. Now it is time to get started on the hopefully final pass through. After having learned about the process what I have learned, the next novel should only take a year or so, and thank God! This thing has taken over 4 years total.
At some point the protagonist for my novel, The Gnostic, Book One: Initiate, began performing Christ-like miracles and even grew a beard with longish hair. It just kind of crept up on me! They do develop on their own sometimes.
Wow. Right now The Gnostic, Book One: Initiate is sitting at 106,171 words with five chapters left in this rewrite. I believe it will be wrapped up at 120-130,000 words with the next rewrite, and then I polish it all up… and set it aside until I am done with the second book in the trilogy.
So the thought occurs to me from time to time; what do I do if it flops? Easy. Start a new novel. I figure you get better with every attempt. This is actually my third or fourth attempt at a novel, and I have never gotten past chapter six or seven before now. Whether it succeeds or not, this novel was a breakthrough for me. It’d be a waste not to keep at it now!
Yes, it’s been a while since I last posted. No, I don’t have an excuse for this lapse. So what do I have? Only the recommendation for one of the greatest writers of our time. David Wong (aka Jason Pargin), the author of John Dies at the End, is brilliant. I am reading John Dies right now, and can’t wait to start on Spiders. I know genius when I see it: William S. Burroughs, Franz Kafka, Howard Philips Lovecraft, and Charles Bukowski all qualify. I’d put Wong (Pargin) in this category, no hesitation. Go get his book NOW!
That said, I almost done with the first rewrite of The Gnostic: Book One, and my test readers are loving it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but my test readers are some ruthless motherfuckers. I do not use that word lightly; you should read their reviews of the rough draft! God willing they won’t see the light of day ever again. They were brutal, and almost hurt my feelings. The next rewrite won’t be nearly as involved, and shouldn’t take nearly as long.
Artists of all kinds whether they are writers, sculptors, poets, or painters, are influenced by the art they consume. I am influenced mostly by music, movies, and books. I can’t say that paintings or carvings have had too much say in my own creations, but that isn’t to say that it couldn’t happen. At any rate, I am adding links to some bands and such that have had an impact on my own writing. Right now I am watching “John Dies at the End,” and I have to say that this movie is surreal brilliance. What of this will I incorporate into Locked and Loaded? Certainly some!
I have begin the process of developing the background, characters, and story arcs for a series based on Locked and Loaded. Tiburon will be the primary character, of course! I haven’t decided how many novels will be involved, but probably at least a dozen. Once I get this series and my Singularity Age series completely outlined and filled out, I should be able to work on three novels at once (Still working on The Gnostic Trilogy!) Once the Gnostic books are done I will develop a new series and add that to the work pile. I think that might be a YA series, but we will see.
I read quite a bit; I guess it’s what any decent author does. Anyway, I often wonder at the detail and the imaginative twists that they come up with. I wonder at how they came up with these things, but I find that in my work on The Novel that things often write themselves. It’s like some subconscious force is writing at least half the story and that in turn makes me wonder this… How much of the best works out there were just words pouring from the writers’ fingers without any real direction? How much of the great works are merely the arcane ramblings from the netherworld of the subconscious mind? How much of our fiction is even more fictitious than we think?
It’s funny, the signature moments in a man’s life. They often seem less than relevant to other people when they hear about them. One of mine comes from boot camp, way back in 1991. Every recruit has a cleaning duty assigned to them that they perform every single morning in the barracks, and mine was washing windows. We did that with left over newspaper and window cleaner, a method I still use to this day. In the Marine Corps basic training was divided into three phases, and the second phase for those of us going to west coast basic was spent in Camp Pendleton, California. Just after we got there I was washing windows one morning, and I saw something interesting; someone had scratched into the aluminum window frame, “Jimi Hendrix, the Lady Land still loves you.” I can only imagine that a fan did this after Hendrix died, but that’s just me imagining. A few inches to the right of that someone else scratched, “B.O.C.” and the Blue Oyster Cult symbol into the frame. I figured that was from about a decade later, give or take. So there I was, a scared recruit in 1991, with a favorite band. The last I saw there was a pentagram scratched into that window frame and the band name “Slayer” beneath it. I became a part of some obscure history then. People don’t seem to care when I relate this story to them, but it sure means a lot to me. I like to think that there are some new band names scratched in that window frame like Slipknot or Wu-Tang Clan. It wouldn’t matter what bands, just so long as some scared kid had the balls to put the name of his favorite band there.
Here is an off-the-cuff list of some of my favorite authors and literary influences. I am also including poets, although I doubt any of my poetry will see the light of day. I’m not quite sure which is favorite and which is influence.
Iain M. Banks
Robert E. Howard
Stephen R. Donaldson
And yes, Jim always comes first on my list. Always.
“Death makes angels of us all & gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws” – Jim Morrison, An American Prayer