I finished my latest novel, tentatively titled “A Matter of Trust”, yesterday afternoon. It’s something like 70,000 words (it’s written longhand so I can only estimate at this point).
I haven’t talked to many people about it at all, for a couple of reasons. One is that I don’t like to talk about the stuff I’m writing while I’m writing it. I find that hashing it out takes away from the energy I have for actually writing the thing. This definitely used to be the case, and I think it might still be, and I’m not going to threaten the completion of a novel by trying it out. (I think it might have had more to do with the fact that, when I first found that happening, I wasn’t very good at writing novels yet, but still, why risk it?)
But having finished it, I’m still a bit reluctant to talk about it. A few different reasons for that:
- I have three finished novels that I’m interested in finding homes for. I don’t really want to dilute that by adding yet another one into the mix.
- The subject matter, and therefore probably the genre, is very different from what I’ve written before. I don’t want to be pegged as a writer in this genre.
- The subject matter is personally challenging to write about. That’s part of why I started writing it in the first place: I decided to write what scared me. I’m pleased to have finished it, but I don’t know if I want to put it all out there yet.
I guess the real question is whether the damn thing is any good. I think it is, or at least it has a lot of good stuff in it. There are also flaws — I don’t know that the ending is ramped up well enough, and I am a little concerned that its satirical elements don’t work. (It’s a satire about men’s attitudes and macho-ness and sexuality, but the satire might just come off as stupidity and sexism, I worry.)
I wrote it longhand, so the next step is to type the thing up. It might have the distinction of being my very last longhand novel, since I found out that I am writing much better and more quickly on the keyboard now. I’ve got maybe a third typed up already, and it’ll probably take a couple months to finish typing up the rest.
So let’s catalogue what I’ve written to date:
- Untitled novel that sucks, 37,000 words, March – July 2002
- LMF, 45,000 words, September 2002 – April 2004, published May 2006
- The Famiglia, 65,000 words, November 2004 – April 2007
- On the Heat, 90,000 words, February 2009 – June 2010
- A Matter of Trust, 70,000 words, September 2010 – May 2012
- Brendan’s Way, 90,000 words, June – November 2011
I might be misremembering some of the dates in there a bit, because there seem to be overlong gaps in the history. Since I wrote The Famiglia, I’ve had a novel project on the go continuously. Of course, those projects also include editing, and I am only mentioning actual writing of the first draft in that timeline.
Anyhow, it’s not a bad output, but right now the most important thing is to get the completed novels (Famiglia and Brendan) into the hands of agents. That’s going to be my main project for the summer.
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