Thursday, July 14, 2005

Canadian Werewolf in New York

With my novel Morning Son currently in the hands of a publisher who'd actually indicated that they liked the synopsis and the first three chapters that I'd sent in my query package, I try hard not to spend every moment thinking about it. I instead try to focus on other things -- (but not things like why would a horror writer's first serious effort at a novel length work be a non-genre story?)

I've recently taken some steps towards reworking a rather long short story I wrote entitled "This Time Around" -- it's a "day in the life" story of a Canadian living in Manhattan who happens to be a werewolf. I'd never written a werewolf story before (having mostly shied from writing vampire, werewolf or other traditional monster stories) A friend of mine at work, Anne Lee, offered to have a read through of it to give me an unbiased viewpoint of where I should cut this 10,000 word story down to make it more palatable to short fiction markets.

A couple of weeks ago, we sat down over a coffee and had a good time going through the story. She raised some excellent points, helped me spot places I could cut the story, and made me think more about the main character's struggle with living a dual life. I went away from our discussion fully charged and ready to start snipping the tale down.

Only, once I started actually working at cutting the piece, I realized that, when writing it -- and this was something that just came out of me one afternoon while sitting on the GO train and wouldn't let me stop -- I was fleshing out the minor/supporting characters in way too much detail for a short story. That, and I liked them. And, when I'd finished the story it was only after telling myself I had to -- that I couldn't just keep writing, though I'd wanted to. I appeased myself with a vague promise that since I'd enjoyed the setting and characters so much that I I might one day bring my hero back in another story.

Then it hit me. Why cut it? Especially since the story raises several questions and leaves them unanswered (my intent with that was to illustrate the frustration my main character faces due to his duality). No. I wasn't done with watching the characters I'd set up interact with each other -- I wasn't done exploring the mystery I'd set up and had yet to answer. Why not expand it?

So, while holding my son and rocking him to sleep (a time that I find is perfect to just relax and enjoy the moment -- which often immediately spirals into an inspirational jackpot. Hey, I'm cursed with this writer thing that often just takes over. Can't control it) I started speculating more about the questions I'd left unsolved. And then I had the pieces I needed to turn this into a novel length work. I'm abandoning the title and simply calling this the "Canadian Werewolf in New York" story - a title will find itself by the time I finish the first draft, I'm sure.

Novel Progress - Cdn Werewolf in NY
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9,950 / 70,000


Anonymous said...

Love the progress meter!
Will be checking it --and nagging for completion-- frequently.

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks, Anon. I got the idea from fellow writer Michael Kelly's blog (see link to his blog in my sidebar)