Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This morning, I completed the Young Adult Horror novel I’ve been working on. It’s the first in a series I had in mind based on the Cthulhu Mythos tales of H.P. Lovecraft.

I started it 8/20/10. The major difference between writing this and the other novels I’ve written this year was the pace. I recently changed schedules at work. Instead of banging out 3-5 pages a day, every day, like usual, I wrote 20 pages a day, Mon-Thu. Weekends off. It took about a month and a half to write.

I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable this set-up was. The book came in at 348 double-spaced pages—59,717 words. At this rate, writing a novel is far less daunting for me. I can keep the momentum up. The ending is always in sight—meaning that I don’t have that feeling of not knowing how long the project will go on. Plus, committing myself to write 20 pages a day FORCES invention, which is one of the key ingredients to making a long work interesting.

I kicked it off like this:

“You believe in that stuff?” Michael asked.

And then ran with it. I had the main character and basic framework of the novel in mind, but none of the other details. I just let it come. It’s great to be surprised yourself as you’re writing and some of the plot turns and revelations really caught me off-guard. As a rule, I don’t plot out much. Almost all of my poems and short stories begin with a simple line that pops into my head; I plunge in with no idea how things will turn out. If you trust yourself this way, I find, say what you mean and stay true to the rhythm and mood of the piece, the rest will take care of itself.

The first thing I noticed, upon completing it, was that I didn’t have the bittersweet, manic postpartum let-down that tends to accompany writing a book. I was happy to type THE END, extremely satisfied with how it went.

So what’s next?

I’m going to write one more book right away. I’ll figure out over the next couple days what kind of novel it will be. I have two or three ideas stirring. Then I’ll clean up the first three chapters of this one and pitch it, along with an outline of the series and the next installment.

This has been a good time for me. I’m in a creative free-flow like I haven’t experienced in quite a while. The painting. Photography. Music. Writing. Fashion madness. Everything is working and working together, with no one activity cutting into the others. 2010 has been the worst year of my life in many ways, but the love of those around me and the almighty power of Creative Expression have pulled me through. Here’s to even more of it as I head into 2011.

Walter Conley
Louisa, VA

1 comment:

  1. The life around you has formed into all you need/want it to be, so, you feel safe in creation of new things, new worlds.... I am so proud for you, I have tears.