Thursday, July 24, 2008

Author's Quandry

The Brant "Rubble" Bell asked me yesterday if I was

A) Going to attempt NaNoWriMo 2008


B) If I would consider making it a sequel to my current story

I can honestly say I wasn't planning on doing the former, and had never considered the latter. That said, his question got me thinking.

For starters, I've learned a lot about writing by trying NNWM 07. Some of it mechanics, like punctuation during dialogue. Some of it is about how difficult it truly is to write 50k in 30 days, even if you love the source material. Things like pacing issues, typos, taking good notes on your own decisions - and more.

Still, I think I made it about halfway through my story by the end of November, and if I was to tackle it this year, I really have to consider my schedule (read: classes). I don't think I can do it. I don't know if I have the discipline, the crazy writing intensity to stick through another novel's worth of work...even if it takes another year to finish like this one.

I guess the only reason I'm making an issue of it is because I'm actually close to finishing this novel, and the ending would greatly greatly influence how the second one might play out - from the surviving characters to the level of devastation the zombies [may have] inflicted on the world. If I'm going to write a sequel, I need to start planning it now and alter the ending of this one accordingly.

After much deliberation, I told Rubble I would consider it. I'd need 2 things:

* A really good story idea. I need some sort of action, a problem, a quest - some driving force for the novel to exist. It seems obvious, but the current novel took shape over weeks of planning, and in the end there was a very poignant rescue story to tell, amidst the backdrop of the zombpocalypse. My theoretical sequel needs a similarly epic premise, and as of now I have none.

* Lots and lots of encouragement and readers. You guys have been awesome so far, helping me fix problems and providing lots of constructive criticism. Your enthusiasm has become mine, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy it.

For now I'll keep thinking it over. If you have any thoughts, please [as always] leave 'em.



  1. So, presumably after the rescue, we'll have two women. The book practically writes itself. It's a post apocalyptic romance novel. You can call it something like Love in the Time of Zombies or How the West Was Peopled or The Passing of a Torch: A Story or Brains and Beauty

    It couldn't be better.

    We love you Ryan, and fully support you in any decision, particularly ones that wind up with a second novel starring us and zombies.

  2. If you write another novel, I'll definitely be reading it! I'm sure there are lots of premises you could pull from to write a sequel. Or maybe... you and the Fools should focus your energy on making the MOVIE version. Now THAT would be a project!

  3. For what it's worth, I'll probably be doing NaNoWriMo 2008, since (a) Renee challenged me to do it, and (b) I actually have a workable idea kicking around in my head. I just have to figure out how everything except the ending needs to play out.

  4. I think instead of making another novel so soon, you should stick with this one to revise and refine the work. I've already told you I'd like to help you out with it sometime, so you probably guessed already I'd suggest this. In that case, let me merely state it is indeed the time of games. ;)

  5. @ Paul

    Looking forward to it. Are you going to share it with anybody, either chapter-by-chapter or maybe at the end?

    @ Scott

    My point was more that if I *am* going to write a sequel, I have to decide soon, because I will need to change the ending of my story.

    Also, I haven't ruled out editing/revising this one, when that time comes. Yes game.

  6. As always, I'm impressed. Keep sending me the text messages when new chapters come out. With regards to the sequel business, consider it carefully. If you decide to do it, you need to commit to it. It would be a bummer to write half or a third of a novel and then not finish it off. On the other hand, I've done some fan fiction writing before, and once I had my ending in mind, I wanted to stick with it. It depends on how strongly you feel about your original idea of where the story was going.

  7. @ Cowboy

    I'll try to remember the texts. You're absolutely right, though...I won't commit to a sequel without serious plans to go the distance. :D

  8. I must say I enjoy this novel rich in the fool lore, and I would certainly love to see another one.

    I'd really like to see, or do a story steeped in fool lore concerning the origins of the Ship of Fools, tying together many fundamental legends:

    * Sean Crimmins, the mysterious founder of Purdue Improv Club who left 3 weeks after starting the club

    * The legend of Cap'n Redbeard and Radioactive Pirates

    * Some kind of quest that makes it necessary to gather together every fool from all time.

    * This would be set in the future and the main character would be Cobalt Foxunit Milanowski, aside of course from the universal fact that Cowboy is the main character.

    * They're also probably be a nontrivial amount of Mick Faldo the World Famous Archer.

  9. I got it! Turning the book into a script! It can either be a radio drama or a film. Make sure to include folly parts and all that. Then we can perform it...or possibly even have each other perform different parts. It'd be MAAAA-AAD.

  10. @ Jamie

    Thanks, I'm glad you like it, and appreciate the Foolish history therein.

    I like your ideas! Some of them sound similar to an idea I was kicking around concerning one or more of the Fools of the past...

    Also, I'm gonna side with John on this one and state here for the record T.REX IS THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE STORY. :D

    @ Steve

    If I ever thought about moving this story to something bigger, a B-movie is definitely at or near the top of the list. :D