On Thursday we had a heavy rain storm with strong winds. Nature had given me a gloomy atmosphere to work on my novel so I had to take advantage of it. The mood was perfect as the last chapter is based upon the Shadows of Immurement song “Entropia,” a song about the perpetual decay of human civilization. The chapter itself touches on that theme but only on how it affects the main character and the decision he has to make at the end of the book.
I wanted to write in the dark, which meant using my laptop with its back-lit monitor was out of the question. Even if I could get over the way it killed the atmosphere it hurts my eyes when there’s no light source around it. So I opted to write by hand and type it up later. I dressed all in black and threw on a double album by the black metal band Azrael as background music. I wrote only by candlelight. I didn’t use one of my black candles—it was one of those small Yankee Candle jars. I could get over the lack of proper props there but it isn’t the greatest light source either way. Considering the lines on the notebook I was using were very faint I had to keep positioning the jar right up by my hand in order to see what I was doing.
Nevertheless it all worked. I had a flow of creativity which was only slowed down by the fact that I wrote by hand. But the further I got into it the more I knew how the chapter was going to play out. In a matter of a couple of hours I wrote the entire chapter, thereby finishing the first draft of the book.
Once I turned the lights back on and typed what I had written I did feel uneasy for a while about how short the chapter was. I had intended that initially anyway. It wasn’t meant to be as long as the average chapter throughout the rest of the book. But it was half the length of my average writing goal for each day in terms of word count. Overall the book is a little bit shorter than I had expected, and I wondered if perhaps that chapter was responsible. I was writing by hand, which slows me down a great deal. I also wondered if because I was nearing the end I was trying to rush it to get it done.
If the book is too short I don’t think this chapter is to blame, though. I aim for quality over quantity. This chapter felt just write once I had written it. I put the pen down with a sense of exhilaration that I had completed the first, long step in the process of writing a book. Why take that away with some irrational fear of not having done enough?
If the book is too short then I still have the revision process to make it longer where necessary. I’m sure there are lots of places I can flesh out with more detail. I suppose I could use the cliché of an epilogue as there’s certainly more to this character’s universe. But as I don’t have a sequel planned it feels unnecessary.
Then again, by what standards would the book be considered too short, anyway? It’s not like I have a publisher giving me a 70,000-word minimum. Even if they did I’m still close enough to that I could add more without it becoming a headache. But like I said, I go for quality over quantity. If somebody wants to tell me that at 67,000 words it’s a novella then okay, it’s a novella. Clive Barker wrote a novella called The Hellbound Heart which was then turned into the Hellraiser movie franchise. Okay, the later films are crap but that’s beside the point. Maybe a novella is the right length for a horror story.
I’m going to take some time off before working on the revision process. This is partly because I want to celebrate with a little vacation from writing. Mainly, though, I want to refresh my brain a bit before I focus my attention on this story again. I’m toying with the idea of working on some of my short stories in the meantime so I can get them self-published online. That might go against my whole idea of refreshing myself creatively, though. Maybe after my break I’ll hit those first and then once I have them online I go back to the book. I’ll have to wait and see how I feel at the time. I have no idea how long I should take, either—a week? Should I take two weeks? Or would I only need a matter of days? Instead of formalizing it I’ll just say that I’ll get back to it when it feels right.