On returning to Post-Apocalipstick

For those in the audience not aware, Post-Apocalipstick was the novel I wrote for 2012’s National Novel Writing Month. I finished it around this time last year, but then the real trouble started. Despite my best intentions with the outline, the first draft was a mess. Character motivations changed on the fly, other characters were inserted or removed when I decided I did or didn’t need them. It was a continuity nightmare. Though I started editing work on the first three chapters, it ultimately felt more like rewriting than editing as huge swaths had to be deleted and new content written to fill the space. This was all, of course, okay. Post-Apocalipstick was the novel I wrote in order to teach myself how to write a novel. In a way, it was destined to fail.

But even after all this time, I can’t stop thinking about it. No matter what bad happened during the first attempt, I developed an attachment to these characters and this world. And I just can’t quite let it go, no matter how hard I try.

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It started out as Mad Max fan fiction…

Well, not quite. In a way, it all started with a conversation. I don’t have the chat log any more, but I was talking to a friend about Fury Road, the Mad Max reboot. Or is it a sequel? Either way, it’s a new Mad Max film, starring Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky. Not gonna lie to you folks, I’m really excited. I fucking love me some Mad Max.

But anyway, a friend and I were chatting away about Fury Road and, out of the blue, I said something along the lines of “Hey, can you imagine how much the internet would flip out if they cast a woman as Max?” There was some silence for a few seconds before I got a “What do you mean?”

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Post-Apocalipstick: Fun With Graphs!

Hello. As some of you may be aware, around a week ago I finished the first draft of the novel I’ve been hacking away at since last November, tentatively titled Post-Apocalipstick. I’m not due to start editing for a while yet. I want to let the manuscript sit for a while so I can come back to it with fresh eyes, and take some time to catch up on other pursuits like reading or playing The Last of Us (seriously, it’s great so far, totally sucked me in).

That said, I couldn’t resist popping back in to take a look at some things, most notably the structure of the thing. And since I’m a bit of a maths nerd as well as a writing geek, I couldn’t resist plugging some numbers in and mocking up a visual representation. Which I’m now going to share with you lucky people! YAY!

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On Finishing

I don’t know what to say here, since I started this thing like seven months ago and never even thought I’d get this far. Like I’ve already talked about, I flunked out of the NaNoWriMo before last, and before that I never got further than writing maybe ten pages of one of the many novel projects I started over the years.

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On taking a step back in order to move forwards

Do you know what words terrify me most? Either ‘Prologue’ or ‘Chapter One’. True story. They just sit there for a while, all nice and bold in whatever header font I’ve selected, with the cursor blinking after, and a sea of white below.

They terrify me because after that, I need a first sentence. And it has to be good, doesn’t it? How many of you have read a book and just groaned at an awful first sentence? I know I have many times. And given that, beyond ‘prologue’ or ‘chapter one’ it’s the first thing the reader says. First impressions are everything.

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