This is an update on the Write-In post I made last night.
As of 4:30pm on Sunday, I am now at 11,800 words. Of course, this is redrafting, so it’s going more quickly than original drafting. Still, the amount of complicated reworking and rethinking has my brain in knots. Lots of going for short walks and thinking things over today… but it is coming along. It might be optimistic to think I can finish this off tonight, though, considering I need to get my passport application and laundry done as well…
UPDATE 2 (2pm, Monday Oct. 23): Well, I’m now at basically 15700 words, and very close to the end. The very end of the dramatic final battle, and the little glimpse of the happy aftermath, are all that remain to be written. Still, I suspect that it may end up being more like 17,000 words, and not my optimistic 16,500. But hell, considering I originally planned this as a 12,000 word story, that’s not much of a big deal.
I am curious to see whether people will think it needs cutting into shorter form, or expansion into longer form. (Though personally, at the moment, I’m a little leery about that. There’s room for an origins story, definitely — and what fun that would be, describing the youth of Park Jang Won in some small town in Korea in the late 70s and early 80s: so much research and funny, interesting stuff to find out. And there would be room for a lot of recurring stuff. But I’m thinking it might be hard to get a whole novel out of this thing — on the order of 90,000-100,000 words — while not losing the whole point of the thing or getting mired in, well, other things. A series of linked stories, maybe… and if I did them right, maybe it’d work as a kind of novel… I suspect the ending may be open to more linked stories, and I think there is room more more more… but still, this superhero subgenre feels more, I don’t know, episodic, and I think it’d be hard to make that work as a single novel. (And I don’t think I want to write a series of superhero novels.)
One of my friends recently (as in, a few months ago) commented that a lot of my writing I was describing to her sounded as if it were made to be reincarnated as graphic novels, and I really do feel that this story, especially, has a kind of graphic-novel feel to it. The way the paragraphs are blocked, the way visuals are chunked in one after another, with lots of short, punchy dialogue, colorful characters, and all kinds of banter in various language… I think it would make the transition well. Having recently met someone who coordinates new, original projects in the Korean comics industry, I think there might even be a faint chance of it happening, especially if someone does translate the story.
But… first, I need to finish writing the thing. And then edit it into shape a little. And then some feedback from people I respect and trust, some as writers, some as people who know more about Korea (and the politics involved) than I do. And then, maybe, we can see about publishing, translating, and getting it reincarnated as a comic book series or graphic novel. (If it were to become a series, I think it’d need more fights. There’s only three, and only two involve supervillains. However, I think I know where I could work in a couple more battles, if need be…)
UPDATE 3 (Wed, Oct. 25, 2:20pm): Well, I keep misguessing how long this story is going to be. The progress meter is now at 18,537 words, which is more than the 18,000 maximum I’d guessed at on Tuesday after some further drafting. The good news is that I only have one more scene to go, so my current estimate of 20,000 words may in fact be overshooting it. We’ll see. The nice thing about this kind of length is that I get to expand on, and deliver on, the promise of several different tantalizing threads which, in a shorter piece of fiction, would have to be cut or left dangling. The problem is that I went back and added some threads which I thought would be paying off, and now I’ll have to go back and prune them slightly, I think. Happily, there are only a few cases like that.
UPDATE 3.5 (Wed, Oct. 25, 3:15pm): Whew! Got it. I even overestimated the needed words the last time by a whole
700 150 words. That brings me to 19,350 words 19,858 (text count) on the dot.
Which makes me wonder where the hell I can sell this. Looks to me like F&SF is the only print venue I know in the market for something of this kind, and this long, followed by only online markets. Ah well, I’ll give it an edit, get some crits, tidy and rework, and send to F&SF, I guess. Maybe after that, Orson Scott Card’s online mag, or, heck, even Baen’s.