Self-doubts, Worries and the New Project

I have failed NaNoWriMo. By the end of the month I’ll be on 30,000 words which is 20k shy of the target. I’m not too disappointed because 30,000 words is still very good considering how slowly I’ve been working the rest of the year. Also, I know that this project will be better for it. I haven’t achieved the goal because I stopped to write an outline, which I think is very important to writing a good book. I think if I’d just sat down and made it up as I went along then I would have ended up with a poor story. So, this way is better.

I am still worried about the story. I have doubts about how good it will turn out. This is normal becasue I’ve switched genre this time. This is my first full horror novel. All my other novels have been urban fantasy, and all my other horrors have been short stories. I think this story will be good even though at the moment it feels like I’m hacking together a shambles of a story. I think I felt that way when I started the first Arcane Inc. book too. If it turns out it is utter garbage I’ll just throw it in the drawer and start something new. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ve said before that this book is darker than anything else I’ve written. it covers a pretty serious topic - rape. It’s not a book about rape, but it does contain it and it is a large part of the story. This particular theme has been troubling me as I’ve been writing. I’ve been wondering if I’m a good enough writer to tackle a topic like this yet. Am I going to end up causing offence to people? I’m not trying to make a political statement, or shine a light on rape in society or anything like that. It is just a story. I think if I did try to make it deep and meaningful then I would end up with something problematic.

I am being very careful to be tactful. In the past I’ve been quite graphic with my descriptions of scenes and this is not something I want to be too graphic with. The Cedarstone Chronicles book 4 (Reunion) had a rape scene which I thought was not too graphic, but when I submitted the final draft I was told it was too graphic and I had to rewrite the scene. I’m relieved that those controls are in place because if I do end up with something that is too graphic then I know it will get rejected. I’m not too worried about being graphic though, I think I’ll handle that fine, it’s just the idea of handling the topic in a way that will upset someone that worries me. Usually I’m not bothered about offending people. I am of the mind that if you don’t like a book then you shouldn’t read it. I don’t agree with writing complaints to publishers and TV networks because something was offensive. But this feels different to me. This is something I do want to be careful with.

The new project is about a writer named Matthew, who is struggling to write his next book. He goes on a writing retreat which is hosted in an old house in the village of Hoo St Werburgh. He’s using the retreat not just to get his work done, but also to escape his other problems. Unfortunately, his other problems follow him to the house. So he ends up trapped in a fairly secluded place where he is forced to deal with his problems. Oh, and also the house is full of malicious ghosts.

I want to go into more detail about the project and introduce you to the main characters as well as the house, but this blog post is long enough so far, so hopefully, I’ll be able to do that next week. Despite all my worries and doubts about this project I am really enjoying it and I hope it will be as good on the page as it is in my head.