Chapter Thirty - Think Big!24 August 2010
And so we come to the end of this little guide to writing! I know that I’ve focused a lot on the gritty side of the business throughout these chapters, on the need to work hard and stay focused. But I thought it would be nice to end with a sweet, uplifting message! So here’s a blog entry from close to the end of 2009, when I was drawing to the end of a large chunk of my early career and looking ahead to whatever comes next.
Finished my final edit of The Thin Executioner today. I hadn’t expected to finish until at least Friday when I started, but I roared through the latter half of the book yesterday and today, the story dragging me along and refusing to let me stop — always a good sign!!! As I’ve said before, this is my personal favourite out of all of the books I have so far written. It’s also my longest Darren Shan book date, which should please those of you who complain about my books being too short!!! We’re not talking an absolute monster here (although the first draft would have been if I hadn’t trimmed it down over the editing process!), slightly over 400 pages in the UK edition. But that’s still quite a bit longer than most of my other books. To be honest, I never worry about length. A story should be as long or as short as it needs to be — I don’t think a writer should ever take the number of words into consideration, though I know many do. If a story only needs 100 pages, don’t pad it out to make people think they’re getting value for money. If it needs 1000, don’t trim it down because you think that’s going to be uncommercial. Always go with what you feel works best for the story.
I’m sad to be putting this book behind me. I started work on it early in 2002, so it’s been almost 8 years in the making. (I didn’t want to release it until I’d finished The Demonata.) This seems to be a year of spring cleaning for me as far as my books go — I’ve wrapped up work on The Demonata, The City and now this. We’re almost at the start of a new decade, and I’ll be kicking it off with an almost clean slate of stories — although, having said that, it’s been almost 3 years since I wrote the first Mr Crepsley book, and over a year and a half since I started work on what will hopefully be my next series after those 4 books. Nevertheless, I’ve put some big chunks of the last 10 writing years of my life behind me in 2009, and now it’s time to move forward onto new material, which is both exciting and scary at the same time — exciting because I’m facing new challenges, scary because there’s no guarantee that my future books will work as well or be as popular as what I’ve done in the past. But hey, when it comes to my work, I’m a sappy old optimist — I always think that I’m going to move on to something even bigger and better than what I’ve done before!!! I like to think that The Saga and The Demonata were fun learning steps on the way to something even more amazing, and that what I do next will blow away everyone’s memories of those. In reality that probably won’t be the case, but you can’t march through life thinking that way — you’ve got to always believe in your potential. If you start thinking about reality too much, it’ll sink its hooks into you, and you’re doomed!!! Writers are dreamers. If you want to be successful in this game, you’ve got to constantly let yourself dream…