I finished Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin this morning. After a few days off work, which have been spent deep in fiction both of my own and others' devising, it was satisfying to complete it. As ever, GRRM realised his world well and sucked me in with believable and sympathetic characters. OK, so it wasn't A Song of Ice and Fire, but then what in fantasy is? I can think of maybe two series which rival it, and none which surpass it, although I have to make the admission that this could all change in time, with the last two books of the series yet to even have publication dates.
After 17 days and almost 34,000 words, the NaNo novel is well on the way. I'm not happy with the quality of writing, but the point is that I have to keep ploughing on. Once I finish it (with the target date the 27th of the month, rather than the 30th), it will be consigned to history. But it's helped me get writing on a large scale again, which is more important than the quality. It's also forced me to keep going where otherwise I would have given in. Rediscovering my stubborn streak might prove to be important.
When I started writing this post, I was taking a day away from writing to recuperate. I had forgotten how hard writing was when it was done over a period of time, and when it wasn't trivial amounts. The last time I completed a novel was March 2006, after a six-month blitz. Six and a half years down the line, I'm certain I'll finish this novel, lacking in quality though it is. It lacks so many things. There's no depth, no description, no real character. There's some human interest, but it's limited. With 1/3 of the novel to write, I'm going to start ratcheting up the action to the point where it becomes a caricature of the vampire novel.
But what's next? There's a few projects I want to work on, only one of which is of novel length. Most of the short stories I have in mind will probably take me a couple of weeks at 500 words a day (quality over quantity - NaNo's lesson needs to be learned, in that I can't produce both, unlike many writers). But I'm building up to the big one - there's a certain epic fantasy series that's been sitting unwritten for far too long. Once the little projects are out of the way, it's time to knuckle down and write it.