I’ve talked about writing and editing before, and given that I have little else to post about this week, I figure I’ll do it again. It’ll be just as self-indulgent as last time, so sorry. I’ve just been so busy lately, which is why there haven’t been any updates in the last few weeks.
So, let’s kick it off!
As of today, I’m putting the finishing touches on Amp, an 80-page novella about a teenage girl named Sam who thinks she’s going insane. It starts off with a school day, and Sam is ready for all kinds of lazy fun. She’s a rocker/metalhead at heart with aspirations of being the drummer in a famous rock band, and that means she’s going to spend her day watching cartoons and making all kinds of wild, obnoxious noise.
The best laid plans go awry when, for a brief second, she sees a monster on her deck. She scrambles backwards, screams, and then the monster leaves. Sam is left shaken and confused, wondering if the thing she saw was real or not.
And that’s the crux of the story. Amp follows Sam on a five-day journey through her life, starting on Monday and ending on a Friday. For five days, she’s either being stalked or going insane, and she’s unsure as to which is worse.
I came up with the idea for Amp in my sophomore year of college, which was about…six years ago? I was bored in an Economics class, staring out a window, when the idea of, “What if a monster just showed up and then disappeared” hit me.That would be strange, and way more fun than whatever garbage I was packing into my short-term memory.
I held onto Amp as a monster for about a semester or two, wondering what to do with him. I liked the idea, but I didn’t know how to actually execute it. He’s not your average monster, being more flighty and silent than anything else. It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class that Amp got put down on paper as the antagonist of a poem. It was a bad poem, and one I no longer have, but the basic plot for Amp was started. That was perhaps five years ago.
For five years I’ve had the basic building blocks for this story. I actually began to flesh it out around two or so years ago, creating Sam and her family as the stars of the story, but then The Ninth Life called my attention away. I’m glad for that, but it was also a strange diversion, because hot damn did Amp want to be written. It’s wanted to be written for a long time.
I’m happy to say that it finally has been!
The first draft took around 15-20 days and measured a bit over 90 pages. It was rough as hell, and if I’m being honest, something I hated. Actually, if I’m being really honest, I hated the story from about page six and onwards. When you spend years thinking about something, there’s just no possible way it can be executed to your liking.
I took a month-and-a-half break between the first and second draft, knowing I really, really needed the space if I wanted to see this done. Thankfully, my return towards Amp was very positive, and I began that big chore known as THE EDITING PROCESS.
It’s taken a couple of months with large breaks in between drafts, but I’m now finalizing draft four. I’ve gotten some nice feedback, I’ve fixed a lot of problems, and I’ve chopped off 12 or so pages of text. It now measures 80 pages on the dot.
I’m happy with it, and with the ending which went through a few revisions. The one I landed on is the best though.
At the end of the day, Amp is kind of a strange story. It’s my first attempt at third-person subjective for one, which made writing it difficult but very fun. I really like Sam as a character, and staying in her head for 80 pages was quite the ride. She swears too much though, and part of my last round of editing was the removal of over half my curse words. There are still a lot of them…
There are also three dream sequences that sort of reek of purple prose and a high-school analysis essay on Hamlet somewhere around the third day. That was fun to write, and I think it’s fun to read. I’ve not gotten any complaints over it.
Amp isn’t a story I will try to get published in a magazine or story collection. I think it’s too long and too out there for that. The current plan is to get my brother to draw me a cover so I can self publish it on Amazon. Sadly, it could be awhile before it sees the light of day, since my brother is quite busy and I need to explore some better epub programs than Calibre. I hear good things about Scrivinor. I’ll start there.
I look forward to people reading it though, and in the meantime, I have other ideas to begin.