Dear Traveler, Deep Thoughts Has Moved to My Author Homepage

Check out for new blog posts! This here blog is done after a good ten year, 1,000 post run. I'll keep this now defunct blog up for the sake of historians who no doubt will one day want to know every detail of my existence on this spinning rock we call Earth, but no more shall you find me posting here.

Good day sir/madam!

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New Year, New Blood

Happy New Year! It's 2015! Fuck yeah! Meet the new boss/oh shit he's got a gun!

So, to follow up on my previous now seven-week old post, today I have finished writing the new first draft of novel 15 (which is actually novel 16 if you want to split hairs). That's right, I've got a spanking new 105,000 words of novel after banishing the original third draft of novel 15 to the wasteland that is my computer's file folders.

Okay, this figure is technically about 95,000 new words with a 10,000 word very stand alone section  salvaged from the original novel. But I think I still wrote 900 pages, or about 250,000 words in 2014, which yes is pure lunacy (this figure includes a rewrite for FLUX for another novel, which itself added 60 fresh pages to the manuscript). Yeah I should date more or at least leave the apartment where dating could happen to me, or the chance brush of a lady's tender hand mayhap fall upon me. But yeah. What's done is done and it's time to fucking rewrite this mutherfucker!

I'd have to say this draft, rough as it is, is already light years ahead of the original draft I shelved. So, so, so much better. Wayyyyyy better. Why? I guess it's got something to do with having lived in this world for so long (this dark town of Hawthorn world) that I was able to find new characters to fit it perfectly and also achieve my narrative goals, which my previous group couldn't quite manage to pull off for various reasons. Also, for whatever reason (probably my incessant fear that all this time and energy would be for naught) the plot in this draft is much tighter yet feels more...inevitable, which is something I preached every class when I taught plot.

So all in all it's been worth it...I guess?
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The Forest Must Burn So It Can Be Reborn

I haven't posted an actual writing post in a while (oh no! the world cried out, so fucking aghast) so here it be. This past spring I started working on a new novel with a lot of moving parts to it and I finished the rough draft this past August after a very productive writing period. The new novel weighed in around 110,00 words initially, which made it my longest novel ever (I'm not a long novel guy-too squirrely), and I ran the rough draft through two additional drafts before sticking it in the metaphorical drawer to cool down.

Why not send it off immediately? It's not like my busy literary agent isn't eagerly awaiting our next crazy money making venture! God, all the money, how we loves it! Money is our precious! Well, alas, I kept getting the sense the book wasn't all it could be. You know, a sort of nagging sensation that I had let down all humanity yet again by not concocting the absolutely most perfect awesome novel of all time, a novel to rule them all and in darkness sell a million copies. The prose was solid, I loved the setting, and the plot...well, it was a plot, anyhow.

Eventually I boiled my unease down to the cocktail party question (also known as the elevator pitch). I.e. I had trouble summoning up what the new book was about when people asked me, much less pack it into a single good sales line (which I've come to learn is pretty much necessary if you actually want to sell your book). This led me to a bunch of other revelations and finally, with a sinking feeling, I realized the book wasn't good enough and probably wouldn't be good enough no matter how many more revisions I made.

God damn, huh? Six months of work down the old drain. Oppegaard Novel #15 was a fucking bust.

Yet not all is lost. After further reflection I realized one part of the book was too fucking good to shelve forever and I started thinking about another way to incorporate it into a new novel written otherwise from scratch. So that's what I'm doing now, writing a whole new novel set in the same town with the same title but with many new characters and a whole other focus. And, this time, if we meet at a party and you ask me about it I can say, with confidence, "It's about a town that's haunted, both metaphorically and literally."

And so I grind on, typing into this merciless Minnesota winter.

FUN SIDE NOTE: I've updated to Word 2013 on my PC and it's glorious. I highly recommend it.
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