A Shell of a Book

The Devil’s Spiral Shell is finished, and my third year of completing National Novel Writing Month is at an end.

Here’s a breakdown:

22 days of typing (after missing the first two with an anniversary trip)

50,324 words (2287 words per day)

184 pages (8.4 pages a day)


When I began this project, I wasn’t sure what would happen in the book. Here’s a look at some quotes from when I began the book and my thoughts on those quotes now.

— I’ve dreamed up a main character, a basic plot, and something evil to keep them all busy.

The plot changed very little from the rough outline I imagined before I began to write.

Eldon, my main character, went through a lot less suffering than I had imagined he would. He ended up a man on a mission instead of a man crippled by anxiety and barely able to leave his house. This kept the story interesting. Eldon also had to share the story with Derrick, who became a co-lead character. Derrick’s devil-may-care attitude helped me pull anxious, fearful Eldon out of his shell and into the story.

The evil keeping those two busy got worse as the story progressed, and I dig that. Anytime I thought of something that had ever made me squirm, I forced myself to work it into the story. By the time I finished, The Devil’s Spiral Shell was a detective story exploring a museum dedicated to my own worst fears.

— I have no idea how it will end, or if there will be romance. I don’t think it will be gory, but I make no promises. This is the least I’ve planned a novel for NaNoWriMo, so we’ll see if that ends in inspiration or embarrassment.

The ending of the book came as a surprise, but I was happy about how it came together. It felt satisfying, even though it left much of the mystery intact.

No romance. Poor Eldon has a long way to go before he’s even able to start dating.

I don’t think the book is that gory, but it is definitely upsetting and gross in places. I told my wife about a few key scenes and she shuddered, so that can’t be all bad.

I’m inspired by the end product, but I’m also a little nervous about the overall cohesiveness of the narrative. The story moved along so quickly, and the pace is so frantic, I’m not sure I gave the reader enough information to stay in the chase. I also worry about the level of detail in the set pieces. I can imagine each with enough horrifying detail to get my heart pumping, but I’m not sure if I adequately shared that terror with the rest of the world.

Months from now, when I can approach it with a clean slate, revising The Devil’s Spiral Shell will make for an interesting experience.


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