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First Hint of a Novel

June 16, 2010

I was a bit excited about this, so I wanted to share it with you all.

I’d been struggling for some time with the notion that maybe I”m not quite ready to write that novel I’ve been working on since forever.  Anyway, I’m focusing on short stories for now, because that’s all I can fit in the little slices of time I currently have.  But what I really want to write is  novels.

And when it comes to writing novels, there’s that epic novel I’ve been working on since forever, as previously alluded to.

But I love the idea of that novel too much to leave it in the hands of the unskilled self that I am now.  I want that novel to be something great.  But I cannot write great fiction, as yet.  I need to know first that I can even write very good fiction.  But I can write something else.

So, at some point in the recent past (and I may have mentioned here) I decided to shift gears.  I decided that when I get into writing a novel, I will not start by writing this epic behemoth of a thing.  I will write something else instead.  After all, I had three or four different ideas for very different, other novels to write.  So I thought about the ideas, and I felt out which one I felt I could actually start to develop.  And one of them I kept coming back to as the idea that just felt right.

I’ll admit, though, I was afraid.  What if I could only do that one novel idea, the one I’d been working on since forever already?  What if I didn’t have what it takes to even attempt to write something else?  What if I couldn’t think of enough good ideas – to flesh out characters and world and plot – to make this other idea work?

I don’t know why I worried so much.  All I had to do was think about it for a while.  And I did.  And as I did, ideas started popping up in my head.  Oh, well, this is what happens in the first chapter.  But then this happens in the second.  This is the inciting incident, the thing that gets the main character started on her journey.

I only have the barest of details yet figured out.  Some of the first bases of the world-building that I sketched out a few years ago when the idea first came to me.  The first sketches of a few characters.  And now the first sketches of how the story opens.  I’m still working on the plot – as in, what is the overarching plot, and what does the main character want, and what is the course of the overall journey?  But I was delighted to find myself adding a couple new handwritten entries in my little notebook (I call it my Book of Ideas), and that these new entries, their not just for the same old book I’ve been working on since forever.  They’re for a new book idea.

The former book, I’ll still be working on it.  I can’t abandon it.  I’ll still write ideas for it down.  I’ll build up my little project file on my computer with notes and articles and ideas and worldbuilding and characters. But my overall focus, slowly, is going to shift in this new direction.

Happy writing.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010 8:59 am

    Middle of the post reaction: Oh bosh. Just start writing. 🙂

    Congratulations on starting!


    • June 16, 2010 9:17 am

      Ah touche.

      But really, what’s a good story without a little angst and challenge and conflict? And since this blog is my story…

      • June 16, 2010 10:35 am

        Bosh: Nonsense.

        Just in case you missed that… 🙂

        Nothing like writing a novel in your own blood.

      • June 16, 2010 10:41 am

        Yeah, I figured as much (re: Bosh). That’s why I mentioned the angst. 😉 I figured you were dismissing my angst on the subject (in a friendly way, mind you) so I thought I’d play it up as a plot point of the grand story that is my blog.

        But yes… the blood of the writer does seem to be the key ingredient in a good story.

  2. June 16, 2010 11:34 am

    I’m with JP on this one. Just write! You could surprise yourself, and, as I mentioned on my blog, ideas are endless. Having only one novel in you just sounds like another excuse ~gentle nudge~ I say just go for it!

    • June 16, 2010 11:48 am

      I don’t claim to have only one novel in me! (The book I’d been writing since forever was always intended to be the first of a series, for one. But I’ve got nearly a half-dozen good ideas for unrelated books besides that – some potentially series and some stand-alones.)

      But the former book is something special to me, and I want to exercise myself before I put myself to that task again. And this idea I’m starting to work, now: it’s pretty cool, I think. Definitely a book I want to write.

      Hopefully, I’ll have time to really give it what it deserves after graduating… but I’ll be trying to make a little progress here or there as time now permits.

      • June 16, 2010 3:29 pm

        ……Are you finishing your degree? Will this be it for college? (that would be awesome for your writerlyness.)

      • June 16, 2010 3:31 pm

        No, not yet, but yes it will be!

        I graduate in May of 2011… THEN I will finally be done, presumably.

        That’s going with the assumption (as I do now) that I will not then decide to pursue a PhD… which I think more than likely I will not.


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