Buried somewhere within this website is a deformed, missing link of a blog about Passive Voice. I intended to write a blog that was informative and entertaining. (Eventually I’ll finish it and then we’ll know, won’t we?)
But since it’s been a while, I figured it’s time to throw something on the grill again.
So, let’s talk about THE NOVEL.
Yes, that evil beastie that every beginning writer fears. It’s the largest obstacle a writer can face.
I mean, for the most part, we can all tell a story, right? Some better than others, sure, but just about everybody has the capacity to tell/write a short story.
But a novel? How many people have mentioned, off-handedly usually, like a New Year’s Resolution they’ll eventually get around to tackling, that they would like to write a novel?
Writing a novel is like running a marathon.
You know what? Forget marathon. It’s an Iron Man competition. It’s the you’ve-crossed-the-finish-line-and-accomplished-something-even-if-you-lost type of race, where in the end, winning doesn’t really count, it’s just making to the end.
I’m still a long ways from the end of my race. I’m sitting at just under 20% of my desired word count. (I’m shooting big, because I know I’ll have to cut at least a third of the junk away in just the first round of editing.)
But I still feel like I’ve done something.
For the last two years, I’ve attempted novels. I trained up a bit, did some stretching and just went for it. Little did I know that you just can’t do that.
Sure, there’s those lucky few whose first books sell like crazy, *cough* Twilight *cough*, but the guy I look up to wrote a couple of novels before one sold. In fact, he nearly threw away the novel he started because he thought it was crap.
It took a Constant Reader (i.e. his wife) to save the first few pages of Carrie.
(Who’d you think I look up to? E.B. White? Haha!)
Two years later, published a few times, with a couple lengthy stories under my belt, I’m finally making headway in the race. I know if I keep pushing, if I run through the ache in my brain and put the words down, I’ll at least cross the finish line.
For all you other “newbie” writers out there, remember, that’s what the first novel is about. It’s training. Think of it, in another way, as learning to ride a bike. Short stories and such are the tricycles of writing. It’s how you get the basic method down.
The first novel is the big kid’s bike with the dinky training wheels attached. You hate it the entire time you’re riding it. You feel like an idiot because you’ve got training wheels and you’re constantly trying to talk your folks into taking them off and trust you. You know you won’t fall over.
But you do. You want to throw it away, forget ever riding that evil bike.
Eventually, you get over it, jump back on and learn how to ride without training wheels.
I’ve started several novels. None of them went anywhere past, maybe, 10-15 thousand words.
But I know, just know, that this one will cross the finish line. Even if I have to drag its dead, lifeless body the whole way.
Then again, I write horror….. that could be a good thing!
Alright. I’ve run out of steam. Time to pep up the engine with coal and get something done. Like, more possibly pointless and useless words written down.
A novel is like a marathon, eh? Man, that’s a lot of running. I’m tired just sitting here and typing…
I like to think of a novel the way John Miller does–it’s more like a marriage. You see, when you write flash fiction it’s like a one night stand, quick and over with before you really get started.
Short stories are like dating, getting to second base, so to speak. It involves a little more effort to keep it going, but ultimately it does come to an end.
Novellas are like long term relationships that don’t end in marriage–you have to put a lot more into it but the commitment for something longer isn’t there.
The Novel is like a marriage–it takes commitment to make a marriage work. It’s a struggle but the rewards can be great.
Keep chugging along, Shanna-hobbits, and you’ll get there.
Oh, so I should seduce it with slow music and dim lights??? Ply it with wine into saying “Yes! Now!”??
I don’t know why that’s the first thing that pops into my head when reading your comment. Now I feel like I’ve date-raped every flash fiction story I’ve written. Let alone the disgusting things I’ve done to my short stories.
Wow. I think I’m supposed to hate myself now or something, just on principle!
I am indeed chugging along, a day at a time. Some days she gives it to me, on others…. she can be a little frigid.
Ok, that’s enough of the cliche-ing. LOL!!
Thanks for stopping by, AJ. Always, Kemo Sabe, you have much wise-ness for guidance.