Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Novel Idea

This summer, inspired by a nonfiction essay I read, an idea for a novel-length story came to me. I'm really excited about the idea and it's been percolating for months, waiting for me to DO something about it and start getting it down on the page. But it's a big project that will involve a lot of research involving topics of which I currently know very little.

The whole thing scares the hell out of me because:

1. I've never written anything that required library time to do well/correctly.
2. I've never written a novel.

There's not much I can do about the first point but dive in and start reading the relevant books I've found and take notes.

To give me some confidence about the second point, I've been engaged in National Novel Writing Month.

Because you're all literary folks, you've probably heard of NaNoWriMo. If not, it's a month-long effort to whip out a 50,000 word manuscript. No going back, no editing, no fixing. Just write approx. 1666 words a day, full speed ahead. I am loving it. Not since I wrote my MFA thesis have I *made* the time to write every single day, and this time, there's no pressure to produce anything great. The editing and rehashing comes later. (And shouldn't it always?)

I'm having fun with my silly novel and learning that there's less to be afraid of with something of this length than I thought. My concerns about how to plot and structure a book and where all of the characters come from are working themselves out. Don't get me wrong: some days it's a truly awful process and I have to force myself to sit down at the keyboard. But on the days when I have more ideas than time to get them down, it's like flying.

When I'm done, I'll know that I have the stuff to attempt the novel I *really* want to write.

Are any of you attempting NaNoWriMo this year, or have you in past years? If so, what did you learn about your writing?

1 comment:

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