Sunday, May 1, 2011

If I'm going to write a novel....

So with those 100 Orphaned Beginnings in mind, I've come to some conclusions about writing another novel.

1.) I have to be fully, utterly committed. I will start and I will do a good job and I will finish. No dabbling.

2.) I have to take charge of the book; take responsibility for it, look for no outside help, and truly wrestle it into shape. It is my job and no one elses. It's a bit like building an incredibly intricate model that, perhaps, no one will ever see. I have to be all right with that.

3.) It's about the book, stupid. I can't worry about who it might sell to, or when, or how, or for how much. In writing the book, the goal is to write the book. It doesn't matter whether other books are better or worse, I can only work on the book I'm working on.

4.) The work process is at least as important as the creative process. It has to be written in such a way that I can carry on my life, but still make steady progress on the novel. For instance, I need to be sure I don't make my usual mistake of over-correcting while writing the book, and then not doing enough rewriting when I finish the book.

5.) None of the above means I shouldn't take a good hard look at what I intend to write. For me, at least, books take on an eventual form and that's the book. It's hard to change the premise of a book. So once I commit, I have to finish the book whether I think it has flaws or problems; or more to the point, I need to try to fix the flaws or problems.

This last point has been what has probably held me in Writer's Block for the last 25 years.

I'll have to make a decision and then stick to it.

It would also be a perfectly rational decision to not write a book. It's something I've thought long and hard about over the last 25 years.

What has changed?

1.) The possibility of putting it on the internet, instead of sending it into the VOID. Or letting it molder in a trunk.

2.) I have more time.

3.) This blog. Which has proved that I'm still full of the blarney.

4.) It would be interesting to see what kind of novel emerges, now that I have 25 years of life experience behind me.

Sorry to go all Hamlet on you, again. To write or not to write. But it's similar to the process I went through with Star Axe. I worked on it for awhile, then laid off, then again, and then dabbled in other stuff.

Finally, I just said to myself, finish the damn book, already!

What this possibility of publishing online has done, has made me face the difficulties of my writing a novel.

After 25 years, and after the ease with which this blog is produced, I think I may have forgotten how hard it is for me.

The following is not to put myself down: I think it's more a realistic appraisal of my abilities.

Simply put, I find it hard to write a book good enough to be published. Oh, I can get most of the way there, but that last boost of quality, which makes it good enough to be bought and read, that was always hard. I felt like I was barely making it over the finish line.

Now...I always thought the 'great' idea would come along, a burst of inspiration, and more and more experience, along with good work habits -- and create another publishable book. And maybe another.

But I need to be realistic about the time and energy it will take.

This whole examination has made me remember just how hard it is -- and reminded me why I concentrated on running Pegasus Books instead.

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