A Novel Idea

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but back when I did the seven-things meme, I listed the following as one of the “things I plan to do before I die”:

1. Write a book

It’s been an ambition of mine for a while now, but for a long time it’s been something I thought I just couldn’t do. I figured I wouldn’t have the attention span or stamina to stick with a long-term writing project like a novel. The thing is I kinda already have done this. When I was in college I wrote a novella about a hermaphrodite art model — which I began during my senior year of high school — but stopped halfway through the third rewrite, because a new character popped up and I didn’t know what to do with him, and I couldn’t finish the story. (Of course, now itSince then I’ve managed to write a few short stories (one of which got published in my university’s literary journal, along with some poems), but most of my writing has been of the type seen on this blog — usually focused on politics or reviewing someone else’s work. I used to write poetry. I used to write fiction. I haven’t done either in over 10 years.

Why and I bringing this up? (Especially with so many important political matters pending? You know, “important shit” I could be blogging about?) Well, last night I found out that November is National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Given that I’ve always wanted to get back into creative writing, and that now I have an excuse to give it a shot (and advanced warning to boot). I might just give it a shot. What particularly draws me in is this passage from their “about” page.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

One of the reasons I haven’t done any creative writing it because I’ve forgotten one of the first rules about doing it: take for granted that you will write a lot of crap, but write anyway. Somewhere along the way, I became my own worst critic when it came to creative writing; even more critical than I am about the kind of non-fiction writing I do on my blog and elsewhere.

So, I decided to take the plunge. Now what? Well, I need an idea, a plot, some characters, etc. I’ve got a few to choose from, but the real question is: how the hell do I write a novel in 30 days? Well, I have a feeling the universe may be trying to help me out with this. Last month I stumbled across a link to an article entitled “How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less.” Of course the “NaNoWriMo” gig is one of those “or less” type deals, but I plan on using the article as a sort of guide.

So, I have a little over three weeks before I start my (*gulp*) novel. That’s three weeks to figure out what in hell it’s going to be about.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
This entry was posted in Books, Life, NaNoWriMo, Websites. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Novel Idea

  1. Chance says:

    Good Luck. 🙂

    Also, I encourage everyone to read “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey.

  2. neilemac says:

    Now that you have succumbed to blogging daily, your ability to write has been greatly enhanced. To write your novel, there’s but one major requirement to remember: write about what you know. Considering your somewhat unique viewpoint: “Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal,” as well as being a brilliant blogger, you have myriad experiences from which to draw. Hence, you have more than a fighting chance to beat the competition on this (pun intended) ‘novel idea.’ Again my brother in spirit, write on! namasté

  3. Silph says:

    good luck!

  4. KathyF says:

    This is a post I can relate to. I quit writing fiction (after starting my fourth novel) and went to work full time in politics, and now I’m blogging. I’m not sure I can do both, since I put so much creative energy into blogging there doesn’t seem to be any left.

    Maybe I should make NaNo my excuse to jump back in, too, especially since I’ve had that familiar nagging pull of a story lately.

    Good luck, anyway.

  5. sennoma says:

    Second the advice about “writing what you know”. A thinly (or heavily) disguised autobiography or a roman a clef from you would be *excellent* reading. Or think what Anne Tyler could do with the story of how you and the hubby got together and adopted Parker. Or a hardboiled detective mystery a la Chandler with, well, you as Marlowe — a black, gay, vegetarian Marlowe with a spouse and child, a buddhist philosophy and liberal leanings. Or — c’mon, T, the blurbs are writing themselves here!

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