Wednesday, April 1, 2020
This Is Not an April Fool's Joke
I'm doing it.
I have never attempted to write a novel before. I haven't attempted any fiction at all since, oh, fourth grade? Which would be 1978. I mean, maybe a teacher or two along the way made us write stories, but I don't remember writing fiction. I love stories, OBVIOUSLY, and I like writing, but I've always felt like I just can't think of a plot. And plots, I feel firmly, are an important part of novel writing.
Then I had a dream a month or more ago. In the dream, I had just leapt out of this long wooden boat as a fleet of similar boats beached around me, and everyone started running across the beach towards the woods. Only I tripped and fell flat on my face. This bearded man came back and looked down at me laying there and said, completely seriously, "I am beginning to think you are not as vital to this movement as I'd been led to believe." And I was so embarrassed, and also a little afraid that now he was going to kill me because he'd figured out I wasn't the Chosen One.
So that's the story I'm writing. I figure that moment will take place about a third of the way in, but I'm realizing that I'm going to have to edit like a mo-fo, because I'm ten chapters in and nowhere near that point. I mean, my two main characters haven't even MET yet.
But that's okay. Because all my life, I'd read a debut and think 'Wow, they wrote THAT GOOD and it's their FIRST TIME!? I could NEVER do that!" Then I started blogging and following authors on social media, and I found out that no, for most authors their first published book isn't their first book. That they learn by doing. That you can always edit a shitty first draft, but you can't edit a blank page. So I'm giving myself permission to write a terrible first book, with zero expectations. If all that happens is I finish the first draft and it's as long as two George R. R. Martin books combined because I cannot get to the goddamned point, that will still be an amazing win.
Plus, it's something to do while socially distancing besides freak out. I have heard plenty of authors saying they can't concentrate long enough to write right now, but I suspect that because this is NOT my normal, it feels like an escape to me. As opposed to actually trying to figure out how to do my job long distance, which is stressful and difficult and confusing.
Okay then, I need another 466 words today. If you don't see me much on the blog this month though, that's why.