Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pay No Attention To That Novelist Behind The Curtain

I knew I wanted to write a novel long before I knew what novel I wanted to write. How could I possibly come up with a story that could be sustained over 200 pages or more? And be cool and keep the reader's interest and frequently make sense? It seemed impossible for a long time.

But I knew I wanted to do it. I started to actively think about plots. I began to mentally collect bits and pieces of real life that I knew I wanted to include in a book. But the Big Idea didn't hit me until somewhere around 30, when I had moved into a ramshackle apartment two blocks from the beach in LA. Like every new tenant, I kept getting mail for the previous tenant. And wow, his mail was WAY cooler than mine.

SHAZAM! The main idea for HEAVENLY MOVES was born.

Yay. But the point is: the first idea was terribly hard for me to come up with. I struggled and yearned and failed and kept trying and eventually got it together. These days, ideas for novels come easily to me. My brain bombards me with them. My fingers can't keep up.

Wait - that's not the point. The point is: sure, it's easy to come up with an idea for a novel, but it's tremendously difficult to actually write a whole book. Really, really difficult, at least for me it is.

But the point is (ah, now we've arrived): if you find that you CAN achieve something tremendously difficult, it makes you feel good. Makes you feel like maybe you can do other stuff, too!

Writing Novels: Good For Your Self-Esteem.

Until some a-hole writes a bad review. But let's just ignore those, shall we? :-) More on that later...

There is one wee downside to writing novels, though. The more you write, the better you get at it. (in theory) You start to see how the process works, how things hang together, what will get your blimp off the landing pad, what mistakes to avoid...

And then you start to see those things in OTHER people's books. And movies. Even HGTV, for crying out loud. You find you suddenly have a deeper understanding of structure than you did before. You're all like "Arc!" You see things coming. You guess who the murderer is in the first seven minutes. You know who the victims are going to be and in what order they're going to go. (dude, he's IN the house)

But THEN, you realize that's kinda fun, too. Perhaps you appreciate things on a whole 'nother level now.

You - and Toto, too.


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