Thursday, November 17

A first novel: Return

Remember back at the end of August when I wrote that I needed to take some time for research before I could begin writing again? That has not been so successful as I had hoped. I did do some more research but that amounted to copying down the links to a few more references. I have failed to read The Ontology of Photography and The Gutenberg Galaxy, and I have failed to watch Hard Target and The Delta Force. Pretty disappointing.

I realized the research wasn't going so well by the end of September, once I had a job and we had settled into Seattle and the most high priority distractions were taken care of. I decided then that I couldn't wait to begin and finish my research. The important thing was to keep writing. My writer's block on this first novel continued, though, and I thought maybe working on another novel would help. It didn't. I wrote out a whole stack of notes. I had an even better conception of that novel's development and direction. I was excited about it. Then I wrote a few paragraphs, maybe a quarter of a page, and realized that the tone was way too somber and self serious and generally pretentious. I had to rethink my approach entirely.

Then I learned that a local bookstore was holding a contest in conjunction with NaNoWriMo: best novel written according to the game's rules would be published on the store's press and stocked for at least three months. That, I thought, could not fail to inspire me to write. No time to think or revise or edit. Just pure inspiration and sweat. It did not. Again, I crashed out after a few paragraphs. At least this time I completed more than a full page.

And so I return to my first novel again. I still have doubts about, that it will not be good enough, that it will not be smart enough, that I will make some stupid factual, cultural mistake and that the people who understand the material better than I will laugh at it, but I am doing my best to push these doubts to the side. I'm still going to do the research, too, but it's going to be concurrent with the writing. No more excuses and delays. I'm going to finish this. It'll take longer than I had first hoped, but I will do it.

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