Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Would you rather...fight a bear or write a novel?

Last night at dinner, my younger son made an announcement, of sorts. He is just positive that if faced with a bear in the wild, he could best it with one punch. Or at most, five. He is completely convinced of this fact. Despite our best attempts at educating him in the reality of bears, he was still sure that he could at the very least hold his own. He finally conceded that should he ever meet with a live bear, he would play dead or climb a tree, just to make his parents happy.

In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, a contest in which people challenge themselves to write a novel of 50,000 words in just 30 days. That breaks down to 1,667 words each day, or about 7-8 pages. That's quite a challenge for someone with a full-time job, two kids, and a wife. I got off to a late start, not beginning my story until the November 4th. I maintained a good pace...for a week. Then work got in the way because November is our worst/hardest production period of the year. I would've taken off a couple of days to write, but that just wasn't possible with the major workload and deadlines I faced. Then the holidays and visiting family got in the way. I was only able to get in a little bit writing here and there - those few hours were the highlights of the month for me.

I finished the month at 16,645 words, just a hair under a third of the way to the goal. Not bad, considering how busy I was and that I only found out about it the week before it started. I had no idea, outline, plot, or characters in mind before I began. That's why I got a late start...I had to brainstorm a story idea. Well, now I have the beginnings of it, and I'm finally getting back to work on it.

I'm stumped about where I want the story to go and the main plot in general. I know what I want it to be "about," but I don't know where I want the story to go...what the specific story is that I want to tell, and that's very scary and intimidating. Now I'm tired of letting that doubt and fear hold me back. I want to write. I'm hooked. I've been putting off continuing for two weeks because of that fear. The story will come when I entice it out of the subconscious by writing it.

While I'm waiting for that plot to form, I have a few scenes that I want to write and some characterization to do for the main character. It feels good to just open up and let the story flow, creating itself. I'm looking forward to eventually going back and revising the finished draft into something that will actually make a good novel. But first, of course, I have to finish said draft. And I will.

Current music: Steve Earle's new disc "Washington Square Serenade"


  1. I have to say, I'd probably opt for fighting the bear. I just don't think I'm cut out for writing. At least not at this point in my life. It sounds like something I "should" do, but know I don't have the drive to stick it out and finish writing something.

  2. jeckles3:47 PM

    me,myself i too would rather take on the bear. i know that if i can handle take care of a chiuana & a poodle ALL DAY i can handle a bear.

    Tony on the other hand he would probably do just like Duncan.
    run & climb a tree.
    however if he wore ever asked he'd say that he could handle the bear.

  3. I love the experience of just sitting down and writing. I get lost in it. But that's the easy part. I'm having a lot of trouble with devising the story, like I said. I can sit and let the story ramble out aimlessly, but even I get bored after a while. I need to know where I want the story to go, what the major conflicts are going to be. At least, that's the case for the story I'm writing now.