Blog No. 112
Last year, around this time, I started my first novel. I spent the first couple of weeks either sitting at the kitchen table or zipping to a local coffee shop to get a couple of pages written every day. I don’t know if you remember last winter (now that it’s cold again, it seems the people around me have forgotten). It was a tremendous challenge to stay on track and brave the cold, but I had a goal and I was going to try. Then things got busy and I lost focus and in a month, I had four terrible chapters and no momentum. I wasn’t ready.
I hadn’t even intended to start a novel at that point. I has spent years talking about all the books I was going to write and even blabbed a bunch about this one specifically, but after having spent a year writing short stories, I didn’t think I had the chops to write a novel yet. Then Christian proclaimed that he was going to write a novel (the jerk), so I thought I’d better give it a shot — I wasn’t about the be left behind. I was nervous, hesitant, and it all fell apart. Maybe it was the self doubt that did it, but either way — I quit.
I didn’t quit writing though. My focus switched to short stories and in no time, Christian and I were working on a collection instead. We’re still working on it too, so at least I know I have some staying power (even if I drag my feet). While the collection is the main focus for me at the moment (gotta finish) I am interested in getting the novel off the ground again. I feel that after a year of learning, writing, and small successes, I am ready to write a terrible, but competent, first draft. I feel like with editing, rewriting, and writing for this blog and Adventure Worlds, I have progressed enough to give it another try.
Now I’m starting from almost scratch (I really like my opening bit). I came up with a solid second act problem and I feel like I have a plot that is good enough to start with. I just hope my writing is up to snuff and I can keep going past chapter five and to the end. If everything goes the way I see it, I should have a first draft by June and maybe even publish before the end of the year. I don’t think I’m alone in being a writer who has a lot of stories to tell. There are some who only have one or two, but most of us can’t stop that flow of ideas. If I can get into the habit now, maybe I can start a trend of putting out a book a year. I have the ideas, I just need to put in the work.
Both blogs are still a priority, and like I said, the collection. I still want to keep putting out the zines and working on Finders (if we can get an artist to help with that). There are other projects I want to take a shot at doing this year too (a couple that didn’t work out last year). I guess I’ll have to just work at it and see where the year takes me. I have as good a shot as I ever have, but I don’t want to turn into a pelican (who’s mouth could hold more than his belly can — My Grandfather).
7 thoughts on “Novel Number One, Part Two”
Mr. Ben, First I want to say how proud I am with your accomplishments this past year. Through your dedication you have seen not only this blog continue to grow, not missing a single beat. You have also with Christian pushed AW into an amazing place that is going to continue to grow into the place we have always envisioned it could be, and for this I am truly thankful. With each new piece of writing I get to experience from you I am inspired. I am with you for the long run my friend, keep up the amazing work. JC
We’re all just trying to do our best Justin. It means a lot to me to get your support. Hopefully I can accomplish this one. We have lots of goals to accomplish.
Knowing the changes you’ve made to the story since last year, I can say that putting off writing the novel until was a good decision. Even though you said you didn’t think you were ready to write the story, I really believe that sometimes the story just isn’t ready to be told. It will be so much stronger now with last year under your belt.
Thanks man. I definitely think the story is better with the changes I’ve come up with, but if you look at what we were writing a year ago compared to what we are writing now – the improvement is obvious. It’s the double whammy that makes writing the novel a real possibility.
Writing takes time and patience. The most important parts of writing are being able to let your ideas gel into something that works, getting your characters to the point they’re real to you, and being able to see the settings. You’ll know it will all comes together – then write. You have a wonderful talent – just keep going and everything will come together.
Thank you Christine. Don’t you love that feeling when everything gels? I know you had that with your Samhain book. I’m looking forward to that one coming out.
Thanks Ben – I’m looking forward to that myself.