So, here’s my first official “The Novel” post in this blog. Let’s just cut to the guts of it.
I’m a thirty-seven year old male, a freelance writer, and a now a blogger. My life so far has seen me try many occupations. I have worked in a mail room, cooked pizzas for a fast food delivery place, done door-to-door political canvassing, been a tutor at a junior college, and worked my way from the kid who dipped fish out of the aquarium tanks with a net to assistant manager of a big-box retail store.
I live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That’s right, I’m an “Okie”. I have lived in this state for the last few decades. Before that I had the opportunity to live in many other states in the US and also in Italy. I spent some time in Germany as well. I have lived here long enough to call myself an “Okie”. I might not be native but transplanted and adopted into the southwest state that’s shaped like a pan.
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to write novels. I remember sitting in my bedroom at the age of seven with a notebook and a pencil creating the further adventures of my favorite comic characters. I illustrated them as well. Let’s be upfront, I was much better at writing the stories than drawing the characters. I would rush to my where my dad sit reading yellowed pulp novels and demanded he read my comics and stories. I am not sure how long they sat around before my mother threw them in a trash bin or used them as scrap paper for grocery lists.
My next attempt was as a teenager, this time a horror novel. I wrote a whole chapter that time before showing it to my father. Dad took the red pen to it and I took the criticism hard and tore it to pieces in private.
And so it went on. Over the years, I have had hundreds of great ideas. Dozens of them would hit paper but finishing seemed too daunting. I had a drawer full of less than half-started novels.
A few years ago I came close to finishing one. Thanks to NaNoWriMo. I don’t mind saying that it was pretty damn good for a first draft. So what happened? Fear happened. I was so afraid to show it to anyone else that it sat on my hard drive without anyone reading a word of it but myself. My early experiences with criticism convinced me to keep it hidden away. Until, the day that my hard drive was lost on that laptop and the one completed novel was gone.
Until the summer of 2012. I don’t know what triggered it, but one evening I sat down to write about an idea that had been fermenting for a long time. It was an idea that had come to me in a dream (no, really…) several years ago and I had tossed it around upstairs. I had even written lots of little notes about it on the backs of envelopes, receipts, in notebooks and on my laptop. The story and the character captured me immediately. I was prisoner now to this idea.The words flowed effortlessly but I realized I wasn’t at this point writing a novel. I had lots of good scenes but the connection between them escaped me. Did it happen again? Was it three months completely wasted?
I decided to begin again from the very first step. I would start with planning my novel. I could use these ideas, characters and scenes but connect them with a solid plan.
So, I am creating a journal of my experience from planning to hopefully publishing and promoting my novel. It is “The Novel” for now, a title will come later. I will periodically post here about the development of this novel, and this will add an extra incentive to my novel writing process as I will know that there will be another set of eyes on my progress.
Just for your information, I will post current word count with every “The Novel” blog entry. That will be in the form of the Word Processor count (wp). Any comments of encouragement along the way or questions about that particular topic would be gratefully received.
The novel writing process begins (again) now.