Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Here we are, a week left in the month, and I have written just under 20,000 words. It’s not looking good for my first novel getting finished within the allotted thirty days. But I have learned some interesting things:

Writing 1500 words a day on different subjects is very different from attempting to cobble together one continuous story. I like short essays as a format, maybe because my attention span is …what did you say?

It is very, very hard to write without editing. As in so many other areas in life, I have strong opinions about fiction, particularly that it needs to have shape and composition, and I have trouble looking at a draft without wanting to spiff it up. A little control happy, did you say?

Next time I undertake a piece of fiction, I will not give my heroine so much of my life. I stalled a couple of weeks ago when she had to relive some not so comfortable aspects of my life. The experience was not so much therapeutic as painful, not so much artistic as simply distracting.

Fiction is different from essay. I didn’t expect to like it, but I do. Essay is like conversation. Fiction is like playtime. Let’s build a fort. Let’s make poison out of dead leaves and give it to little brother. Let’s make up stories about the old lady next door, then kill her off. And like playtime, the more active the game, the more fun.

I have printed everything out. Chapters 1 through 15 plus 11a and 11b. Chapters A through G. Now I will spread it all out and figure out if I have anything. I really have nothing to lose.

There might be the kernel of a reasonable novella even if I don’t reach the magic 50,000 words. It might be a novel even if it doesn’t get finished by November 30. And even if there’s nothing there, this has already been a kick. Next year, maybe a murder mystery….

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