Friday, September 23, 2005

The Novelist Thing

There have been many times during the writing of this book when I have thought that my worst fear about my writer self may turn out to be true. I may not be cracked up to be a novelist.

As I've mentioned before, my book has many short stories woven in with the primary story. Not just subplots (in fact, not subplots at all) but complete, chapter length stories. These stories are the only kind of fiction I'd ever written up until I started the book, and it was always been my deep dark worry that I couldn't write something longer than fifteen or twenty pages. As I've been trudging through the middle of this book, where each page has required grand effort, I've heard a little voice telling me that there's a reason why it's not coming easily. The voice speaks a little louder whenever it's time to start one of the new short stories within the story. The voice screams: "Look how happy you are to be starting this next little diversion! Look how fun this is!" And I have to admit that the voice is right. It DOES make me happy to write those little bits. It IS fun. And maybe that means I can't do the bigger story, and I'm not ever going to be a novel writer.

Or maybe it just means that writing a novel is harder for me than writing short stories, which I've been doing since I was seven. Imagine that.

A & I have another wedding tomorrow. Photos to come next week.


Anonymous said...

And what delightful short stories they were, even at age seven! I've always loved your writing, and I love it now on this blog site.

Glad you have another wedding to do.


Doug Worgul said...

Hemingway, Irving, Ford, Buechner, Harrison, and on, and on, would all tell you that novels aren't easy to write, no matter how many you've already written. I'm just guessing here, but the first one is probably the hardest.

Also, if you know that you're going somewhere by writing these smaller stories and stringing them together, well, that's as good a way of creating a novel as any.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Danielle said...

Looking forward to more photos! And keep trudging through with your writing. I know exactly what you mean. I've been working on the same story since I was 13 (and I'm 27 now). It's not even that long. I started writing stories about my grandmother's childhood when she was still alive and I wrote it as a novel (because I had to make up a good bit to fill in the loose ends). Then I wrote a memoir in college about my relationship with my grandmother. The final stage has been extensive rewriting and a merge of the two previous versions into one. For a while it seemed like it would never work. I was dealing with two different "voices" (mine and then my grandmother's in first-person) and I thought it was too confusing. But I think it finally hangs together well, but, you know I'm still editing it. All that to say don't give up!!

Zoanna said...

Keep at it, both of you young ladies. I'm sure the first field every farmer has planted started with clods, weeds, and voices of "this ain't gonna work." But I've never known a farmer to plow one day, plant the second, and harvest the third. Yet every farmer I've talked to has said it's very gratifying to watch the process of growth. The harvest after much patient effort (not just sitting back wishfully thinking) is that much sweeter.
Thank God for Grandmas. They make wondeful "material" for writing about! You've made me want to write about my own grandmas.

Claire said...

I think you're training yourself to write the big book. Once you've done tihs one the second one may well come much easier! I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic novel!

Norma said...

I don't know what you're writing since this is my first visit, but I took a look at your photography page. You have a well-written mission statement--if the book has that beauty and clarity, it should be good.