So one of the things I did when I moved and decided to jump out the window onto the hopefully not-too-hard landing that is this next phase of my life, is I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. Now I’ve attempted this before. I have two finished manuscripts (both written years ago and both of which are really bad if I’m going to be honest with myself), but I wanted to try again. Now, novel writing has always intimidated me, for a couple of reasons:
- I suck at describing scenes- all of that descriptive language that takes up pages and pages and pages and simply describes a house, or a street, or a field–I suck at that. And in a lot of the books I read, I feel like it’s not even necessary. So. What I used to do was try to fill those pages with more dialogue or more discussion about the characters’ feelings–because that is more my forte. I can describe a state of mind or an emotional state until my fingers fall off. But describe a scene? I suck. So at first I tried to avoid it. But that’s not good storytelling. Settings are important and I needed to learn how to write them. Period. But that was just the first reason.
- I’m not good at suspense. I don’t like waiting. I need to know the resolution and I need to know it now. So novel writing is hard for me because I have to build to the climax. I have to wait and I have to make my audience wait. And then when I finally get there, I can’t just fall out in a gratified mess and catch my breath and relive the experience. I STILL have to bring the story back down, reconcile the characters’ lives and wrap it up neatly. There’s still work to be done. Shorts aren’t like that. In shorts, the climax usually is pulled right in to the wrap-up. I do both at once and leave the audience like, “Damnnnnnnnn.” And it’s good. But building a story properly and knowing where to place the arcs and keep the anticipation is hard for me. After a while, I’m bored. And at that point, I HAVE to back away because I know I’m going to bore my audience if I’m boring myself.
So for these reasons, ladies and gentlemen, novel writing is something I just couldn’t bring myself to try again. But when I moved and took the time to focus on writing, I decided it was time to try again. I even had a story ready. I decided to make things slightly easier on myself and just find a short that had an opening to go longer and extend it. I didn’t even call it a novel. I said I was shooting for a novella. I thought that would take the pressure off. What happened you ask? The same damn thing that always happens. I got bored. I am like 1000% better at describing my scenes and I think my readers will be able to tell. But I am bored. I had the entire story planned in my head but now have no inclination to write it. I’m bored with it. I’m mad it hasn’t ended already. Now I know part of this just residue from the fact that I write shorts all the time, but still. Every time I open the document, I sigh. I want to scrap the whole thing, but I’m in so deep. It seems rude not to TRY and finish. But I’m stuck. And so here we are.
I don’t know what I hoped to gain by telling you guys this. I just know that this is the place where I mull things over. So I am here, mulling. I am going to try again. A friend of mine told me it might be better to outline the chapters. Did that. I think I know where it’s going. I just don’t feel like writing it. I even went back and started writing shorts again and have been pretty productive with that. But I know I’m just using them to burrow deeper into my comfort zone, no matter how good they are. And they are pretty good. But I need to finish this novel. I need to prove that I can. And I need to get this story out because I think it’s good. I hope it’s good. I hope one day you guys get to read it. I hope I get to look back and laugh at being stuck. I really do.