You’re writing a novel? Me too.
Look, I’m no James Joyce or Stephen King. I’ve had a few stories published and my first novel comes out this year, but I’m still “fresh” to the writing world. However, with even this tiny bit of success I suddenly find people—from my daughter, to a guy in Toronto I don’t even know—asking me a question that I never got before: How do you write a story?
I think this question comes from my belief that we are all, every one of us, storytellers at heart. We like to tell our partner about that flicker we heard, then saw, on the neighbour metal roof vent and how silly but clever that adaptation must be if you are trying to attract attention for a mate. We like to complain to our neighbour about the lady who was ahead of us at the drive-in burger place, the one who took twenty minutes deciding what to order and then ordered six milkshakes (each of which takes forever to prepare) so that, somehow, we once again picked the slowest line even though it was the shortest line when we chose to stand in it. Even if we never intended to set pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard), it is (I think) fundamental to human nature that we, at least occasionally, want an audience with whom to share our experiences along the winding road that we travel in our life.
So in this blog, my intention is to talk about writing a novella/novel…and then do it. We’ll talk about the process of writing and each entry will include a section of a novel that I will write. You can join me if you’d like.
I will post a discussion of what I’m trying to do with the piece I will then write (I suggest you do the same, ie, write something) and see how we go. Our focus will be on seeing if we can sort out an answer to that question. If we’re lucky, at the end of this blog we’ll all have a manuscript to work on and, just maybe, share with your partner, neighbour or, if you are really bold, someone in the publishing industry. It’ll be kind of a writing-course-cum-writing-group. I’ll post what I’ve written. Some of it will work, some of it might not. But here’s the thing: it will all be written with intention. We will have an intentionality that will keep us focussed. That question—how do you write a story?—will keep us focussed.
If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll have a separate space to have the whole manuscript build up beside the blog. I think that will keep us grounded in the story as a whole even as we focus on tiny increments. I envision this being a discussion. So if you have comments or thoughts or just an emoji to share, that’s great! We won’t dictate any set “rules” as to what the story should be about, or how long it should be, or even what language it gets written in. The only commitment we’ll make is to have a weekly post with an accompanying story text so that we stay a little bit focussed (I think weekly is doable. Days will come along where no writing gets done, but we should all be able to get some sort of writing done each week, don’t you think?).
Anyway, that’s the plan. And the good part of it being a blog is, you can join anytime and leave anytime. You can sign up for a weekly email with the blog content in it, or you can just drop by whenever you feel like it because it’ll all be right here on my website whenever you have a few moments.
I think this will be fun!
P.S. Want more tips on writing a novel? Check out every post in this series here.