Hawking Up Hairballs

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Novel

I've pretty much finished my novel, Buster Bungle's Big Top. I'm going to let it rest for a few weeks, then go through it one more time before sending it out into the world. I don't really know what I'll do in terms of publication. I have a number of options, none of them good, but I haven't really studied any of them in detail.

It took a long time for me to write this novel, over five years. That was mostly due to my own personal failings. I haven't written consistently at all. Back when I was writing a lot of poetry, some thirty years ago, I really worked at it. I wrote every day, and without really having to make myself sit down to it. Having failed to find the kind of success that I would have liked, it's now difficult to maintain a positive mind set and keep my nose to the grindstone.

However, it wasn't just a failure to work consistently that made it take so long. My way of working also hurt me. Instead of spending a few months thinking about my characters and how they would interact, I dove right in and started writing. That might make sense for some people, but not for me. I tend to be a brooder by nature. I chew things over.

As a result, it took me six complete drafts before I had something with which I was satisfied. Given that I'm a meticulous writer, those six drafts took a long time to complete. I shouldn't have had to go through that many, but in the early drafts I didn't really understand what I was trying to do because I hadn't spent any time with my characters. It's hurt the final product too. Though I'm satisfied with my novel, if not thoroughly pleased, I can't escape the feeling that it would have been better if I'd done more prep work before I started writing.

I've already started in on another novel, though I've yet to write a word of it as such. I'm making notes and writing sketches, most of which will never appear in the actual novel. As a result, a plot has begun to emerge. I now know how I want the story to end, but I'm not yet sure how to get there. I figure it will take me a few more months of preliminary work before I'm ready to begin writing. I hope to bang out a rough draft first. I want to get the story down without worrying about the language. Then I'll do a serious draft, allowing myself to dwell on the prose. In this way, I hope to have something with which I'm pleased after a single, serious draft.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My god man you are wasting your time with novels! Don't you know that the memoir comes first! And then more memoirs to tell the world how your first memoir affected you!

W in PDX

7:19 PM  

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