To all the world’s fellow scribes, I’m here to spew forth my heinous truth (while listening to Bryan Adams, so brace yourself, it might affect the prose).
I’m thirty years old, ladies and gentlemen. Not a huge deal, I’m not cro-magnon by any means, in fact the average baby boomer would still refer to me as a young adult, but let’s be honest, I’m ancient compared to the woman I was when I first sat down in front of a typewriter and clicked and clacked my way through a night, just to hear the sound of my own typing. (Yes, I wrote on a typewriter, and when I am brilliantly rich and worshiped I will own an antique one and I vow now to write an entire novel on it…one day – not that I am not worshiped now…and wait, I am already rich. Using the Secret here, Damen und Herren. Try to keep up.) I was maybe ten years old when the tendency to write for the sheer process of it began. I was fifteen by the time I had decided I wanted to be a writer (and rock star actress, but I digress).
Why am I considering all of this now, you ask? Well, because I am 357 pages into my first novel and I am feeling a little overwhelmed. (Yes, I said FIRST! Fifteen years later and I’m finally getting my shit together.)
Now, I feel it imperative to share a few of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve received this year that helped me get this far:
ANDRE DUBUS III
1) Don’t cheat on your novel. Write it until it is done and don’t stray…unless it dies on you, then you’re pretty much fucked. (Not a direct quote. I never quote directly because I’m pompous enough to think I can add something to their wisdom with some sentence enhancers. Like fuck.)
2) Don’t make shit up. Imagine it.
3) Stay the fuck away from outlines. Let the muse lead the story, not some regimented time table of events.
4) Knowing the end before you write it is boring.
Now the only thing I will say I didn’t get from Andre was my work ethic. Andre is a busy guy, a rock star with fantastic feathered hair, a master of the written word and of anecdote, and he has novels that have taken him years to write. Well, I’ve got at least 100 books to write, I don’t have time to take four years per book. (Despite the fact that I will live to be 143 years old.)
My other unexpected mentor (as evidenced here) is Stephen King. Never met the man, feel no need to, but I read his book “On Writing” and as a result I’ve learned to bust ass.
1) Don’t be a fucking slacker. Write everyday, 2000 words. Or 1000 at least.
2) No outlines.
3) If you don’t read you’re a fucking hack and you shouldn’t even pretend to be a writer.
4) You should be pumping out a book every three to five months…. bitches.
(…….my daughter just came in the room doing an interpretive dance to Final Countdown by Europe. How does this five year old woman expect me to concentrate when she’s flooding the room with awesome?)
Anyway, so the point to this tirade – I’ve reached 357 pages of a novel that I thought I knew the end of and I’ve: 1) been tempted to put it aside because another idea wanted my attention, 2) followed blindly, letting the story unfold as it wished, 3) just had an epiphany that completely changes my entire fucking novel and I’m 357 FUCKING PAGES into it. Lesson here?
I have the opposite of fucking writer’s block! The more I write, the more ideas I have, the more inspired I am, the more stories I plan to write NEXT unfold. Now, the story I am in the middle of is veering in a thousand different potential directions and I feel completely terrified, overwhelmed, and awed. Shit is going down and I’ve realized why Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain was always my favorite ride – because not being able to see the dips before you drop makes the feeling of falling all the more fun.
Mmm…alliteration. Join me, won’t you?