I began writing professionally in 1969.
Since that time I have covered governors and presidents and written thousands of articles as a journalist, helped a state launch its energy conservation office back in the Seventies, written tons of video scripts for various public and private clients, pioneered the interactive touch screen video industry, and won a bunch of awards for writing, video producing, and what not. And knocked off a few mystery novels and short stories.
So what, you may ask, were the most exciting words I ever wrote?
They came at the conclusion of draft one of my first completed novel, WATER: A Vic Bengston Investigation.
Seven drafts later and the mystery novel was published.
But wrapping that first draft was the really exciting part.
Those two words, THE END, said, hey, I do can do this. Then I corrected myself and said, hey, you did it!
Well, you can do it too.
I had thought about writing novels my entire writing life. Why did it take until I hit my Sixties until it actually happened?
We writers tend to talk ourselves out of things instead of into things. I do not know enough about plot. I cannot fully develop a character. Is my dialog stilted? I do not know what to write about. How can I beat Michenor, Vonnegut, or fill in the blank? No one will like this. My writing is not all that good.
We have all sorts of reasons for not writing that novel, even though we want to write one.
So listen to one voice, yours, and one desire, I want to write a novel.
The great fantasy and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury shared his adventure to New York when he was young and holding a sheaf full of short stories he had written — short stories about Mars. He tried to sell them individually and did not have much luck. Then an editor suggested he put them together, edit them a bit, and BAM!
He had a novel, The Martian Chronicles.
Ray Bradbury wrote one of his best novels, and he did not even realize it.
Because he wrote it in chunks, in this case, short stories.
One thing that deterred me from writing novels earlier in my career was the sheer size of the finished product. I kept looking at finished books in my library and just kept letting their finished lengths psyche me out.
Dumb. Writing is putting one word down at a time. Novels are no different.
Here is what I have pasted onto my computer screen in my office, “A Novel is 200 words. Every day. For one year.”
Next, we will look at chinking down the project in You can write that novel — Part II.