I am one chapter away from completing my NaNoWrimo 2012 Novel, and while I am not possessed by the same feelings I had last year, I’m glad it’s almost over. Another novel into the slush pile to be edited and submitted. Which reminds me: I have to chase after a publisher today, because they’ve had my manuscript for six months and I’ve heard nothing from them. Whatcha gonna do, buddy? Let me know, please?
In the mean time, something popped up last night that set my poor brain to thinking. The original meme wouldn’t allow itself to be copied–why, I don’t know–so I just made a copy, because I can:
Okay, Boromir, considering you’ve been telling us what one does not simply do for years, we have to assume you’re the voice of reason. But in this case, I’m going to have to fill your body with arrows once more, and cast your dead ass over the falls, where it will be devoured by fish.
‘Cause you’re wrong.
I’m not trying to do a Chuck on you, because I have a ways to go before I rise to his level of excellence. But if you’ve followed this blog for any period of time, you know I’ve got my opinions, and from time to time I’ll throw them out and see if anything not only sticks, but leaves an odor.
Here’s the thing: writing is easy. It is. Just sit down and do it. Doesn’t have to be a lot; maybe a hundred words–which qualifies as “flash fiction”; maybe five hundred, or a little more–like this blog post; maybe a thousand if you’re feeling good. As I’ve said before, if you write five hundred words a day, you’ll write a novel–
Therein is the kicker.
Writing a novel is a lot like the formula for creating petroleum: dead animals and plants + huge amounts of pressure + lots of time = Black Gold, Texas Tea. You have the same ingredients for a novel: your characters and world are the dead animals and plants you throw into the mix; your plot is the pressure you apply; and time be time, because that’s what you need to not only create a first draft, but polish it into a luster that will blind mere humans.
Wash, rinse repeat: there’s your novel. Pretty simply, huh?
The hard part is doing it every day. That’s where the whole “writing a novel” thing sort of falls apart. Hell, lets go it a few steps further: you have to write it every day, then set time aside to edit it, then edit it again, then give is a nice polish, then find someone to try and publish it. All of that is part of the novel experience.
Oh, and I would say, take one of those and turn it into an ebook, if only because you’ll have to learn the finer arts of formatting (knowing your em-hyphen from your en-hyphen is a gas!), and setting up chapter links, and creating a book cover that doesn’t look like a fluorescent hot mess that your cat hacked up in the corner after a night of eating chipotle hot wings and catnip. It takes time to get right–maybe a couple of days of sitting with a copy of your story and playing the formatting game–but it’s worth it, because it will teach you how to format your story for anything.
Submitting your manuscript is a must, however, because you’ll learn how to create a submission package. While said package can make your bowels churn like you’re preping for a colonoscopy, but you need to push through that angst. Push on through, realize you can do it, and become stronger for the effort. It’s scary, but so is jumping off into the deep end that first time. Then you do it, and hell: it’s so much fun you do it again and again.
One does simply write a novel. And edit it. And polish it. And send it out for the yay or nay to follow. It’s a lot of work, but anything is if you give it enough scrutiny. Maybe times I’ve said writing is a job, and if you take it all the way to the logical end, then it could become a full-time one that gives you more than a feeling of satisfaction that you’ve created something incredible.
If you believe that there is more to writing a novel than gathering your research and proceeding with the steps above–perhaps you’re spending too much time talking about how it isn’t easy to write a novel, and it’s because you’re busy watching TV, or spending time complaining about elections, or just complaining about how hard this whole writing this is for you. It’ll probably do no good to tell you you’re wrong, because you’re already made up your mind–such as it is–and trying to convince you otherwise is likely futile.
So forgive me if I don’t stop by your pity party.
I got a novel to finish.