Saturday, December 5, 2009
Are you Insecure? Writing a Novel
Me too! Me too!
I'd stretching the last few years and I'm trying to write a novel. I'm much more comfortable writing poetry. And if you'll excuse the conceit, I'm a decent poet. Not startling great but decent.
Novel writing is not natural for me but it something I really want to do, at least once. After a few slow starts, I found a story that seems to appeal to readers and appeals to me. But I'm so insecure about novel writing, I hamper myself.
My workshop reviews tie me up in knots for hours. I start to wonder if I'm kidding myself. Maybe I'm not meant to write a book. Maybe the story is idiotic. It's not a traditional book. I'm not a traditional girl. But maybe I went to far down the wrong path?
I get overwhelmed. I don't know what do half the time.
Part is my concept. The book I'm writing is an grown-up adventure story. Each chapter starts with a hook and ends with a hook, much like a child's adventure book.
The larger plot is very loose, the adventure is more important than the destination. Once again, this is not how most books work.
Plus it's first person and the narrator is unreliable. The reader can't always trust her perceptions. It's like being on a roller coaster run by an eight year old hyped on sugar.
My whole concept hinges on voice. The voice of the narrator has to carry it all. But people want explanations. They want everything to be boxed off and clear and concise. But I don't think this book will ever be completely normal. But does that mean it won't be satisfying?
I really don't know.
I have tense problems. That I can fix.
The mis-spellings I can fix.
But when you're doing something new, how can you trust someone on plot? I may be wrong. What I'm doing may not work in the long run. I may never find a publisher.
But I want to finish.
I'm so afraid of failing. Of being a disappointment to my readers, I find myself not writing. Which is worse?
What do I do?
When you don't know how to dance and people give you conflicting instructions? Who do yo listen to? Or do you set down on the dance floor and just cry?
I know the book has moments when it works. I'm not lying to myself there but is that enough? If you can't give the reader the whole meal, should you even bother with the appetizer.
I don't want to fail.
But I feel like such a loser. I keep losing the voice. The character keeps going silent on me.
I feel like I'm writing underwater and all the lines are blurred.
Did I use enough metaphors here? Hah.
I'm not one of those novel writers who lives for my novel. It's not my life's blood, poetry is that for me. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe that's it. Maybe I don't love it enough.
Maybe you need to be in love with your novel.
I don't know.
I'm making myself finish this. I will write this novel.
If only to tell myself that I can write one.
But it shouldn't be this hard.
Maybe I am a failure.
I don't know.
Tomorrow is another day and another chapter.