Sometimes I swear to God despite the fact I have an MFA and I have been reading since I was this big I still don’t think I know how to write a novel. Or rather, perhaps I don’t understand how to construct one. I am in the messy messy middle of my novel – SMACK DAB in the middle of my novel- and it seems I’ve gone all free form, forgetting the elements that should go into scenes and chapters. I concluded Chapter 10 KNOWING it wasn’t finished but I didn’t know what else to put into it and had to move on. Okay, wait. Let me do this formally:
Novel Writing: At this point the process is just so, so weird! It turns out all the outlining and plotting I did, while beneficial in the beginning, hasn’t really helped the middle. New characters have cropped up, and situations I was certain would be pivotal months ago I know consider trite. It’s interesting to me all the different phases of writing a novel. In the beginning I was terribly serious about my plot, putting only into each chapter what I had planned to. Somewhere around chapter four I really began to find the voice of the novel and wrote a few chapters that were pure fun. Then writing the novel became very methodical for a bit, like cleaning the bathroom or loading wood. Now it’s all a mess and I’m just going crazy and my characters keep going crazy and it’s pure MESS. After this blog post I’m going to take a few minutes and try and plot out what should come in the next few chapters but I have to be honest, every time I return to outlining my brain freezes and I start wondering what I should have for lunch. As for a specific goal for the upcoming week? I guess I either hope to start chapter 11 or start the research for chapter 11, depending on what I decide in a few minutes.
Blogging: I do believe I am returning to my rhythm…it might resume normalcy before October. I do wish I had more time for blogging and reading blogs but I don’t so I might as well not even go there.
Work Writing: I’m feeling somewhat better about the work I am producing right now. I think I’m getting a handle on the job after 6 months and learning that it’s as much about management, attending meetings, being a team player, etc. as it is about my writing, unlike my last job. For instance we recently completed round one of crisis training and it was so cool. I have to stop worrying so much about my “creative process” at work and save that for my novel.
Nonfiction: Not much happening here now but I DO have several ideas for when the first draft of my novel is complete.
Reading: I do not know what is wrong with me but I am the world’s slowest reader anymore! And I actually went two weeks without reading anything but the old New Yorkers we have around the house. Fortunately I do think Larry McMurtry’s By Sorrow’s River, the third in the BerryBender series, will help me break out of my slump. Just a great, great series.
Okay. I’m off to see if I can spend some time making sense of the second act of my novel, and then I have to pack as S. and I leave this afternoon for my mom’s 60th birthday celebration. More next week!