Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 17 - Note from Neil Gaiman

These are some of the most encouraging words I've heard about writing a novel. They're no great surprise in themselves; the surprise, rather, is that NEIL GAIMAN shares the same frustrations as a simpleton such as myself.

Here's part of the letter he sent out to all the NaNoWriMo folks.

By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Tomorrow is a new day.

While doing further research this evening, I seriously considered taking what I've written so far and doing something else with it--continue the writing, of course, but instead of trying to make it be part of an epic I can barely conceive writing, have it be something unrelated. A *gasp* standalone book. Just one book. Not a trilogy. Not two trilogies. Not a twelve-book series. ONE BOOK.

THAT sounds like a plan.

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