Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 1

I've already concluded that writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is likely to cause severe mental illness. Not a good way to start the month.

Consider, though, that it took me 5 months to write a short story, 22 pages long with a total of 7,000 words. It took that long, in part, due to a crisis of competence. The first 2/3 of the short story was a "setup" to the conclusion, and there was a bit of a mystery (not Agatha Christie; rather, a sense that something wasn't right) to it. I didn't believe that I was clever enough to pull it off, and I allowed that fear to keep me from completing it. It started from a simple exercise in my first class with The Story Studio.

In my second class with The Story Studio, I chose to "workshop" that short story so as to force myself to finish it, and I told my classmates upfront about my crisis of confidence (CoC). I still had a crisis of competence, however, because I truly doubted my ability to do the story justice. (I've come to realize that this so-called crisis of competence [CoC] is what has kept me from completing anything I've tried to write.)

Well, I did finish the story, and we reviewed my final draft in class last night. Everyone was shocked - nobody picked up on where I was going, so the ending was a complete surprise to them. What made me feel good about that is that they've known from the beginning that there's an underlying "mystery" to the story, and even going in with that knowledge, they didn't figure it out until the very end. Several mentioned that I had a publishable story. The reaction from my classmates (I won't bother you with all of their comments) was incredibly uplifting, and, at least until 6am this morning, went a long way to knocking my CoC silly.

So it's 7:42 AM. I'll be making a decision on what I'm going to write. I have a few possibilities.

  1. The "adult" fantasy, The Blood of the Arjanes
  2. YA Fantasy, The Attic Hag
  3. YA Fantasy, A Parlous Deception
  4. Using the short story I finished for class and expanding on it
I've been up since 6am, far too early for me. But when my eyes opened, my mind started racing with the possibilities of the choice I have to make, and make soon, and any grogginess was swept away as if I'd had eight cups of coffee. My body is still tired, but try telling my mind that! It won't listen, and insists that it is stimulated.

My plan is to start writing the first book of The Blood of the Arjanes (no title yet) and see where that takes me. If it clicks with me, then I'll probably stay with that. If it doesn't, then I'll try The Attic Hag, and so on. One of the above four has to work. (It has to!) If nothing clicks, then I'll just do what other people taking part in this have done - wing it. Start with absolutely nothing, and just write.

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