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Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Get Your Novel On

I clearly will not be the first DC-based blogger to illuminate the fact that this is National Novel Writing Month, but I might just be the first to admit that although I desperately want to participate, I have no fraking clue how to go about the endeavor. I've been wanting to write a novel since forever, possibly before birth. I spent my childhood creating zany short stories which eventually morphed into semi-funny spoken word acts created to express my teenaged angst. The most notable of these fabrications was "Shelly the Waitress," who would emerge every so often at home when my parents would politely ask me to clear the table after dinner. Shelly snapped imaginary gum, spoke in what I believed to be a Southern accent, and had quite the 'tude for being the creation of a very white 14 year old girl. Shelly was impatient. Shelly was world-weary. Above all, Shelly didn't want to take any crap from elder figures fussing about having uncleared dinner plates sitting in front of them. It's amazing that my Shelly impersonations didn't get me sent directly to my room for impudence, and that my parents graciously accepted them for what they were--the acts of an otherwise horrifyingly well adjusted young woman acting out a little teenaged frustration towards "the rules." Besides, Shelly was nothing if not amusing, and I think my parents, being the types to nurture my creative side, didn't want to put a damper on my self expression. Whereas my peers found my dry sense of humor and occasional tendency towards drama confusing and a bit weird, my parents thought these traits made for a highly entertaining dinner companionship.

I'm not sure why, but this tendency towards the fictitious eventually petered out. I got into photography. I got especially into getting the frak out of high school and applying for college. Once at college I became too saturated with college life and a new compulsion to test out various identities that it didn't even occur to me to write. Plus, as a Humanities student I was writing many, many looooooooooooooong papers a term and didn't feel much like tinkering with words in my spare time.

So now I essentially write for a living and consider myself a writer (mainly for trade publications and marketing materials) and I have this terrific blog that I am completely dedicated to although it is essentially about nothing. In a way, HP is my adult manifestation of Shelly, a persona I slip into whenever something arises in my life that I need to vent about. Like Shelly, it communicates my thoughts, but in a form more audacious and witty than I can ever manage in real time. And yet, I still feel as if I am sliding farther and farther away from fiction with each entry. Although I want to write a novel more than anything, I have no idea how to start. I know I can draw from personal experience, but the possibilities on how to order events, which events to base things off of, how to create characters is a dizzying prospect to say the least. I've read a million and a half chick-lit books and know I could give at least a fraction of them a run for their money, but what I possess in talent I lack in direction.

How on earth does one possibly write a novel?

3 Comments:

Blogger Lickety Split said...

"a persona I slip into whenever something arises in my life that I need to vent about"

While this may be true on some level, the substance behind this blog (I feel) comes from the depth of intellect, character, creativity and personality of YOU...which is why this is the blog equivalent of "must see TV" for me on a daily basis.

Blog on beautiful.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

The same way one eats an elephant...

=-)

1:47 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

yeah. i was considering that same question. a few people i know are thinking of writing a novel. i was thinking that since i used to write 3k word mag. articles that's like 6% of a novel....

still, it's a daunting type of challenge for one month. good luck.

1:48 AM  

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