I have this idea for a novel. Five main characters sketched out, though I may kill off one or two, or save them for another play. Plenty of minor characters. A plan for how to get everyone out of their houses and talking to each other. I know roughly what the end looks like, and some of the ways everyone will arrive there.

Here’s the problem: I LOVE short form. Bullet points. Haiku. Flash. I love tightening up my prose almost as much as writing it in the first place. “Put every word on trial for its life,” as Francine Prose says in Reading Like a Writer. (I did it again! I just changed “would say” to “says.”) I edit along the way, always have. I will inevitably crack up one of these days; it’s a family tradition. But attempting a novel might bring on the crazy prematurely.

How can I just write– just get the story out, and worry about editing later? Is there a computer command that would disallow backspacing?

I thought of switching to paper and pen. Hmm… Still mulling. NaNoWriMo? I don’t want to wait until November. Hire someone to punish me if I don’t produce a satisfactory word count? I’m too old to spank. Wouldn’t take it seriously.

Maybe the bigger question is: what am I afraid of? Fear is nearly always to blame for procrastination. Am I worried my comic relief character won’t be funny? That the romance will fall flat? The fight will seem staged, the end contrived?

Is it fear of rejection… or acceptance? Ooh, that’s deep.

At the end of the day (cliché) I need to just do it. I’d rather be 40 with a crap novel under my belt than 40 without it. John Dufresne wrote a book, Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months. I’m going to check it out.


3 thoughts on “Questions”

  1. I was just browsing blogs about writing when I cam across yours. I’m using John Dufresne’s book to write my first novel! I’m in the 3rd week. You should definitely check it out. I’m loving the exercises. I’m a poet who has always wanted to write a novel, so I can relate to your love for short forms.


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