21 February 2007

Writing about....writing.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about writers. Biographies, profiles, and such of folks who are honest to goodness published authors. So many of them state unequivocally; “I always wanted to be a writer.” Plus blah blah blah about how they wrote books as kids, majored in English in college, did “creative writing” classes out the wazoo.

Here’s the thing. I’m working on a novel of my own, but I never wanted to necessarily write the great American novel. I’ve been a READER my whole life, someone who loves to read, a bibliophile, since I was perhaps 4. I never had plans, really, to write a book…I’d much rather read one. The writing of MY novel grew out of the frustration that I’ve not been able to find much lately that I enjoyed reading. I hardly think I’m going to set the world on fire with my little story. Still no delusions about writing the great American novel.

And of course, since I have a business degree, I’ve really got no earthly idea just how to go about writing a novel. Storyboarding, what’s that? But what began as a short story has grown into roughly 100 pages, and the fun I’m having working on it more than makes up for the fact that I don’t think it is really publishable. Not in its current format, anyway. Publishers choose books to print based on saleability, not really the fact that something is well written or poorly written. Publishers, after all, are in business primarily to make money, not to share great works of literature with the masses. Those are called LIBRARIES, y’all.

I don’t want to share the story just yet. At least, I don’t think I do. I’m on the fence about that right now. I’ve talked to DH about it, but in yet another staggering bit of proof that opposites attract, DH isn’t a reader at all. Although he’s interested in what I’m working on, he’s not gung-ho to read it. I think he’d almost rather gouge out one of his own eyes than sit down to read one of the classics.

The more I work on it, though, the more I want to TALK about it, and talking about it is tough if I haven’t shared it with anyone. I’ve also been entertaining ridiculous fantasies of book tours and interviews with the press asking the silly questions they always ask authors…”How much of the main character is YOU?” (She isn’t much like me, being practiced at deception and hiding things from people, but yeah, we share some traits. She’s blonde.) “What does your mother think of the sex scenes?” (Ummm, I’ll get back to ya on that one. I imagine she will be proud and horrified, in equal measures. Proud that I’ve written a novel and horrified that I am pretty graphic.) “Where did the genesis of this story come from?” (I’ve always used my imagination to dispel boredom, to help myself relax, to entertain myself, and the love story part of it was initially just a fantasy.) “Is the lover’s character based on anyone?” (Not really. Not exactly. I don’t know. Maybe. Yes? An amalgamation of many different people, but disguised so that they hopefully wouldn’t recognize themselves. I know who I’d like to have the lover played by in a movie….and talk about premature and fantasies, I’m not even done writing the book yet!)

And the more I re-read it, as an ongoing effort to make sure that I haven’t made a bunch of mistakes, such as describing a room as pink and then later saying it is red, the more I think maybe it is total crap. The typical writer’s paranoia that nothing they do is any good. Even L.M. Montgomery, a Victorian era writer, wrote about 2 AM doubts and fears that her work was crappola. She wrote a little series you might have heard of, called the “Anne of Green Gables” books. Seven or eight of them in all. Plus another series known to fans as “The Emily Books”. LM’s stuff has been translated into 36 languages, and when I discovered them in the 1980s, they were enjoying a resurgence due to a PBS miniseries.

Really, I don’t know what to do about the whole mess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let someone read it. That will get you past the whole fear of "what if someone reads it and thinks it's crap" part, and then you can concentrate on actually writing and not worrying about whether or not it's good.


You're inspiring me to try blotting up some paper, too!