Friday, January 7, 2011

It ain't easy, this noveling

Anyone who puts two or more words togehter in some coherent form can realistically call themselves a writer. That said, there is a world of difference between a writer and a Writer. Writer (big w) implies vocation. writer implies hobby. Currently I am a hobbiest writer. I write because I want to rather than for money. Truth be told, I anticipate that changing in the very near future but till then I cannot in good conscience capitalize my title.

That brings me to this. Since I am a non-professional, I find myself writing when I have time, crafting small works in between coffee breaks and focusing on the quick payoff for a single sitting. That precludes me from getting involved in a long term project such as a novel, since I just haven't got the time to sit on the same egg for that long. That I have nothing better to do is immaterial. I am not on the clock for this so the time I would spend bridging the plot between chapters 5 and 9 can be way better spent. But I've decided that since this is the year I make the point to get serious about this writing thing, serious enough to capitalize it, now is the time to start treating this as a profession. I hope that I don't rob myself of my motivation in the process. Right now, I write because I have to. It's not a "I need to make this month's rent..." need. It's closer an "I need to keep breathing..." need.
If you have anything you are compelled to do, you might share this feeling. If there is nothing that completely overtakes your thoughts then you may not understand. I have ideas, you see. They start small. "A guy with a broken heart." I sprinkle in a reason, "His girl left him." and toss in a plot, "She stole all his money and ran off with his brother." and I have a story. Most writers operate this way. I add in the fact that I have a natural afinity for conversation. I can hear the thoughts of the guy "How could she do this? How could HE do this? I just loaned that bastard $1000 for his mortgage." and I have a story in the span of time it took YOU to decide whether to stop at Jack in the Box or Burger King.
I'm not saying this to brag. Hell, sometimes I wish it were otherwise. It's like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, I just GET it. It comes as naturally to me as pulling my hand from a burning stove. I find my need to write is entirely reflexive, and sometimes my natural narrative reflects that. but the structure involved to craft a novel sometimes flies in teh face of this freewheeling natural talent. You are forced to think three or six chapters ahead. You are forced to plant plot twists, to foreshadow, to extablish backstories. A lot of times, what comes as a completely natural flow of words dies on the page the second a writer attempts to dissect it this way. I have had it happen to me. I have started a project (many times) with an uncontrolable flow of words and ideas only to have them all wilt before my eyes the second I move one of them out of place.
This is the curse of writing a novel for me at any rate. Every writer wants to write a novel. They feel it justifies their existance. I'll not lie when I tell you personally that I feel that writing a novel means I will sell it also. There is a certain anticipation of monetary gain behind the motivation I feel when layering words onto this page as I do. The curse part comes when they take their innocent idea and attempt to attach modify and augment what is there to make it fit the format. Some stories are just supposed to be short. Some need additional narrative to explain the motivations, but if it only needs 200 words, then dammit, just write 200 words.

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