Sunday, November 9, 2008

The end of the "novel"

No, I didn't quit. Something far more momentous happened. I realized I am writing a novel. Not a fake novel. Not a faux novel. Not a so-called novel.

And not, as the title above says, a "novel".

Furiously writing away for eight days, it was all fun and games. I was playing, as I've written before.

Today, as I edged towards 23,000 words, I realized that I had nothing more to write about except for the ending. I didn't expect to come up with an ending until it was about to end, but I have. It's a good one, too (I think). After all, I am writing a mystery of sorts. I've said "it's not all that mysterious", but a bit of a surprise hit me the other day and I like it. It'll probably take about 3000 words to write that. Herein lies the problem: what do I do with the rest of the 20,000 words I need to finish this novel?

20,000 words, even though they came easily at first, well, they are looking daunting today. I have an urge to write all afternoon, but I'm stopping myself. I choked this morning when I stepped back and thought of myself as the reader of the fine mess I've gotten myself into, and I said to myself, "If your narrator keeps up this babble for too much longer without some plot twist, you're gonna put the book down and that surprise ending will never be revealed." I usually finish books that I've started reading, but if they get boring and they're mysteries, I'll say "who cares who did it?" and toss them aside.

This was starting to shape up to be one of those. Oh no.

I threw a plot twist in the mix today. It isn't much, but it'll spice it up some. It's nothing to jump up and down about because it's totally plausible. My characters are not allowing me to put anything outrageous in there. This, to me, is a good thing. I'm not telling them what to do. They're telling me.

But it's hard. Right now they're being a bit quiet. That narrator still wants to babble about everything and nothing and I'm saying "shut up".

When I realized I was involved in a small battle and that the last 490 words that I wrote was almost painful, I thought, "Huh. I am really writing a novel".

It doesn't matter if it's good or not. I highly doubt it is. But it has life and maybe a bit of truth about life, too. So, if I wind up with only a chapter of good writing when this crazy adventure is all over, I'll be happy. Well, knowing me, that's not exactly true, but. . .

Image note: I learned to type on a montrosity like this. I think it's a beautiful montrosity, but they are hard to type on.

Seeing this made me realize something important. I usually write with rhythm. Even the keys on my laptop make a sound. This blog entry wasn't written that way, for it's more of a piece of self-reporting (I hesitate to use the word "diary" for some reason).

I know that the novel has its own life simply because of this: the narrator has a different rhythm than I do. I can hear it while I'm writing and it's most recognizable. Perhaps that why I can tell when it's off, and I hesitate, for it's not just the words, but the sound. This blog is called "everything is interesting" but y'know, this is really interesting, to me (that is).

1 comment:

jmcleod76 said...

The Underwood is lovely. I've been wanting one for years. Not that anything has really been stopping me from getting one. Those old typewriters are built like tanks, and not too expensive to procure. My first (and only) antique typewriter is a cute little folding WWI-era Cornoa bought from an "antiques mall" in Beaver Falls PA. Those folding jobbies are really common, but they're cool as hell.