March 19th, 2010

Mask

The Novel

Writing this novel is a lot like my 365 Days project. It's mostly about persistence. Moving forward even when I don't know exactly what's happening next, or I'm not thrilled with a scene or whatever - just moving forward, putting words down, creating my story, answering that first question - what happens next?

I have this failing that's always held me up before - the idea that I want something to be perfect before I'm done. In the past, this has kept me from actually completing longer projects. Now I've put aside the desire to be perfect, and I'm attaching myself more firmly to the desire to be finished. Whenever I hear that editors voice, I just push it off and away - later, later. The only question I ask myself now is "What Happens Next?" This new tact has resulted in more words on a single story than I've ever written before. I did write a novella for my Masters, but I've exceeded my last word count, and I'm now in new, novel territory.

Yes, I will edit the fuck out of this later. But it has to be a finished product before I can evaluate it. I need to see the whole thing, to read it all, before I can say "This works" and "This doesn't".

There were a lot of days, in my 365 Days project, that I didn't feel like taking a self portrait. I was sick, or just uninspired, or out of decent ideas, or busy, or just plain old tired. And some days I would take a photo when I didn't feel like it and I wouldn't like the result. But other days, I'd take a photo when I didn't feel like it and it would turn out to be one of my favorites.

I had an experience like that over the weekend, writing an action sequence. I wasn't very excited about this sequence, it wasn't clear in my head and what I imagined seemed boring. But then I started writing, and things started happening, ideas started coming, and the scene I ended with delights me.

If I had simply said "Eh, no good ideas" that scene would have never happened - and that would be a shame. The act of doing has such deep rewards.