Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I need to finish a novel -- let's do it together, one tiny step at a time.

Unless someone asks me to write a blog, I've been extremely reticent about doing it. I worry about the daily obligation. I worry about any daily obligation. Perhaps that is the reason I want to do this. 

Although I have written and published a novel with William Morrow, I still deplore my work habits. And I'm sick of it. Have I tried the novel writing month? Yes, sort of. That didn't do it for me. Pure speed didn't turn out to be my method. What I hope to employ here is more of a "slow and steady wins the race" model. Not too slow, but very steady. 

And there's another important part of this, and that is that we're going to write not only a draft, but we're going to go through at least one rewrite. Maybe more. Together.

Think of this as you might a modern version of John Steinbeck's JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: the East of Eden Letters. Of  course, I'm no John Steinbeck and would never claim to be. (You'll will find my self-deprecating humor -- I hope, throughout.) I'm always interested in what makes writers tick, and I recommend that book -- as I will likely recommend many others since I am a writing book junky. I'm also addicted to books on organization, but that's not relevant -- yet.

I will be writing about the process, helping to lead whoever wants to go on this journey with me through the sometimes lonely, often labyrinthine process of writing a long piece.

I have been leading the Monday Night Fiction Workshop at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California for three plus years. This year, I instituted the 250 word a day challenge. We were all astounded by the what it did for us, creatively and even psychologically. I did it because that's what I needed for myself. I needed the support of the group to write fresh material every day. Otherwise, I could be contemplating the navel of endless edits of my current work eternally (how do you like that for alliteration?)

So now for the math -- and if I get it wrong -- don't tell me -- okay, tell me. 
80,000 words. We are writing a full novel, not a novella or novelette. After the first draft process, you should have plenty of words and pages to work with. I recommend 500 words a day -- or two sessions of 250 which is so unobtrusive you could do it in the bath, The idea is that the entire process will take less than a year. We'll write the first draft in approximately six months.

We'll start on April 15, 2015. You don't have to do anything to join. No payment. You might want to write comments on this blog. We'll all be interested to see how we all are doing. My role is much the same as it is in class every Monday -- to lead and encourage and offer the few tricks of the trade as we go along.

I am choosing a subject I will pretend not to care too much about because that's how I can make myself do it. If I put too much pressure on myself, I'm toast. And the thing is -- I don't think it matters whether you think you are writing the great American novel or the next piece of pulp that will be devoured on the beach. It's just a belief. You don't know how it will turn out. Use the mindset that will help to get it done. For me, it is to not take myself too seriously. You  may need to believe that the world will cease spinning if your voice is not heard.

Our watchwords: WHATEVER WORKS

Also, don't expect these blog entries to be edited and pondered over. I have other things to do -- like write 500 words a day and clean my tub.


  1. I'm in the midst of copy edits on my current novel but this would be a good time for me to start on the next book in my series. So I'm in!

  2. I'm shaking in my boots but thinking about taking them off.baby (premie baby) steps....

  3. Cool. Well, at least we have a few days to work up to it. Part of me is looking forward to it. A big part, I think.

  4. Yeaah!! I'm so excited to get started! Ive always wanted to do a collaboration project! --Maya

  5. We will each be working on our own projects, but we'll be cheering each other on and helping each other out.