Last year I had the goal of publishing my ‘self-destruct’ book, Ruin Your Life. I had worked on it long enough and really wanted to have that little project completed. And now that it is (And you can buy it or download it for free by clicking the ‘Ruin Your Life’ tab above. Shameless plug over.), I’m working on the project for 2008: Write a novel.
Sure, I’ve written a book, some short stories, even a few feature length screenplays, but I’ve always specifically avoided the novel. My writing tends to be very terse and very dense. I’m not one for a lot of exposition or description. I’ve written short stories that would probably be full novels in another writer’s hands. So putting together a novel is going to be a bit of a trick for me.
And that’s why I want to do it. I’m not someone who wants to make something and then make a career out of selling variations of that same something. I’m not Kevin Smith (not that I don’t like Kevin Smith, but do you want to bet on whether or not his next movie will have a dick joke in it?). It’s not that I think of myself as some incredible creator who has to keep challenging himself to make new art. That’s not me either. It’s just that I tend to get bored with doing the same thing all the time so I like to switch it up a little.
I’m not going into this novel thing blind though. I won’t be spending a bunch of time starring at a blank computer screen. The key to writing anything of a good length and quality is having done the preparation for it. I wrote the first draft of one of my screenplays in six days. It’s not that I write fast, it’s that I spent the previous three months working on character profiles and plot outlines and scene descriptions. I knew the story inside and out. All I had to do was write it.
When I was younger, my favorite thing about writing stories was not knowing where they would go. I’d write something and while I was writing it, I’d come up with something that would surprise me. I loved that. So it took me a while to warm up to the idea of outlining. It wasn’t until I started outlining things that I realized that there were surprises and I was still having just as much fun.
That’s the most important part if you ask me. Sure, it’s great if you can make a few bucks off your writing, but if you don’t enjoy writing, you shouldn’t do it. Sure, I hope I can find a publisher for my novel once it’s done. And if you buy a copy, that’s great, but right now, I’m working on it because it’s one of my favorite things to do.