Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Novel Idea

I did it- I started a book. I’ve attempted this before, but kept losing my crayons.

Just kidding, couldn’t pass that up.

Seriously though,November is National Write a Novel Month. This is a program developed by a guy in Oakland, CA- near my old stomping grounds.

The purpose is to get people writing- about anything. To put what’s in your head down on paper.

I think this is a great idea. I feel that most everybody has a story in them. It could be a biography, humor, romance, or horror story.

The problem isn’t if the story’s there, but how to get it out of your head and onto the page.

That’s where the big problem is for most, and why I feel that this National Write a Novel Month is such a good idea.

Even if no one ever reads what you write, the process of developing an idea, character, or event into a story, transforming that story into a coherent piece and taking the time to put it to paper is a great exercise.

I started to write this blog thing as an exercise to help me be a better communicator- My friend Steve (Lunatic Fringe Report) and I would talk for hours about story ideas, books we’ve read, movies we’ve seen and would often say “we could have done better” or “if I wrote that I would have..” and many times our ideas were actually better.

I know what your thinking- everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor, everyone thinks that they can dance, their dog is the cutest, their children are the smartest, and everyone thinks they can write a novel.

Well, I know I can’t dance and I have no kids, but Chuck is the cutest dog ever and how will I ever know if I can write unless I try?

Two years ago if somebody told me that people would log onto my blog and actually read what I wrote, I would have laughed in their face.

But I have gotten comments and e-mails from people I’ve never met, who live all over the world, who actually read what I type- and I in turn, have read some really interesting stories, thoughts, and some hilarious rants from people in various parts of this and other counties-I’ve seen some amazing photography and heard some great music from people like me who are expressing themselves and stretching their creative wings.

So I started it. Will I finish it in a month? Probably not. Will it be any good? Who knows- but I won’t know unless I try.

Like I said, I’ve tried this before. I have several collections of short stories, a partial screen play, and a couple of would be novels on my hard drive.

I have tried several different approaches to writing.

The first consisted of getting the creative juices flowing- this was done by having many other juices, primarily bourbon, flowing first.

I’m pretty confident that if I were to find, then decipher my lost collection of bar napkins, I could give Hemingway a run for his money. I have no idea what they were, but remember some very profound words written on coasters as well.

Many long and fuzzy nights later, I realized that ideas came to me even when not accompanied by ice cubes, so I decided to carry a little tape recorder with me every where I went. That way, when these little pearls of creativity popped into my head, usually while stuck in traffic, I could simply turn on the recorder and let the words flow.

Unfortunately I would sometimes forget to turn it off- one tape I remember started out “it was 9 am when I walked into the bar, my eyes slowly adjusting to the smoke and darkness inside. There she was- alone in a corner booth, nursing what I’d bet wasn’t her first of the day. I approached her slowly and…..hey this is a cool song” followed by what I must admit was a terrific rendition of Livin’ La Vita Loca.

I do a mean Ricky Martin.

I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea or a phrase running through my head that I know would lead to a good story. But in the morning I had no memory of what it was- so I put a notebook on my night stand so I could write these ideas down, and type them up later. Sounds like a good idea right?

Well, here’s one of my notebook pages.

It was maybe an idea for a mystery involving an antique dealer who is murdered for what he finds in an old desk, and some how Soupy Sales and Groucho Marx were involved.

Or someone was killed over, or by, an old dish.

Or maybe someone was killed by soup made out of handle bars.

Whatever it was it was great- that much is clear by the 2 exclamation marks.

This time I’m trying a new approach. I will actually make time to sit at the computer and write.

I will attempt to write for at least 1 to 2 hours a day.

If it seems to be shaping up OK, I’ll think about posting a work in progress here. I’m still a little gun shy over that idea, we’ll see.

Regardless of how it turns out or what kind if any feedback I get, I know it will be a good exercise for me.

After reading some other blogs lately, I know there are some folks out there who should give this idea a shot.

So if your reading this and you have a story in you, get writing.

It’ll be good for you.


Blogger Tai said...

Cheers Pops!

You DO have a novel in you, I can tell (even if it's spread over the country on coasters and napkins!)

Don't stop, it's always worth the effort!

11/05/2005 2:56 PM  
Blogger Ruben said...

I'm tempted to turn my blog into a book.

11/05/2005 3:27 PM  
Blogger Spider Girl said...

Yep, blogging is great to get folks writing. I'm thinking that I might just try out that NaNoWriMo next year, or maybe pick a random month.

Say...February...that's usually a month that needs livening up.

I've got a writer friend who actually got her NaNoWriMo novel published. Rather inspiring, that! :)

11/05/2005 3:46 PM  

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