Monday, July 02, 2007

Novel: Episode 1, I Begin Anew

I've been working on a book since about 2001. I've written as much as eighty pages of it, only to through out what I've written because 'it wasn't working.' Or, 'It was boring.'

I've started it again, and I've decided this time what I've written is 'pretty good' but this state can pass. But Bob made me a Buddha's Cosmo at dinner (his signature drink) and I had the great idea that I would blog about writing the novel. I promise, no word counts, no discussions of the actual novel itself. But this way, if I don't actually write the damn thing, my disgrace will be public.

So I've started with a chart that illustrates my understanding of the process of writing a novel, based on writing four of them. I am somewhere between the first point on the graph and the second point on the graph.

Tomorrow, when the alcohol wears off (one drink, especially one of Bob's drinks, pretty much makes me technically over the legal limit for blogging) I will wonder what the hell I have committed myself to, and then post about outlines versus organic. Or more to the point, about my preconceived and clearly foolish notions about those things.


Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Ahh! This chart is SO true! I'm working on my third one now (or I should say avoiding working on the third one) and am at point four in your chart. I do not look forward to the next couple of steps, but really look forward to getting to that blissful state of resignation.

July 02, 2007 9:52 PM  
Blogger Rose Fox said...

So where's the Hugo Award on that chart?

Seriously, best of luck with the novel. Like formal plotting, outlining is something I have an inordinate amount of trouble with, mostly due to my rampant elitism: outlines are for people for whom writing is work, you know, not for those of us for whom it is a glorious artistic pursuit. I'm finding I have to weed out an astonishing amount of this sort of cruft before I can really make a decent start at anything. I look forward to reading more about how you tackle the process.

See you at Readercon!

July 02, 2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you, Maureen.

July 02, 2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

aw shit.

There's a legal alcohol limit to blogging?

July 02, 2007 11:12 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

I'm really looking forward to the [novel] outlines vs. organic [vegetables] post!

July 03, 2007 12:17 AM  
Blogger Darby M. Dixon III said...

Erin: There is; you certainly don't ever want us to catch you slipping below the legal limit.


July 03, 2007 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you give me a recipe for the best thing to cook for yourself when you reach the "dark night of the soul" part?

Like Barzak said this is SO very true.

Justine L.

July 03, 2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Justine, when you reach the dark night of the soul, one thing that always works for me is;

2 parts Bullit bourbon
1 part sweet vermouth
a dash of bitters
a maraschino cherry

Richard Butner says Rye is also a good choice instead of bourbon and I agree.

July 03, 2007 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is, when things are going south, turn to alcohol and it'll see you through. Good to know I'm not alone.

July 03, 2007 4:54 PM  
Blogger Randy Wilson said...

So far I've track very close to your chart and I'm at point six (my next novel will be great because this one stage).

I do find that I go back and forth from point 3 to 6 with nasty frequency.

July 23, 2007 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 24, 2009 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 06, 2009 8:13 AM  
Blogger Mr Yogi said...

Works just as well for business ideas and software projects.


April 07, 2014 1:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nora Ephron prescribed mashed potatoes for heartbreak, and I think you can go off-label and make them/take them for Dark Nights of the Soul too. The secret is to drag out your mixer and beat all the lumps out and some air in - but do NOT use a food processor or they will turn elastic and evil on you. If you also take a medicinal dose of booze you will forget what a hassle it is to clean your mixer.

June 13, 2014 9:35 PM  
Blogger no one said...

I'm putting together a couple of workshops for writers and editors and I'd like to use your diagram. Will you charge a fee, and if so how much?

October 29, 2015 4:44 PM  
Blogger kootsoop said...

Love the diagram! Going to steal it (with attribution) for a presentation. Let me know if that's NOT OK. :-)

Maureen McHugh, “Novel: Episode 1, I Begin Anew” URL: Last Accessed: 2019-01-16

January 16, 2019 11:56 AM  

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