writing a "blovel"

I keep seeing that thing about writing a novel in a month. Well, it can be done of course. P'raps not War and Peace, but who wants to read a thousand pages on a blog? P'raps not very good,either, but it's on your blog so it's not like you're going to sell it, right?

While I do believe in the spirit of sitting down each day to write, I don't believe on doing it on a blog. (Tally for today: 8 pages and counting, thank you very much, not including this drivel.) I would never do it that way. I hold with the Stephen King first draft door closed, edit door open theory, which means write out the damn thing as fast as you can, while trying your damndest to resist even talking about it when its still coming out. It's not easy. Like when you are pregnant, all you want to talk about is being pregnant and not only does no one want to hear about it, it's actually better to not talk about it. Makes it go faster, I think. It also makes people think you are stoic, which by the way, is a favorable quality for novelists and mothers-to-be. You just sit in your little hole of an office and make your novel or your baby for 9 months or so and then when you show it to the world, everybody goes, "God, look at what she made and she never even talked about it." For some reason people love that.

I usually only resort to talking about it (back to the novel here) when I get an annoyed comment from The Man; as in "Honey, what's for dinner?" or, "Um, honey, could you do some laundry so I can have some socks?"

Valid complaints to be sure, and my lame comeback usually consists of something along the lines of "Look, things are heating up, all right? A-- just got taken captive, K-- is screwing whatshername, and L-- is MIA." (MIA means for me that I don't know what the hell to do with that character right then.)

And I get the They-aren't-real-people-remember look in return as he dials Dominos.

I think a book has to fester in there, make you miserably crabby -at least to those around you- and annoyingly preoccupied and you don't eat right so of course you get fat. Or it makes you sick so you can't eat and you lose weight.

Golly, the whole thing sounds more and more like being pregnant. Yes, the baby definitely festers in there. Not a lot of women will admit it, but I do freely. Doesn't mean I don't love them less. Actually, I think pregnancy is similar to that army bootcamp mind fuck where they make you miserable and then they suddenly are your friend so you go psycho and feel all this warm fuzzy love and loyalty for your superiors. My babies did that. Made me miserable for months, and I hated them, loathed them when I was pregnant. Then I felt so great afterward and they smiled at me and pooped in my general direction and I had quit puking every day and was so starved for affection that I suddenly was in love with the little buggers. (That needed a comma or a semi-colon in there somewhere, but fuck it, it's a rough draft, right?)

Anyway, back to the novel thing: I don't think anyone should read your first draft until it's seen some editing. For one, many of us don't plot. That means the first draft takes a lot of turns that have no relationship to anything that came before or since. These need to be edited out before someone says, "But what was that deal with the 7-11? Why did they go there? And that guy got a Slurpy, which you spent a paragraph describing as 'the green ones were always the coldest. Colder than the damp winter air hovering above the tar-streaked parking lot', but then it was like the Slurpy was just gone and besides, why was it summer when he went in the 7-11 and then it was winter when he came out? Was that some sort of statement about his frame of mind?"

No. It was a fuck-up. The 7-11 was a stupid place to go and the Slurpy disappeared later because it was never supposed to be there in the first place. The whole summer/winter thing was a higher power pointing it out in an obvious way to my dumb-ass self.

Second... well, first drafts sometimes just don't make for great reading to anyone but the writer. If you write really fast, the first draft is itself a sort of edited version; maybe certain areas (or in my case, all areas) need embellishment. I don't waste a lot of time on analagy and description on a first draft unless it's so clear that the words pour. So my first drafts end up seeming a little... drafty. Full of holes. Emotionless. It's nearly always raw dialogue and action, just 'cause I want to know what's going to happen next. But there's no pictures, you know?

Do what you want, of course, but I bet all this will do is add to the pile of unfinished books out there. The more I think about it, the more the whole thing sounds like a Google marketing ploy to me. It'll add to the guilt, as well. But then, that's what good marketing does, right?

Fuck, is that ever a topic for another day. Cheers.

3 comments:

Greg said...

Whenever i write something really drafty, then revise it, i can never acheive what I want to acheive. It's like, I'm looking at the crap I already have written, but unless i'm actually in the moment and all doing the bulldance and feeling the flow, every shot at making it better feels contrived.

But then again if I shoot for something good on my first draft, i gotta kinda stop and think once in a while. And that kills my flow... it kills my mojo... And then I'm screwed cuz i'm looking at the crap I already have writen and I realize i wasn't in the moment.

I'm not quite sure what i'm getting at. I guess there's no single good way to approach writing. While you're waiting for that beauty of a sentance to fly by, everything is just trying to sound perdy. Writing is a bitch. But good luck on your blovel!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Oh, you missed part of the point. I'm not writing a blovel. I'm actually finishing # 4 of a series to sell, but I c/would never write one online; real time. Maybe some could, more power to 'em.

I get your stuff about writing in the moment; only the writing sucks, and then over-analyzing it and editing out the stuff you were getting at in the first place - tricky balance there. I've done that; gone round and round when I should have just left it. Writing is a bitch for sure! What the hell are we thinkin'?

Greg said...

Or I hate it when you're all up in the moment and you think what you penned down is awesome, and then you goto sleep and wake up the next morning and read what you wrote and realize its pretentious crap, like you were trying to ride the coattails of Scott Fitzgerald or some shit. But hurray for objective distance!