Before I Begin

I look ahead of me at the huge task – a novel. Not just any novel, but one of a scope that I’ve never attempted before. There will be heavy research; there will be many characters; there will be travel. I have always been far more comfortable writing within little worlds, staying within a town or a school or a house or a bunker or a mansion, never straying very far from that.

With Nanowrimo, they constantly tell you just to get everything down and worry about editing later. But I can’t help but want as much of it to be quality as possible so that don’t have to completely rework it like just about every other novel I have written. I don’t want the time and effort to be a waste.

It’s a good concept; it really is. But so was my Spectral Storm idea, and I need to completely reconfigure the first book and figure out what to do with the second based on the reconfiguration of the first. So was my Nightmare idea, but while I like the original novel, I know I’m going to have to rewrite it anyway to make it more active. I guess I just need to work on taking a great concept and executing it better. Now that I have a better sense of where I fail – characters tend to be passive – I can adjust my writing. But I still fear that failure.

What writer doesn’t? I don’t think most writers, even great ones, ends up with the book that was in their head. We have to content ourselves with second best, with our futile efforts to put thoughts from words to page, to facilitate what Stephen King calls mind reading from writer to reader.

I am imperfect, and I am a writer, and so I am an imperfect writer. I get the impression, though, that I shall have to simply jump into the water and throw myself into the story without stopping to think about how I’m getting it all wrong and why doesn’t a hack like me just quit and focus on real jobs, right?

Still, I’ve written many novels already. Some of them were crap; some of them were good but need work; some of them were quite good and needed polish. I’ve got to stop expecting what I write to be crap before I’ve even written it. Stop psyching yourself out, A. You haven’t even started yet.

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