Monday, April 08, 2013

Why haven't I finished that novel?

My husband periodically asks the question, “How long have you been writing that novel?”

I find it difficult to comprehend that he thinks I’ve spent all of these years writing ONE novel! But people who aren’t writers have difficulty understanding writers. Sometimes I’m not sure writers understand other writers and how they work—or even themselves because they are too close to look at things objectively.

I should count how many notebooks I have because I have at least one notebook for each novel (more than 100, I’m sure). And probably a couple thousand file folders (at least) on shelves, in a filing cabinet and in boxes for short stories or research for other novels not started. I’m great at starting novels. And not too shabby at creating titles. 

Which of my novels really stands out?

1.)   A young girl and her grandmother face the old woman’s advancing age and dementia.

2.)  A hot, steamy romance between two people when westward expansion crossed the Allegheny Mountains into Ohio Country.

3.)  A special agent can’t forget the bullying her brother and she suffered when they were growing up. She vowed to defend and protect women and their children who have been exploited by men and society.

4.)  Ramblings…the lives of women from their perspectives rather than men’s interpretations of the women’s worth.

5.)  The romance between two people who have never held each other close, never kissed—or even held hands. But the bond between them is impossible to sever.  They are soulmates from the edge of Eternity and back again.

My eldest daughter wants me to finish the story about the girl and her grandmother. So I went to the top of the garage looking for the box that held that manuscript. OK. I sent said daughter up to get it for me. I have it in my office.

#2 is the one I would have finished had I not started college to become an educator more years ago that I want to admit to you.

#3 is the story about bullying. Bullying doesn’t come from outside the family only.

#4 was my college thesis.

#5 is a love triangle…or can it have four sides?

And these aren’t the only novels I have begun. Why aren’t they finished?



Don’t know where to take the story to conclude it?

Well. For a long time I got interrupted every 10 minutes or so and the habit formed. If I was going to be pulled from the train of my thoughts there wasn’t much point in starting the journey, was there? But when the last child moved out I began to change my habit, not without some resistance. Now, when I start to stand up and walk away from my desk I tell my Self, “Self, plant your behind in that chair and don’t you DARE walk away until you’ve accomplished something with this WIP.”

My friend, Jay, said I am afraid to write because I’m afraid I will fail…or succeed. I’ve been published before. Not to the degree I desire, but I have been published. I’m not afraid to write, witnessed by the piles of files and boxes of notebooks and journals in just this one room! Not counting all the others in other rooms.

Don’t know how to conclude the story. Before a novel is started in the writing phase, it has to be thought out. How many times has Maureen said, “Most of the writing is done in your head. It percolates there while you’re doing other things”?

But, but, but…I just read that the human brain cannot multi-task efficiently.

Patti says, “Writers don’t work on just one story or project at a time.”

Cindy said I shouldn’t charge more than a dime for a copy of my weekly newspaper 13 years ago and Evan told her why she was wrong.

And somewhere inside my head I’m aware that doors have been slammed in my face because I didn’t measure up to what others expected from me.

So I have to make a choice: Will I give up and give in because the powers that be in this small spot on the globe bully me to prevent me achieving what they can never hope to achieve? Or will I surmount the impossible odds that challenge me?

Watch for my name! The day IS coming!

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