Sunday, January 10, 2010

I started a novel today

Today is the big day. I was scared as hell, and didn't have any sense of purpose, but I told myself what got me through the first one -- "just add sentences." And I also got to tell myself that I had done it once before. I sat down and wrote 700 words, a pretty light day by my standards, but I'll build up my stamina. So far, I'm ignoring the fact that I don't really have much of a plot, so for awhile I foresee myself writing a lot of overly detailed background material.

I was sitting on the couch in my new short-term rental in Saigon. Plenty to distract me -- it's pretty noisy here -- and I got up once to watch an old couple walking slowly down the street, the man playing some kind of traditional music adapted for Stratocaster and portable amplifier and the woman singing along and holding her hat out. They were tethered by the microphone cord plugged into the amplifier slung over his shoulder. How am I going to compete with that? How am I going to create anything as vivid as what's going on around me?

I think the length of my writing sessions is mostly determined by the natural breaks in the narrative. It's hard to come to a scene and then start a new one, so if it's a long scene, I have a day where I write a lot. If it's a short scene, I have a day where I don't write a lot. If I can train myself to restart again after finishing one scene, I could build up my word count a lot faster.

By the way, for the purposes of this journal, I think I'll refer to this book as BR.

OK, if I can find a satisfying lunch and get some household chores done, I'll have a routine. 100 days like that and I'll have a first draft.

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