As I have mentioned a few times on this site, one thing I have always wanted to do is to write, and especially a novel or novella. There has always seemed to be other things in the way and I’ve just never taken the time to do it.
I feel that there was a certain amount of fear behind that reticence. What if I sucked at it? Could I actually string together more than a few coherent sentences? What on earth would I write about?
And when you are wildly inexperienced at something, you just don’t know where to start. I have some ideas for some stories I plan to write in future, but I feel before I can tackle the larger projects I need to learn my craft and hone my skill somewhat.
So rather than take one of the longer term ideas I have and completely wreck it due to a lack of experience (and perhaps lack of talent, but time will tell with that one), I decided to use one of the many “story starters” that are spread all over the Internet for budding writers like myself to do exactly this.
Story starters are are normally just a sentence that offers an idea or context to kick off a story. They are useful as they offer an opportunity to write about something that you may not have considered. And even if a dozen people start with the same idea, you can guarantee that there will be a dozen unique and dramatically different stories resulting.
I chose one more or less at random, something that I thought I could construct a short story around, in the hope that I could start to develop the “writing stamina” needed to write something longer than 3 or 4 pages.
So I sat down at the keyboard, Grammarly keeping me in check and started to write. To my great surprise, I found that the words flowed fairly easily. An idea that had started as a random sentence of 15 words off the Internet and no real sense of exactly where the story would go started to form. Characters and their situation established, and the plot seemed to fall into place.
This first story is looking at being around some 40 pages at this stage, current at 34 pages, which is around 6,800 words, and is growing naturally as I add richness to each scene now the skeleton of the story is complete. It’s not big enough to call a novel but definitely larger than an essay. It’s still the longest body of work since my Ph.D. thesis in 2010, which of course was a whole different ball of wax. I’m still working on my first, I suppose you could call it a novella, but in the next couple of weeks I hope to push it up on to Smashwords as a free eBook and see how it goes.
Why would I publish something I’m so entirely unsure about? Because the only way that I can learn as an author is to put me under the scrutiny of those who would potentially become my readership. And I am buoyed by the initial success of Unigon Plane and the courage of people who are not so different from me. If I don’t try, I will never know.
So there we go. No hiding from it now, I’m committed to writing and finishing this off within the next couple of weeks. If I don’t get done, feel free to tell me off and that I need to do so!