It's a tough thing, this writing a novel. Not the part where one puts words to paper, or screen as it were - the part where one comes up with an idea worth writing about, and generates a voice to make that idea compelling.
I'm doing the NaNoWriMo thing, although I don't intend to finish the book in a month, primarily because I don't want the book to suck. This is the reason I'm not doing the NaBloPoWhaFuck thing, where bloggers are encouraged to do a post a day. More is not necessarily better. Michael Caine - he's prolific. He won an Oscar; a couple, I think. He was also in "Jaws: The Revenge".
It's not that I don't have blogworthy tales to tell. I do. Here's one. I'm at work a couple of days ago. I get up to go to the john. In the hallway I pass a guy who needs to talk to me. We'll call him Guy. "Hey," Guy says. "I need to talk to you." "Ok, can you stop by my office in a few?" I nod toward the bathroom door. "Restroom.""Oh, no problem. I'll wait."
I walk in. Guy follows me.
I find the stall - the large, luxurious handicapped stall, where I can stretch my legs and have a relaxing, stressfree BM. I shut the door, drop trou, sit.
Guy is there. He's standing right outside the stall. True to his word, he's waiting.
This is unnerving. There's a good two-inch gap between the stall door and the stall wall. He's got a bit of a view.
"Gonna be a while."
He remains at his post.
We've sailed past Awkward Point, the spinnaker is up, and we're heading at flank speed to Dude, What's Your Fucking Malfunction Island. There may be cultural differences at work here - Guy is from a Foreign Country. Not Kazakhstan, if that's what you're asking, but clearly from a culture that doesn't have the same neuroses about bodily functions as the U.S.A. Deus ex machina arrives in the form of his cell phone ringing. He leaves. The weird part is that he hasn't tried to find me since.
A pretty good story, all told. Or not. Eh, whatever. The blogosphere is full of shitty writers (and by "writers" I mean "people who blog with the intent of establishing a readership/fan base for themselves", not "people who do blog posts because hey, why not?") with nothing to say; yes, it's "democratic", but if everything were "democratic" in that way, I'd be starting at power forward for the Lakers. Worse, there are bloggers out there who co-opt other writers' work - copping ideas, and then marinating in the adulation of their regular commentors. (This recently happened to my friend and writing partner Charlene; she's too classy to write about it, but I'm certainly not. You know the theory about putting a million monkeys in front of a million typewriters, and they'll come up with Shakespeare? There's a lesser known theory - put one hundred monkeys in front of one hundred typewriters, and they'll come up with a bland rewrite of an article they found on Yahoo!, and Blogging Baby will hire them. Well, not entirely true. Every so often BB fucks up and brings on real talent - Jonathon and J.D. somehow slipped past the Reverse Quality Control Department.) There's a great interview with Chuck Klosterman in this week's Onion AV Club; in it, he points out that "the problem a lot of writers have is that they really, really enjoy people saying 'You're brilliant'. They let their self-perception be dictated by reader response". This is absolutely true of the blogosphere.
I'm finding out the tricky part of the novel writing process is how to be your own best and worst critic. I did post the prologue to the book on my NaWriNoMo page; you can find it on your own if you want. You get the prologue, that's it. (It ends with a cliffhanger, BTW. And the NaWriNoMo page fucks up some of the formatting - there are some sections in the piece that should be italicized and aren't and it does detract from what I'm trying to say, which is another reason why I'm not putting any more up there. ) I don't really want to hear how good or bad it is before it's actually done.
So. Writing. It's tough. On that note, read the latest post from Neal Pollack, entitled "We Have A Dead Cat". That's what good writing looks like.