The New Novel

Last week I started writing the first draft of my new novel.

And what a terrifying thing that is.

Anyone who has ever written a novel before can attest that looking at that first blank page is fucking terrifying. In that moment, there are two choices in front of you. It’s possible, right then, to put the book off for another week or two, maybe write a couple more short stories or do some more outlining, and then promise that you’ll start later. In my case, the possibility of going back to the manuscript I finished a few months ago and writing a new draft there is sorely tempting. If you don’t give in to your excuses and other plans, and you make it past that initial uncertainty to start crafting your first few sentences, then you’re committed. You have to keep rolling, so that you don’t lose momentum. And that can be a little frightening.

Luckily, it’s also ridiculously fun. Over the past two weeks I’ve started crafting an entirely new world from my previous novel. My characters are revealing themselves, and in some cases meeting each other for the first time. I’m also using some new strategies with this novel. In addition to trying a bit of discovery writing for the first time – I have extensive notes on character, worldbuilding, and plot, but not a rigid chapter-by-chapter outline – I’ve also accepted that a lot of this first draft might need to be heavily edited later, and that’s okay. The important thing now is to just let the words flow, to put the bones of the novel in place, and then figure out later what I can keep and what needs more work.

So, fellow writers, please wish me luck! I’ll try to post regularly on my progress, but if I go silent for long stretches, that hopefully means I’m hard at work.


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