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Wait. How do you write a novel?
Bobby vs. The Novel. Volume 2.
(To read my previous entry on novel writing, click here.)
I have no idea how to write a novel. I’ve written many screenplays, but a book is a different beast. I started small, wrote short stories, and grew my confidence. But, the novel was still daunting. I looked up the word counts of popular ones and found this website to be a godsend. When I realized the Great Gatsby was only 47,094 words, I breathed a sigh of relief.
All I had to do was write 50K words. (I had to top the Great Gatsby, obviously.) I could do that, right? Some of my short stories were approaching 5K words, so, like, do that ten times.
I was still kinda scared. So scared I began buying things! One year of Master Class? YEP. PUT IT IN MY SHOPPING CART, ASSHOLE. I watched every novelist class they offered and realized there was no great advice.
My two takeaways from MasterClass:
1.) Just write.
2.) The opening chapter is hard. Be prepared to rewrite that a lot.
Honestly, that’s all I remember.
Was it comforting to hear these accomplished authors talk to me about writing books? It was, and I looked forward to the videos! But, I feared if I stayed in the masterclass bubble, I would...do nothing. I would just watch videos of authors comforting me about a thing I would never do.
Honestly, what helped the most wasn't MasterClass; it was just reading more. I always read novels, but I never lusted over and devoured them the way the best readers do. Novels were always a part of my well-balanced entertainment diet, consisting of television and film. But, now, I wanted it to be the main course, the thing that everything fed off.
I also revisited a couple “how to” books. But, ultimately what I craved was a personal process.
I’m big into process!
You could say I’m a process junkie!
You could say it’s an OCD problem!
Listen, you could say a lot of shit.
Fact is: I have a process for writing screenplays. If I have an idea for one, I know with certainty I can generate a script thanks to the process. But what was my process for writing a novel? How would I know if I had enough material? And what would my day-to-day work be? What about revisions? When will I know when I’m done?
Next year, I’ll be periodically diving into this process and rewriting my debut novel in real-time.
JOIN ME, WON’T YOU?
(I’m not asking for much.)
In other news
I’m taking two weeks off! Have a happy holiday, and I’ll see you on January 10th!
Also, THANK YOU for subscribing to this thing! I’m still figuring out what it is, but I’m committed to doing it every Tuesday!
So much about writing is commitment! Just saying you're going to get up every day at X time and work on the damn thing. This substack, as low stakes as it is, is something for me to commit to. Figure out.
I would love to know what you are committing to next year!
What projects are you determined to complete or start?
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