Annual dear me contest, about writing resolutions, letter format
| Everyone wants to write The Great American Novel. You can’t. It’s been done. Mark Twain is keeping the title for that one. Probably the next closest is Harper Lee’s only book. So you’ll have to settle for A Great American Novel. Just another one of many great American novels.
You know the kind that gets studied in college literature classes? Yes, that’s what you want, isn’t it? Something deep and provocative with symbolism and all that jazz, worthy of some erudite professor‘s lecture. Of course, you wouldn’t mind the income from a Grisham novel, or a Sparks romance. Or Nora Roberts—she gets away with lots of incomplete sentences. That would still be a satisfying achievement, but in an entirely different fashion. They’re great story tellers.
Don’t sacrifice the story trying to be artsy. Being “high-minded” gets in the way of the stories you tell. Maybe you should just concentrate on the story more, and not worry about the devices so much. That can be edited in once a good story has a formed. Before you make any new attempts on a novel, try cleaning up and editing the three you already have in limbo. Maybe this is the year to show one to an editor.
You know you’re running out of time, so you better get busy. You need a push. Some people may take a year or two or seven to write a book. Grisham does at least one bestseller a year, sometimes two. Andrew Greely was pretty prolific, too. Maybe you should learn to weave a really great story and not take so long, unless you want to be published posthumously.
Ok, try this. Every week, write at least 1000 words. Easy for most weeks. A short story or a chapter will do. The blog will not do. You’ve tried that. It lets you vent or share some tip, but it doesn’t get you producing what you really want. You’ve looked into copywriting, and the whole idea was a turnoff. So try the short fiction. See where it takes you. Finishing some decent short fiction might lead to better character development of longer fiction.
The short fiction may or may not build some characters that you want to keep. Or it may plant some seeds that grow on you and need room to expand. One of your weaknesses is fleshing out an antagonist. Write about some bad guys. You’ve known plenty, so let them get creative.
When you were younger, you wrote poetry. Most of it has been lost. I still remember some of it. You need to practice more. You may not like what you produce, but the exercise of writing words concisely is a good mental workout. I’m challenging you to write a poem, even a short one, every other month.
You know from experience that you don’t write more when you have more free time, whatever that is. There is always something to compete for your attention. You write just as much under pressure of obligation as you do when you’re stress free. Just meet the deadline, like paying a bill.
And don’t forget, you need a computer back up. Another hard drive or memory sticks or something. You’ve got WDC, but you have a lot that’s not in cyber space. Protect it.
Have a good year. Don’t beat yourself up. Relax, but stay focused.
Word count 563