On the First Year Anniversary Eve of my blog, dear readers, I give you an unadultered glimpse into this writer’s mind:
The one wall in my room that doesn’t have books on it is this one. I have taken to affectionately calling it the “wall of crazy,” like the “walls of crazy” that appear in catch-the-homicidal-stalker thriller movies/procedural cop shows/at least one episode of Law & Order. There are a lot of index cards with a lot of names and information on people in the completely fictional realm of My First Novel: Year Six, This Time I Really Am Going to Finish It. Most of these individuals have yet to speak or be mentioned or have any bearing at all on what’s going on, but here they are pinned to the wall like papery butterflies. Actually three of main characters aren’t even up there… I should get some hot pink cards and make a “bastards” section.
The green and white slips are noble houses with three generations of names. The purple slips are my just-completed chapter synopses for Part the First of My First Novel. They used to be yellow, and there used to be a lot more of them, but then some chapters were rather unceremoniously removed. I was in a mood.
The whiteboard has a very dated map on it – so dated that the dry-erase markers have magically turned to indelible ink. Tucked in the corners of the whiteboard are two postcards from the National Gallery in London. The one on the right is a detail from “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey,” which is an important visual for me for this book.
The smiley face is the oeuvre of my younger brother, who insisted that I needed something less depressing to look at. Given what’s written on the purple index cards, I really do appreciate it.
And the little collection of cards on the far right have a list of fairytale tropes for a different project. Its current synopsis is “happy-go-lucky escapades of people who never get sick or tragically die,” a vast separation from my current project.
Despite what it looks like, this is the most organized I’ve ever been about My First Novel. Though I started writing it in grade 12 (six years ago… I just realized that and now I don’t feel well…), it has morphed into something completely different since then. Heck, it’s completely different from what it was two years ago. I developed some chapters for a workshopping class in university, picking up in the middle of the story, and most of the comments were about what had happened before, and why? I didn’t have a very good answer, I’m afraid. But since then, I’ve come up with one. That little question spun out into what you see before you.
Almost exactly this time last year I was bemoaning my failure at making outlines. Yay for personal and artistic growth! Level up!
I’ve started this story from the beginning twice, and I think I will be starting there again just one more time. I have a much more concrete idea as to what I want to say, how I want to say it. I have a better idea of who these people are (well, a dozen or so of them, anyway) and what they’ve already been through. I also have a better idea of what they’re going to go through.
I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions that I wanted to get through a scene that I have been dreading to write for a long time. That scene is one of the ones on the wall, and I think that if I can barrel through that one, the rest should materialize with much less anxiety. So many of these scenes have existed in my head for years already, and I’m excited about writing/wrestling them down.