Monday, February 8, 2010

So should I tackle writing a novel or not?

The 4-day Writing the First Novel workshop was great. Jessica Barksdale Inclan, the instructor and a romance novelist, has an uncanny way of giving notes on our writing without taking many notes herself. She got to know all of the nine women in the workshop, and our writing styles, our writing needs, and the stories we are telling in record time. I think that is a real talent. Plus, she has real enthusiasm for the craft that comes out full force as she speaks in her wonderful dramatic style. I’m going to have her as a guest blogger here very soon, so watch out for reminders about that.

But, right now I’m in a quandary about whether to actually sit down and do the work of writing a novel after all. I’m way older than the rest of the people in the class. Those folks, all very talented, have the time. I don’t know if I do. It’s great to be this ambitious, and I might kick myself if I don’t do it – especially if I still have a lucid mind for the next 10 years or so, but should I use what precious time I have left on such a huge project. Marlene says my continually taking on these projects is what keeps me young, and certainly she has a point there. It’s good to keep challenging myself mentally – especially if I do retire at some point. I don’t want to sit around and veg all day. I'll need to have a writing outlet of some kind.

Besides, the novel subject that I’ve picked is going to take a lot of research. Bob’s done some already for the family history he’s writing, but I need to especially get information about the locales and what was going on during the time in history I’m writing about. And, then developing – that is making up – the characters is no small task. I am not convinced that this is a project for an almost 70-year old woman.

I’ve already made the choice not to take the online Novel 1 class that Jessica is teaching starting in April. We’ll be traveling most of May and June, so I don’t want an added encumbrance. Sure, I can write while we’re away. Jessica says she only writes one hour a day (300 words a day times 300 days makes a 300 page novel). That doesn’t sound too bad. It’s just all the filling in with facts, and character traits, and checking back and forth for consistency that will take a lot of time afterward.

Choices. That’s what it’s all about – as usual.

I'll keep you posted on what I decide - yet again!


Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

Well, you know what I think, Madeline! And as Liz Rosner showed, novel writing doesn't always happen in a year, and her projects were very well received!

Thank you for your wonderful words, and I am gunning for your novel--I will be first in line to buy one.



madeline40 said...

Well, that's the point, Jessica. I'm concerned that I don't have enough time left to get it all finished.
And, I appreciate your encouragement and that you've read my blog. xoxo