My Neverending Story

I’m writing a novel. I’ve been writing (actively, albeit infrequently at times) it for at least 3 years. Of course, I’ve been talking about writing a book (a different one) for at least 15 years. I’ve had this concept for a non-fiction book, that I’ve only talked to less than a handful of people about, for practically half my life. Over the years, I’ve come across works that seem similar to my concept at first glance, but I’m always able to distinguish them from my idea in the end. So why don’t I just write it? Good question.

See, Bryan’s one of the less-than-handful people, and he thinks it’s too big a concept for me to take on for my “first book.” Don’t get me wrong: he’s generally a very supportive guy. Just something he said once, several years back, about it being too big for me, has sort of stuck with me.  So that’s when I decided to write a novel instead.

When I first began plotting ideas for the novel, Bryan tried to convince me to write about my life, or at least my early life.  I guess you could say I had some traumatic stuff happen or at least that my childhood was full of drama (but, hey, look folks: I turned out alright). I remember we talked about what would be the point, the theme, and about what would be the climax or turning point (’cause unfortunately I have more than one thing from which to choose). I didn’t like the idea – I mean who wants to read about me? But Bryan said it was a good idea, for my “first book,” because it’d be easy.  Hmm, I’m beginning to think that’s a shot, that he doesn’t think much of my ability to write a book. Of course, truth be told, why should he? I’ve only been talking about – rather than actually doing it – for half. my. life.

Anyway, I started writing about my life and, while the words came easily to me, it was missing some of the key elements that make a story good. So I started trying to plot the ideas and came up with a plan I was happy with.  Rather than scrapping everything I’d already written, I decided to see what I could use for background or character development.  Some of it definitely works; some, not so much. So for over 3 years, I’ve been plotting and molding and cutting and writing and cutting some more and I realized something: I still don’t have a story on paper. I have about 15 mini-stories on paper but no adhesion, no semblance of my plan or outline. Just a bunch of words, my words mind you, but just words nonetheless.  This is hard. Maybe Bryan’s been right all along.

What have I done wrong? Lack of structure? Too much editing before I have a complete picture? Listening to critics around me (and inside my head)? I’m scrapping the whole thing. Maybe I’ll start all over. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just talk about starting all over for another 15 years. Or maybe I’ll find something easier to spend my time on. Like flying around on a giant dog (that’s really a “luck dragon” but looks like a dog) named Falkor and trying to save Fantasia from The Nothing.

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