In fiction, anything goes because you make stuff up and nobody knows if you’re bending the truth-kind of like some major players in US politics. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I decided to take the Nanowrimo challenge in November and produced well over 60, 000 words in a flurry of writing. I didn’t do the posting or participate in the website boards. Putting my work out there wasn’t my goal because I wanted to play my cards close to the vest; the writing itself was my prize. I am working on publishing it possibly as an ebook. Writing a novel was not something I planned to do and to my own surprise I really busted through the setbacks I’d been experiencing.
Here is what I learned in my writing my first novel:
- I can do it! I enjoy writing fiction
- Writing fiction frees up creative juices because you’re not worried about facts
- Writers can use their memoir stories for ideas
- Taking on a month-long challenge works for motivation
I loosely based my novel on my memoir and found that I was able to explore and write about themes that had plagued me for years. Issues, conflicts, tension, and resolution were tackled much more easily in fiction because I wasn’t tethered to exact details. I was more pleased at the end of the day with my work than I had been for all these years slogging through my (unfinished) memoir. The fiction writing was an amazing antidote for memoir blockage! Smooth moves. 🙂
Because I wanted to have my memoir as factual as possible the need to be completely truthful slowed me down and then stopped me. I got bogged down in details and worrying about offending people. Perfectionism stinks sometimes. However, I’m back into the writing of my personal story again with less worry-sort of. Now I’m becoming a complete snob in order to finish both works.
Journal prompt: take a day or a few weeks/months and write a story from start to finish. It can be as short as a few pages. Maybe you’ll find that this assignment leads you to do more writing and to challenge yourself. Pick one theme or issue from your own life and incorporate it into your story. Write freely. Be as bold and daring or as dry and technical as you want. Don’t edit your rough draft.
Discussion: what did you discover? Did you enjoy writing a story? What issues did you uncover or discover anew? How did your body react (if at all) to writing fiction?