I’m sitting here thinking of what to do next. All distractions are dealt with my Facebook‘s exhausted, all messages replied to, all notifications checked: Twitter, likewise. Mail? Not relevant at the moment.
I’ve been distracting myself with various PC games and whatnot for the past week, but things have come to a point where I just don’t want to touch a PC game today. I want to write. Not the kind of writing that I do for a living – the kind of writing that leads to a novel, to all those half-realized storylines coming out onto paper. I’ve started. A novel, an open book. I have roughly six thousand words on paper. Not much, eh?
The thing is, that kind of writing is hard. Sure, you can sit yourself down and churn out crap. I’ve done it. Once I sat down and wrote 700 pages of crap, which, while marginally better than Eragon, still reads exactly like a cross between LOTR and Larry Niven with hints of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and Merry Gentry. Nothing inspired, nothing original.
But those aren’t the heights I’m aiming at – my goal is those reached by Terry Pratchett, by Stephen King’s Dark Tower, by Sergei Lukyanenko. All those great stories that you read once and acknowledge as masterpieces: with a beginning, a middle and an end set out like a grand game of chess, played so well that you barely know it’s there. To do something original like that takes time – at least, it does for me. I find myself constantly awed by the writers who produce over 60 books in the course of their lifetime. That’s amazing. I’m not sure I’ll ever write as much.
Back to where I said I’ve started a novel. I’ve started writing. It may turn out to be a set of finely connected short stories in the same universe. I’ve never really planned out a story. I work with images in my head: small scenes of action that I write up to and try to chain together. Which is great for writing short stories, but I have no idea how effective it is for novels. Let’s see: perhaps this might turn into my Harry Potter, perhaps I might end up with a book like Noon: 22nd Century – or perhaps nothing at all.