Sixteen Permutations — that’s the name of this year’s novel, and I finally started it. Punched out around 775 words in an hour, and stopped. This is sort of the norm for me. I always just bash the first thousand or so words of a story, sit back for a bit, analyse what I’ve written, try to divine what kind of story it is that has shown itself on the page, compare it to the gut feeling the novel I have in my head should give me, and see if they match up.
This is a little easier if you know what that gut feeling is. I knew what it was the last few times and hence was either able to successfully write about it (Tale of a Thousand Savants) or cut my losses (Unfinished at the Moment) or put it aside because it just didn’t work as a novel (Polendron). This time I have, as I may have said before, only the idea for a cover, a title, and a plot device.
I’m a bit scared of the plot device at the moment, because I’ve never attempted it except in a two hundred word example I once wrote to illustrate that plot device on a forum. There’s quite a difference between a short example and a fifty thousand word novel, and hence I’m scared completely shitless.
Still, I don’t have to worry about that for the next couple of thousand words at least, I think. Right now I just have to stop Savant from rambling.
Yeah, so this is how it always starts. I put Savant somewhere either funny or strange, have him open with a typically noncomittal one liner, and then proceed from there. Nothing ever happens in my first chapters — I break the cardinal rule of writing and have the most boring openings ever.
This time it’s magnified because, truth be told, I haven’t written fiction for over two years, and it shows. It shows bad. I’m rambling and rambling, there are talking heads aplenty, and no sign of anything happening other than Savant’s Own™ sidetracking anecdotes. I’ve introduced a plot point that I just realised completely destroys the importance of something that happens in Tale, and all so I can make a joke about headless penises.
This is the most colossally bad thing I’ve written yet. Yes, it’s even worse than that vanilla cream pie thing, and I was seventeen back then — I was supposed to be crap!
But you know what, I’m loving every minute of it. I just love writing. I love the sidetracking anecdotes. I know it’s crap, but I also know that I must continue. I know that somewhere down this ramble of a novel a story will emerge, a text worth writing — worth reading — will assert itself, and that feeling will be ten times as fun as this.
I also know that it will be a wonderful experience to write from Xaria’s perspective for once. I’ve written about her but never as her, and this is the plot device that has me cowering in the corner. Still, I just know that when it does come around, that I’ll have the gut feeling of my novel.
To that point, I write.