Friday, August 6, 2010

So This is Writing a Novel

August Challenge: Writing a Novel

1. Interior – TeamMobile - Underground

We are inside our Superheroes’ transport. It is burrowing through rock. We see Ropegirl sitting in a chair in front of the console. She is braiding her luxuriant hair. She seems relaxed but we can see that she is deep in thought. Flashgirl is tapping the Villain-Viewer with a manicured nail. She is clearly agitated. She cannot find their arch-enemy, The Egypt-Sissy, on any of her screens.

I’ve never been one for long journeys. Don’t get me wrong, my life has sometimes read like a Eugene O’Neal play. But largely, if I can avoid a long trip, if there’s a short-cut to be taken, I’m on it. Which is probably why I started my writing career with a superhero comic strip (see outline above). It was created in conjunction with my best childhood friend once her dad had been transferred to Iceland and mine to Germany. We sent each other episodes in the mail, each writing the next. As one of the few Americans in my village, I lived for those letters. And this was in the era when it took anywhere from two weeks to a month to receive mail from overseas.

The two of us were so devoted to Ropegirl and Flashgirl (heroes with the ability to grow their hair and run like a flash, respectively, and who were also beautiful, extremely resourceful, and clever beyond reason) that I think we hardly slept at all as we waited for each other’s letters to cross the ocean.

After our brief, yet magnificent, foray into the world of comics, we graduated to novels, and proceeded to create an utterly original science-fiction book titled “Phoebus,” complete with illustrations.  Any similarity to “Star Wars” or the original “Battlestar Galactica” was purely intentional. We loved writing our stories. We loved receiving each other’s episodes in the mail. It kept the stresses of adolescence and teenage-hood at bay and made them bearable for another two weeks. It also meant that neither of us had to do an inordinate amount of work on the stories. Writing was easy!

Flash-forward to now. I have been married twenty-four years and am raising my four children. I am coming off of a long, self-imposed creative hiatus. It took every single one of my brain-cells to raise my kids, so I had to stop writing. Now I am learning to do it again, and am finding in it more joy than when I was doing it decades ago. It was easier to write shorter serial stories back then. In fact, I’ve been shocked by how much harder it is to plan and write a complete novel. It involves focus, thought, and persistence, and above all, time-management. It is a surprising struggle. But oh, what a good one! I find that after the long journeys of life I’ve been on since childhood, I’m much more willing to take this one now.

Thanks Flashgirl, Ropegirl, Princess Janilene and Colonel Capricia. Thanks as well to Lord Argon and the Egypt-Sissy. You got me started.  (I’ll work on character names next.)


Maegan Langer said...

I am totally naming my next pet Egypt-Sissy.

Janiel said...

I wish you would. And it should be, like, a boar-hound. Or a bunny.

Lizz said...

haha :) I love that i totally know where this all comes from.