Robot Wrestlers In Space – Writing My First Novel?

2 Jun

I might be writing my first novel, but I’m not entirely sure. 

 

The word “Novel” might be five letters long, but to me it is one of the biggest words because it represents a great unknown for me. It is the summit of Everest, it is the Challenger Deep, a potential Pandora’s box of plot-holes, loose ends and unrestrained waffle. 

I am a writer of short stories. They’re easier for me because once I start to write them I soon find myself stumbling into the ending. But what if ‘Robot Wrestlers In Space’ doesn’t develop an ending? What if, once started, it sucks me into a self-replicating vortex of tangential plot generation from which I never escape, inevitably leading to a coffee-soaked demise, slumped in a chair smothered in cat hair and the crumbs of old biscuits? 

I often talk myself out of things. I think most of us do. But I have already written the first 5000 words of this for my MA degree spring semester. The next 14,000 words shall constitute my final dissertation. Will I finish the story by then, or will I be left staring into the gaping jaws of an unfinished narrative? An orphan fragment of something potentially greater?

My lecturer told me not to concern myself, and to “let the story be what it wants to be.” 

‘Are you crazy?’ I thought. It’s going to eat my life. ‘Robot Wrestlers In Space’ will tear a hole in my existence; I will wind up 94 years old, scrawling the last paragraph with what remains of my blood using an old quill pen on the thick padded walls of my own personal hell.

Or, you know, the whole process might turn out to be rather fun and rewarding. 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Robot Wrestlers In Space – Writing My First Novel?”

  1. 3duir June 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Every novel I have written started out as a short story which ended up about mid-novel, but no longer resembled a short story. It became a chapter. A short story I liked so well, I became my own fan fiction writer 🙂 didn’t know how to begin or end a novel, but as I wrote the beginning and end (and all the meat in between) just showed up. Obviously I’m a patsy, when inspired I think a short story is coming to visit but then it moves in for a year.

    You are ‘thinking’ of writing a novel, but they are like short stories. You don’t think when you are writing them. You do your thinking when you are thinking about writing them. Or when you have to pause to research. Or pause to think, ‘is that plausible?’ But novels happen just like short stories. If you are stuck with a big blank ask yourself. “Do I love this story?” if you don’t, it will be like any other relationship, you’ll either get out of it or force it. It might be great story, but like some people you just don’t love it. Even that is not a total loss, you can backtrack and reflect when you stopped loving your story. Was it when you character when to New York instead of Prague. Okay, erase erase and send them off to Prague and see what happens. That’s when you and the character have had disagreement about how the story should be. It’s their story, they know better, so you have to cave in.

    Date your stories. You might have to take a few out for dinner and drinks until you find one you can love enough to stay with in the long haul. And basically neither myself or any other writer can write “Robot Wrestlers in Space.” We can read it, we can’t write it, it chose you to have a relationship with. You have to do it. 🙂

    Like

    • jackkastor June 5, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      3duir, I love your analogy of ‘dating your stories’ – it does feel like that sometimes, doesn’t it? Well, I’m definitely invested in this one and it’s going to be really exciting to see where it will take me. As writers, it’s kind of funny how little control we have over our work sometimes, isn’t it?

      Like

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