Monday, December 27, 2010

Validation For My Crazy Plans

Recently on his blog, acclaimed sci-fi author and current SFWA president extraordinaire, John Scalzi, put up a bucket list of sorts detailing the things he would like to do in life. It's a good list. You should check it out. Speaking of which, I should write up my own sometime this week.

But in the meantime, what caught my attention in particular was this passage:

"In the case of writing a script I can see myself doing what I did when I first tried writing a novel, which is to do a “practice” one first — just thinking up some story I’m not hugely mentally invested and then going off and writing and not worrying if it’s worth reading by anyone else, but rather just doing it to learn what I need to do better the next time. It worked reasonably well with the novels."

See? I knew I had the right idea when I announced nearly a year ago that I would be writing a practice novel as my very first attempt at the long form. As I recall, I received many raised eyebrows from friends, family, and peers alike at this announcement. My reasoning at the time--almost down to the same wording--was very much in line with what Scalzi says above.

Of course, many people felt that I shouldn't bother with a practice novel and just try my hand at a serious run for broke. The product of which I just knew I would have to shop around and try to sell. But this to me didn't sit right with my goals. See, I'm not in a rush to get published. I want to first learn the craft properly. I'm not going to hide in the shadows forever, no. But for the time being this practice novel I'm writing is purely for me to get a handle of what it's like to put together such a daunting project. You know, to rob the idea of writing a novel of its mystique and intimidation factor. The novel I'm writing now is no lightweight, though. It's a fully fledged undertaking. But on a subject I did not come up with on my own, based on an already existing property.

For me, this is my safety blanket. I'll spend the better part of a year writing and revising this baby, and learning all that I can in the process. Afterwards, I'll let a few friends and family read the results before shelving it away for good.

Such is life. Don't cry for me, Argentina.

But I'm floored that this crazy idea of mine turns out not to be so crazy after all. In fact, in retrospect of what Scalzi had to say, now I seem rather clever, don't I?

Now if only that cleverness can translate over to the novel in progress. We shall have to wait and see, won't we?

3 comments:

Botanist said...

Hey! Whoever said it was crazy David? It may not be the way I'd do it, but in this crazy world my attitude is "whatever works for you".

Kim Kasch said...

Proves the point: Great minds think alike.

David Batista said...

Well, it wasn't you or anyone else over at the crit group saying it was crazy, Ian. But some others did think I should just do a "real" novel. Let's leave it at that. :)

And thanks, Kim. LOL!

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