Two years ago my brother challenged me to do Nanowrimo. Until that point, I had only attempted short stories, never believing I had a novel in me. I didn’t quite make the Nano goal of 50,000 words by the end of that month. That first novel never went past the first draft, but it did show me that I was capable of more. I started Nano again this November, and when I hit 50,000 words, I kept going. I didn’t attempt to outline and I had a vague idea of the plot. In February I attended a one-night writing class by Tasha Alexander. I finally finished the first draft on Memorial Day at 83,000 words and promptly put the whole thing aside for six weeks. At the end of that period I couldn’t even remember half the book, so it was with excitement and anxiety that I picked it up and read through it, discovering that I had a skeleton that needed a lot of flesh. And after a weekend at the Killer Nashville conference and some encouraging feedback I realized I needed to completely restructure the first half of the book. This had been a royal pain in the derriere. I love it, I hate it, and I sometimes amaze myself that this is what I do for fun. But I keep doing it because after so many years of sitting on ideas and stuffing writing scraps on my hard drive it’s like a faucet that I can’t turn off.

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Comment by Timothy Hallinan on September 7, 2007 at 10:51am
I'm really happy for you -- and your enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can have, because it'll get you through the doldrums, which (as you've already seen) can strike at any time. I'd like to share a quotation from Flaubert that has meant a lot to me: "Talent is a long patience." The way your novel will get written is by applying the seat of the pants to the chair and the fingers to the keyboard, day in and day out, until you're done.

One more good quotation, although it's something you've already discovered. It's from Yoji Yamada, who has written exactly 100 produced screenplays: "Sometimes it is necessary to make the leap, and grow our wings on the way down."

Keep at it.

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