I’m done with my third novel, my third year in a row. This one weighs in at 51,054 words. It’s a fictional, partly autobiographical story, one I’m not planning on sharing at this point. But don’t feel left out, because the following is a description of one of the made-up characters from my partly made-up life:
“His appearance wasn’t exactly a shock to her, but he seemed naturally a bit untidy. His hair was gray and balding, and the strands that were nearest his bald spot always stuck straight up. It seemed he always had a couple crumbs, either near his mouth or trickling down his expansive chest, from “tasting” some dish or other. When he spoke, his voice was high for a man and unpleasant to listen to. And the things he said were dull and uninteresting. He tried to tell stories about his life, but they were the kind of rambling stories with no point that were only exciting for him.”
This novel was a good exercise for me, because I took an event that really happened to me, and imagined how my life would have been different, had I chosen a different path. In the course of writing, I noticed a few things:
- My characters were really deep. They had substance. They weren’t one-dimensional, like previous characters I have made up completely from scratch. They had interesting quirks to their personalities, and real motivations behind their actions. Wow! For the first time, my novel had people that felt real!
- I got to thinking that what I was writing was genuinely what would have happened to me, and I was shocked, because some of the exact same things happened in my book when I made different life choices, as what happened to me in real life. Does that mean that your decisions don’t make that much of a difference in your life? Maybe if something is “meant to be” it will happen no matter what you do. Or maybe it just means that when you are writing based on your life, you find ways to fit your real experiences into the mix even if they took a different path to manifest.
- It took a lot less time to reach 2,000 words each day, because I didn’t have to come up with everything from my imagination. I had a vivid picture in my head of the setting and the characters involved, so they were easy to write about. This was so much simpler than trying to make up a scene on the spot, and then trying to go back and remember the scene many days later.
- I’m just as unprepared to let people read this novel as the previous two.
- But someday (and I really mean this) I will write and publish a book and ask you to read it.
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