I should be posting a peek at my 27th short story of the year, but that’s not what you’re getting. And it’s not because I didn’t write something—in fact, I wrote a lot of somethings! During my time at the Chautauqua Institution last week, I finished three stories and started eight more. I have plenty to choose from! But I don’t want to share any more short stories with you. Instead, I want to write my novel.
Yep, I’m going to start writing the novel that I started thinking about a year ago. I’ve been taking lots of notes and rereading them often for inspiration, but until now I’ve always felt like I had to have a good chunk of time where I wasn’t working in order to accomplish something on the magnitude of a novel. I figured I would keep my writing muscles strong with this story-a-week project, and then in 2017 find a way to rearrange life to make it conducive to the novel.
But, friends, life is short. Who knows what 2017 will bring? The thing is, I need to write this novel. I can spend the next twenty-six weeks writing short fiction for you, but I don’t need to. When I sat down to polish up this week’s story, I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t want to share it with you. Instead, I suddenly knew what to do: start the novel.
I’m reminded of this quote from Stravinsky, which I first heard on one of my favorite shows, Hannibal:
A true composer thinks about his unfinished work the whole time; he’s not always conscious of this, but he’s aware of it when he suddenly knows what to do.
I have always been thinking about the novel, even when I was writing about all of the other people and places you’ve seen glimpses of throughout the first half of this year. Half way through, twenty-six stories, seems a good place to stop, right?
I only have the vaguest notion of what’s going to happen to my characters, but they are ready to walk out on to the stage and start speaking their lines. Ready? Let’s go!