The Lack of Novel Progress

I’m having a hard time logic-ing my way back to editing my novel, and a very easy time logic-ing my lack of desire to do so.

While I’ve been known to enjoy a good fiction, even fantasy, novel here and there, I am, at my core, a very fact-based, rational, truth-loving, non-fiction lover. It’s not that I don’t love works of fiction; The Alchemist and The Chronicles of Narnia are some of my favorite reads (does this sound like a homophobe saying “but I have gay friends!”?). It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever been able to identify just how non-fiction writers are able to pull a story out of thin air, or why they should have to, when the real and existing world is so ripe with amazing and fascinating truths.

My story, in my eyes, is one long lie. Nothing in the story ever actually happened. It could have, and that’s why I wrote it: to let people imagine what could have been if history had been a little different and how they would have fared in the new hypothetical world. But, damnit, fiction is HARD. Making up facts is hard. Making up people is hard. Deciding what these make-believe people would do in given situations is hard. It’s all hard.

I’ve never been one to walk away from a challenge…but I don’t like lying. Writing the rough draft of the novel was a fun project, but now, trying to edit it and build it and make it better feels too much like trying to fool people. I know that it’s not the case. I know that readers will know that it’s fiction. But, to be honest, my goal with the book is to get people to re-examine their beliefs on love and decide for themselves what they think their hearts are capable of doing, and I keep thinking…couldn’t I do that with a non-fiction book?

And so here I sit, unmotivated to work on the novel, because all I can think about now is how to write a non-fiction book, based in truth and facts, that will get people thinking about love.

It won’t be a pretty story, which means less people will read it, and therein lies the reason why I haven’t completely abandoned the novel. People like stories. I know: I tell stories all the time. They’re true stories, though: things that I’ve experienced, usually. Real life is amazing. Telling an un-true story – it’s a whole different skill, and I’m deciding whether it’s a skill that I possess at all, and if I do, whether I can convince myself to develop it.

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  1. Jen Bresnick

     /  March 24, 2012

    Just remember that people pick up a novel because they WANT to escape reality. You’re not lying to them. They’re looking for some suspended disbelief, and you’re giving them exactly what they want.

    • Thanks for that. 🙂 It really is a matter of me playing mind games with myself at this point – it’s going to be a lonnng rewrite!


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