How to proceed

On my computer, I have hundreds of thousands of words, encompassing a
hundred stories in various genres (a handful of which were published),
a dozen novel outlines (most of which were shelved after 10-15K of
actual prose), two novels at ~50K completed first draft stage.

But no finished novel.

I think it's time I faced the fact that I haven't finished a novel -
"finished" being defined as "written, re-written, edited, re-edited &
polished" - for one simple reason. It's not that I don't have time
(although I never have enough), or ideas or skills sufficient.

It's that I'm scared.

I'm not nearly so bold and confident a writer as I pretend to be. [Oh,
don't act so surprised. I'm as human as you are.]

The first stuff I wrote was lousy, but at the time I thought it was
great. I still feel the need to apologize to everyone on whom I
forced my first NaNoWriMo effort. Having recognized that I needed to
develop my skills, I stepped back to the short story, then to flash.

While I can't claim to have mastered the flash form, I can be
confident that I'm pretty good at it. So, now that I've gotten good at
driving around on quiet suburban streets, it's time to get out into
real traffic. If you never buck up enough courage to get onto the
freeway, you will forever be stuck in the sticks.

Everywhere that's interesting, enlightening or fascinating requires
movement in order to get there.

I think it's time to quit screwing around.

Follow me on Twitter: @TonyNoland


  1. I was thinking of you and your comment on my #FridayFlash. Thank you for that, Carrie. My hands are trembling a bit, but I'm going to take the training wheels off.

    Wish me luck.

  2. Amen lad!

    I'm in the same boat you are, having realized that my biggest impediment was me. I read enough of your Flashes to see how skill building they are, and I've started trying my hand at them too.

    Next is going to be a short-story submission, and then back to work on any one of the varied Novel ideas I have.

    Remember, too, at the end of the day any Novel is really just a bunch of Flash Scenes tied together with varying degrees of tightness! :-)

    I have no doubts about you!

  3. Tony - in my mind, writing a novel is less about skill and more about level of concentration and passion. If you have concentration and passion, then just do it- the skill will either be there or not, but if not it can be teased out in revisions. So, never fear - if you feel the time is right, then go for it! My passion is there for my novel (which was drafted in nano and is on hold) but my level of concentration is much more suited to flash at the moment.

  4. D. Paul & PJ: Thanks, guys. There's a lot of stuff wrapped up in a process like this, and working through it all internally can lead you to some odd and uncomfortable places. I'm glad I had the chance to hang this out there.

    Look for more thoughts on this later.

  5. Yes, just jump in. You certainly have, not only the skills, but the talent for a good story as well. Fear can also be a good motivator. :)

  6. You CAN do it!

    A novel really is a bunch of scenes tied together with theme, consistent characterization, and that old friend, voice. It IS a daunting enterprise, probably because it seems so huge. Break it into pieces, and it's much more doable.

    I've enjoyed seeing your talent and skills solidify these past few months. You've come a long way, babycakes ;^)

    Peace, Linda

  7. Laura & Linda: Hey, with endorsements and encouragement like that, there's really no reason for me to hesitate anymore, right?

    Thanks, ladies!


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