Big Cheesy Novel, Uncategorized

Making Sense of the Journey

Photo on 2010-05-14 at 14.43It was early on an early June day, the sky a weighty sea of impenetrable blue, when I disappeared without a trace.

The  Year I Disappeared


I began my writing odyssey three weeks ago today. It ends* tonight, and I go back to work tomorrow.

Because I’m a geek (or an obsessed nut job), I kept track of my word/page count:

  • Total words written: 50,098
  • Total pages produced: 252
  • WIP #1 – The Big Cheesy Novel – 34 pages, 6,950 words
  • Brand new WIP #2 – The Year I Disappeared – 218 pages, 43,148 words

Guess which WIP I found more inspiring? I started The Year I Disappeared the first day of my trip. I had hoped to pump out a solid 50 pages on WIP #2, and more than met my goal. I completely stopped writing The Big Cheesy Novel after the first three days.

I brought along three non-fiction books related to The Big Cheesy Novel that I didn’t touch.

I bought six novels (from two fine San Francisco book stores, City Lights and Green Apple Books), read three (Milan Kundera’s Ignorance and Identity and Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am ), and found many connections with WIP #2 which is a story about identity and belonging, themes of Kundera’s and Skomsvold’s novels. I don’t think I would have found any of these novels had I not stepped inside the bookstores and browsed through two wonderful, carefully selected collections.

Does this mean The Big Cheesy Novel is dead? Hardly. I’m very invested in the two main characters and will get back to it. The Year I Disappeared offered me the experimental opportunity I wanted, and I took it.

The majority of the pages were produced during my two weeks in San Francisco. Once I returned home, the volume dropped off quite a bit, which you’d expect. Life began to intervene with its many tasks and obligations, and fun events too, such as a few days at the cabin, dinner with friends, and so on.

What I learned in San Francisco was that the isolation from my “real life” made it possible to get the work done, get most of a first draft of a new novel pumped out (and the rest planned).

*But I think I can carry through with the rest of it at home now. It will be slower going, but it’s now onto the fun part of writing — revising, revisioning, polishing. I want to do some of that before I write the ending, which I think I can clearly see, but is not quite there. Endings bring all the themes together, and themes often arrive by surprise as I write and revise.

I want to make it my best work ever, and that takes a good deal of time for the pages to rest and for me to come back refreshed as well.

Thank you for indulging me, world. It’s been a nice break, though it honestly got a bit lonely out in the country’s second most densely populated city. Nice to be home again.

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