Here’s a little secret: I’ve been writing for my entire adult life, and now I am doing what I said I’d never do: attempting a fictional story.
Well, I’m not sure I actually said “never.” What I’ve always said is that writing fiction doesn’t interest me. Real stories have always intrigued me, and I wasn’t interested in making up something that I knew could never compete with the true weirdness that exists out there.
I enjoy reading fiction, though I read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. I feel rather picky about the fiction I read and it seems to take a lot to impress me.
But I’ve had a nugget of an idea for many years now. Since it never went away, I figured maybe it’s a sign that I pursue it. I am using Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer to get it started. This is a 14-day commitment. This is what I need to determine if it’s something worth doing. At the end of 14 days I’ll have 14,000 words and a sense if it has legs or not. If it doesn’t, no big deal. It’s only taking me 30-60 minutes a day to pump out those words (but in addition I’m doing quite a bit of reading about novel writing, so I’m committing probably 2-3 hours a day).
I just completed the words for Day 6 and if the challenge ended today, I would keep going. I still like the story and I like my main character. I’m realizing what fun it is to create something out of thin air. Here’s a person I’ve created and a storyline. I sat down at the beginning with nothing but a one-sentence idea. It’s been gratifying to write and see in what direction the story goes organically.
However, I am struggling with the point of it all. Because I’ve loved nonfiction for so long, a little voice in my head says Why are you making this up? How will you be able to care about someone who doesn’t even exist? You are living in a fantasy world! I mean, part of me feels truly nuts, spending time with someone who doesn’t exist, who is just a figment of my imagination!
I also feel a bit stunted in the imagination department. I don’t have a lot of practice making things up. And I’m not the most appreciative of fictional stories, especially ones that venture into fantasy. While I do have a somewhat otherworldly element in the novel, it is more along the lines of “this could plausibly exist” versus taking place in an entirely fantastical realm.
So I have some challenges to overcome but all writers, no matter what genre they write, are accustomed to those terrible critics in their heads. I will do what I always do and try to push away the voice as much as possible!