Friday, December 07, 2007

Writing Stuff: Novel Ideas – The Heart Stopping Newbies

I have a friend who – for the past ten or so years – has been talking about the great epic novel we should write together. I always treated this as something that in theory sounded like a lot of fun, but in practice would be some kind of writer's hell in which I would be constantly either trying to make sense out of his ideas or cringing at the prose.

Funny how we practicing writers get these self-important ideas about how good we are in relation to people who just talk about writing.

Well, this week, Steve Zurian sent me his idea of opening lines for the epic. And it is maybe the best opening paragraph I have ever read.

So now I have a whole other dilemma, or rather several. Do I try to write a second paragraph that picks up? Do I try to plot based on this first line? OMG, do I even go there when he is so obviously full of the kind of talent I have only dreamed of?

Sigh. For a long time, I have waited for his first line. Be careful what you wish for. I know he's a genius of a particular type – witty, funny, interested in a lot of disparate things, exasperating, and well-read – and he listens to the Red Army Chorus and Mannheim Steamroller with equal enthusiasm.

But I never thought he would write the perfect opening lines. They are so good I wish mightily they were mine. I can't post them here, as they belong to him, but let me assure you that they combine snap, wit, and the California freeway system.

I heard another person deliver an excerpt from their first novel at the recent Los Angeles Sisters in Crime Holiday Bash and pre-published writers' party. Mischa Adams read from her novel, Two Old Bats at the Will Reading and I damn near split a gut. I had to stifle my laughing so I could hear each line.

Now I'm really in trouble – how do I slog on with my so-called novel when there's all this incredible talent out there? Will hard work be enough? Who's gonna read my stuff when there's Steve Zurian and Mischa Adams out there?

How do you handle the doubts that crop up – the legitimate ones and the ones that are your own worst enemies?

How do you get back to your writing when real genius puts it to shame?


Good news on the weight loss front (and sides and back) – slower, but it's still coming off. I'm used to the meal plan now, but maybe my metabolism is used to it, too.

The Pomona Heritage Holiday Dinner – Several people in the historic Lincoln Park District opened their lovely craftsman homes to a progressive dinner. The food was excellent, the company diverse and the houses beautiful. Check out your own local Historical Society or Heritage group and see what beautiful surprises are lurking in your neighborhood.

The rains – it rained last week and this week. In spite of the mudslide and flash flood dangers - especially in the fire-torn areas - and the absolutely abominable traffic, the rains are so beautiful and we need the water.

Be careful out there.


bunnygirl said...

No matter how good one is, there will always be someone better. Even geniuses wish they were as gifted as the genius up the block.

Don't forget the word of the immortal Mark Twain: "My works are like water. The works of the great masters are like wine. But everyone drinks water."

Never be ashamed to serve up water, even if you aspire to fine wine!

Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) said...

The object of art is not to compete but to complete.

Bernita said...

Happens frequently to me - there's so much pure talent out there.
Then I go read something awful and feel better.
I like Bunny's Twain quote.

writtenwyrdd said...

There are lots of things to admire by others. But that does not lessen your own ability and work.

If you are feeling really freaked out, try a nap. It works for me, anyhow.

December/Stacia said...

I just hope there's room for hackitude like mine on the outer edges. Sigh.

jeisea said...

Seems to me you have your own style, a very readable happy knack of letting the reader be your friend and like a friend sharing your thoughts.
Be true to yourself. This is your gift.