Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I could say it's been the best of times and the worst of times, but the start of a new novel is so much of both that it can be hard to tell which end is up. I guess that's part of the romance of writing, those first-date days when you're not sure what each moment will bring.

The new novel I'm writing is partly the offspring of a recent writer's conference — this one was good— and partly the result of a casting off of the old journalism garb. As Hemingway once mentioned, in paraphrase, journalism is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there, at least not if you're planning to write fiction that goes beyond boundaries to capture the reader's imagination.

Trading the "just the facts" approach for the "writing without borders" method is a little like walking onto a stage the first time or anytime; there's a sense of endless possibilities — that great thrill of being out there and engaging the audience, then suddenly becoming aware that you don't quite belong to yourself anymore, and neither does your work. I'm not sure why there's more of this feeling with fiction, but it's there, and not for the fainthearted. Then again, neither is anything these days.

Happy writing!

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