25 October 2006

novel aspirations

a week from today i start my novel. for those of you who don't know, i'm participating in national novel writing month, starting november 1. the idea is to write a novel in one month, focusing on the finish line and not worrying about details and edits. a friend in sf who did it years ago inspired me, saying that it is more an exercise in creative confidence than anything else. not that i expect to publish this speedy work of fiction, but i do hope that the effort of writing it, will jumpstart other projects, give me confidence in what is possible.

so i've been thinking about this for months and have a basic idea mapped out, but i still feel a little unprepared. some concerns:
  • i've never written any fiction. i don't even think i've written a short story
  • i don't even read fiction these days. for the past 4 years i've read only the occaisonal novel
  • yesterday i tried to read milan kundera's essay "what is a novelist?" in the new yorker and i got through about two paragraphs before i was bored stiff, more interested in the following piece on a real-life michael scofield. is that a bad sign? has anyone actually read the article, can you summarize it for me?
the novel project is the reason i started this blog, i wanted to get into the habit of writing on a daily basis. it has been great, but i'm definitely not up to speed. luckily for me, november 1 is a holiday in spain so i'll have the whole day to stare at the screen and start writing. blog posts may taper off a bit, sorry.

today's question: what is the best novel you've read? and what made it so good?


Gabriel Levy said...

you could write a novel that is partly fictional and partly memoire - that might make it easier.

Emily said...

Count of Monte Cristo is in my top 5, I'd say. Moreso than the drama, the delays, the intransigence of character and circumstance, the feeling of the insurmountable march of time, it was the utter inevitability of the resolution, that i loved. When a novel reaches the only possible conclusion it could've reached without succumbing to sentimentality and wishful thinking, I love it like no others. Hard-Boiled Wonderland was also like that for me, as well a Lolita.
Good luck girl! have fun!

Mr. Michael said...

I agree with Gabe - as they always say, write what you know. Show don't tell. The main character could be a thinly-veiled Jacki who experiences things you have as well as the things you wish to experience, etc. What the hell do I know? Good luck!

I also loved TCOMC, but would have to put "The Poisonwood Bible" and "Confederacy of Dunces" at the top of my list.