Monday, February 28, 2011

Initial Post

Every blog has one...the first post. Many blogs only have that one...fortunately in some cases, and unfortunately in others. But this one will be different. Really, it will!

*ahem* OK, so...we'll see.

Anyway, I'm Stephen King. Really, that's my name. No, no, really. And I write, though I'm a rank amateur. I'm probably as good at writing as the Stephen King who lives in Maine and writes for a living would be at running a college. Take that for what it's worth, I guess.

Most of what I write is curriculum and accreditation documentation...boring stuff by any measure. My inner muse, though, has been after me for some time. Several years ago I tried my hand at NaNoWriMo, and failed. For those who aren't familiar with it, the definition of success at NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month, for long--is, as you might imagine, completion of a novel. In order for it to be considered a novel, they set two quasi-random parameters. One is that it must say "The End" or some such at the end, and the other is that it must contain at least 50K words. Most published novels are far, far longer than that; Twilight was between two and three times that per book. Still, they needed a measure, and 50K was it. So, whatever.

I think I started right. I acquired some nifty pens and paper, and a copy of Stephen King's On Writing (an awesome book, IMHO), and the Writer's Guide, and a writers' plotbook sketchbook of some sort. When November 1st hit, I went out like gangbusters. I got to about 20K words in just a week and a half, and then I quit. It wasn't that I didn't like writing, it was that I realized the story, crap, to put it nicely. It was a space novel that as I got deeper into it was reading more and more like another Ender's Game. I liked Ender's Game, really I did, but the world only needs one copy of it. On top of that, I'm not as good as Orson Scott Card, so it seemed like I was creating the writing equivalent of a Budweiser attempt at cloning Chimay, if you know what that means. And if you don't, well, no biggie.

For a couple of years since, then, it's been just like the second time I attempted to quit smoking. I really wanted to, and I knew I needed to, but frankly I was scared because I already knew how much it hurt. That, and I had already failed at it once. But I had a story of my own, not like anything I'd ever read, and it was very well developed, and it needed to be voiced. Still, I wanted to do it but I didn't want to do it.

I used the Ph.D. program I'm in as an excuse for a long time. Then I kind of ran out of money and put it on hold, thinking to myself that this was an excellent opportunity to start on the story. Problem was, I didn't. I even found myself spending entire weekends sitting down at the computer to write on Saturday only to get up Sunday having played computer games.

Simply put, it's hard. It's easier if you know what you're going to write, but even that's not really easy. But I did it...finally...I started it, a couple of weeks ago. No real tricks, honestly; I just got tired of excuses, turned off my World of Warcraft account, and sat down and wrote the first sentence.

At this point, I've done quite a bit. I'm up to nearly 32K words, and still have a lot of the story to get to. But I have started writing this blog now that I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish, so that once I'm done I can look back through what I did and why I did it. It's been intimidating at times, especially when I started this weekend wondering, "So how long is an average REAL novel?" and got intimidated by the size. Fortunately, I have a loving wife who told me to quit looking at the whole project and focus on just telling the story, one word, one paragraph, one chapter at a time, and that got me started on a 12K-word weekend...and gave me the confidence I needed to decide to start this blog.

So, for what it's worth...anybody reading this, I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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