Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I posted that piece of mine, “6 stillborn novels,” over at The Housewife the other day, in which I collected the opening paragraphs of six books I’ll never be able to complete. It got me to thinking. Why do some books gel while others cause no end of problems?
The funny thing is, as a writer you really believe in all of them at the outset. You’re throwing yourself into the project, not knowing up front whether it will be a book that gels or a book that languishes. You honest-to-God believe that you’re going to do this, and it’s going to be great. You’ve written notes, and the more notes you write the more enthusiastic you are. You’ve got your characters, you’ve got at least the brushstrokes of a plot, you’re flooded with ideas – you’ve got more than enough motivation.
Then, one day, usually with no warning whatsoever, the thing collapses before your eyes like a cathedral made of ice on the 4th of July.
Each of my six tales has its own downfall story. It’s like what Tolstoy said about families. Every unhappy one is unhappy in its own way.
Sometimes you get really deep into the book when suddenly its internal logic dissolves. Sometimes it finally hits you that you don’t get your protagonist like you thought you did. Sometimes it’s that the plotting is too mechanical and you can’t get the magic to happen no matter what you try. Sometimes you’ve picked the wrong point of view, sometimes the wrong era. And sometimes, in retrospect, you just realize the whole thing wasn’t a very good idea in the first place.
But if you hang on to everything like I do, you might just have enough to put together a little eulogy to your lost ones.
What about you? You have some literary orphans out there that never grew up?
[Image via Pixabay.]