I finished the first draft of my first novel yesterday.
I started writing in late April. I started the book with only the vaguest idea of what I wanted to accomplish; I had no plan, no plot outline, and general concepts for only two of my characters. Unsure of where this impulse came from or where it would end up leading me, I didn't tell anyone what I had done until the first chapter was finished. In fact, until just yesterday, I didn't mention the novel to anyone but my family. I wanted to finish it first. It seems like more of a part of my life now that it's "done"-- although, of course, it's just a first draft, so it's really not done at all. I think it's reasonable to come out with my ambitions now that I've reached that first benchmark.
It's been a while since I've written any fiction. I tried to write some short fiction while I was still in college, during my final senior semester, and later made an abortive attempt at a novel set in the same world. The science-fantasy setting these stories took place in focused on the relationship between the inhabitants of two different planets and was supposed to be a commentary on European imperialism. It was my attempt at being intellectual and the result wasn't terribly compelling, even to me. I've had ideas for other stories but never the drive to actually write them down.
Prior to now I've always found that I've been more interested in my ideas for stories than the stories themselves. This time was quite different. I allowed the characters and the story to develop on their own and just tried to channel them onto the page without trying to force them in any particular direction. I tried my best never to think about whether or not what I was writing was any good or whether it was worthy of being written. I know from my other creative endeavors that you need to make your judgemental surface thoughts shut up in order to make work happen. If I hadn't spent the last few years cultivating this ability in my dance career, I never would have been able to write any of this at all, not even the first sentence. My first thought every time I sat down at the computer to keep going was "what am I doing? I'm not a writer." Thankfully, I know my surface thoughts are universally evil and idiotic, and I know quite well not to listen to myself think them.
Much of what I have written so far may be stilted and bad, but I think it's a starting point for something better. I'm hoping with a lot of hard work I can make this pile of words into something that someone might someday want to put in print.
I hope to chronicle this epic journey through this blog.