Novel Journey 1: Defining ‘First’

Well, the people have spoken and ‘the writing process of my first novel’ won. Now, I feel at this stage I really should point out that I have not finished writing my first novel. (Perhaps I should have mentioned that earlier.) I’m not even close. In fact, I’m only just starting out, in a way. So this could quickly transform into something akin to liveblogging. But we’ll see how we go (and if at any point you’ve had enough, please just say.)

So. The novel.

I call it my first novel because I think of it as the first novel I will finish. I have started others. In fact, between the ages of 10 and 14 I began many novels. I just never got very far. I’ve also attempted NaNoWriMo a few times before, but again, never got very far. But if I haven’t finished this one yet, how do I know I will? Why is it I’m calling this attempt ‘my first novel’ when I never even considered labelling the others in this way? What makes this one special?

The honest answer is: I don’t know. It just is. It’s special.

It’s a bit like marriage, I suppose. Now I don’t believe in marriage, I think it’s a terrible idea. After all, how do you know that that one person is so special? What makes them different to all the others?

Can anyone answer that question?

The difference is, of course, that I won’t be living with my novel for the rest of my life. Well, I will, but there’ll be other novels. It’s more like having a baby – it’s creating. Giving life.

When I first had the idea, I did not know that it would become ‘my first novel’. I hoped it would, although I also had another idea for a novel knocking about at around the same time. In fact, if I ever get around to writing that, I think it’s more likely to become my first published novel. Sometimes I think what I’m referring to as ‘my first novel’ will, in fact, be one I won’t publish until much later in my career. Perhaps even towards the end. It’s not really the kind of thing you can debut with, to be honest. In saying that, you never know what’s going to happen. Maybe I will debut with it. Maybe I’ll never publish it at all. Who knows?

Either way, I’m writing it first, so that’s how I’ll think of it – as my first.

Sure, I’ve played around with other novels before, but this is serious. This time I’m committed.

This one’s special – and her name is Sylvia.

Next week: The Idea

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3 thoughts on “Novel Journey 1: Defining ‘First’

  1. I believe in marriage. I’ve seen it often enough to be pretty sure it’s there.

    How do you know this one person is special? In the same way you don’t know your kid won’t grow up to be a murderer, or that this job will last, or that this book will be worth reading for a thousand pages, you essentially don’t. Though unlike those three cases, you get to spend as much time with the person as you please to figure it out. Many failed marriages are failures of research.

    As far as it being your first novel because it’s the one you’ll finish, I think that’s fair. Good luck with Sylvia!

    • Thanks for the comment and I agree with what you’re saying. Really I shouldn’t have just dropped ‘I don’t believe in marriage’ in there when I had no intention of explaining my argument. It’s not so much that you can’t know they’re special, it’s more about constricting yourself in that manner. After all, marriage was invented as a business arrangement, in which the woman was the commodity. Of course it’s not like that now, in most societies, but I do think that it wouldn’t have been created in the form that it now takes.

      Thanks for the luck. I have a feeling I’ll need it.

  2. Hi. I enjoyed reading your blog. I too am working on my first novel. My goal is to complete the exercise and stop making excuses. My goal is to write something every day, even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes.

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