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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Training For A Debut Novel

Murakami likens novel-writing to long-distance running. But I've tried long-distance running and my mind and body rejected the activity. I experienced no physical injury or intense strain but I grew increasingly intolerant of the tedium.

 Perhaps in bouts this very tedium is reassuring but it is not really applicable to compare all instances of writing to long-distance running.
To me, short stories are like choreographed dance or gymnastics routines: 90% preparation and 10% execution. Poetry is akin to fire-eating- pulling the flames out in dazzling displays and playwriting is coaching a team of players into a cohesive whole.

I am three-quarters of a way through two novels now. It has been like fencing for a long series of  bouts- just me on the piste and up against opponents I cannot make out. In the beginning I had to sit on the sides a lot and just train until I could step back in again. Now I am a pro but I am still learning.


Francine said...


Welcome to the blog hop!

There are more blogfests coming up!


SH said...

I tried running too, and wow, after I used those new running shoes a few times, I never ran again. It took so long just to be able to run a hundred or so metres without stopping. Now my excuse is getting a treadmill.

It does take a long time to learn how to write. A lot of preparation.

I have to read a few more short stories to even attempt to write one. I'm guessing they go straight to the point, and have an unfinished ending (as I saw with Banana Yoshimoto's novellas).

Jennifer Lane said...

Good luck with your fencing bouts! Perhaps instead of looking at writing (or your characters) as the opponents, they might be more like bout "partners"? I think that would be quite difficult to be writing two novels at once, with both of them 3/4 done. Perhaps you might benefit from focusing on one of them, utilizing all of your training to hone in on these last few bouts? Remember to stay low, lunge zestfully, and keep dancing on your feet. ;)

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