The Great American Novel

Line art representation of a Quill
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Any writer knows it… that moment when inspiration strikes. It’s an idea, a good, no wait… a great idea. The story shimmers, tantalizes and lures. Perhaps the entire plot plays out like a movie, or maybe it’s just a few images of characters, scenes and vague concepts. But it’s there, inside your head and it’s waiting.

Every writer has their own way of getting that idea out of their head and onto paper (or in today’s world, into little black letters on a white screen). Want an exercise in frustration and an almost guaranteed way to kill any creative urge? Google “how to write a novel”. On the internet, conflicting advice rains down from everywhere. The advisors include everything from award-winning authors to amateur bloggers who can’t string two sentences together if you hand them a gift-wrapped conjunction and a sentence diagram to go with it.

For many, lurking somewhere in the digital version of a bottom drawer is the Great Unfinished Work. Once, the story had life; it shimmered in its writer’s mind like a hidden jewel. Now it sits gathering dust, forgotten. Occasionally, the writer sees a reminder of the story that once was and feels a pang of guilt.

I have two of those little guilt mongers right now. Stories that once danced brilliantly in my mind, laid aside because life got in the way. The paying job got in the way. The needs of the household got in the way. The grocery shopping. The banking. The doctor visits. The dinner guests. The dishes. The need for sleep. The “I spent all day writing, or editing other people’s writing, I need a mental break”. They all got in the way.

And they are all poor excuses. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.