My novel, my rules…

Today’s title is from Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month.  I picked it up from his poster shop, after reading his latest pep talk from NaNoWriMo.  I have to confess that I skip most of the NaNo pep talks, but Chris cranks the enthusiasm to heights that just ache for the writing to begin.  Camp NaNo starts next month, and I’ve chosen my idea, not the one I described last week, although this title certainly boosts my excitement to write a crime thriller without the forensic minutiae.  The story I’m going to tell comes back to 2013 being a year of courage, in a different way.

But the same sentiment applies; my novel, my rules.  No matter the genre, the theme, the plot; these books belongs to me, in that no one can tell me what to write, or how to go about it.  Freedom teems in those words, and it can be taken in a few contexts; in some nations, publishing a novel about gender dysphoria isn’t even a possibility.  Yet, a writer can put onto actual paper or a virtual sheet just what they want, if they have the courage to move those thoughts from the brain to the hand.  The cantankerous part of me sometimes rolls my eyes at all the lousy news; I’m still looking at the BBC every day, and after today, I’m thinking maybe I’ll make it every other day.  Yet, just this morning, I was inexplicably humming “Mrs. Robinson” while making my husband’s PBJs, and an idea came forth that had nothing to do with bad news.  It was about baseball, and courage, and I think I’m going to write it, when I get a moment, for a co-op of which I’m a part, under the theme of loneliness.

But as usual, I’m digressing.  What about that title, huh?

Well, as a writer, I conjure all sorts of plots, and the ways to write them.  The WIP is mostly a linear novel, but a middle chapter is split in three; starting the story, anchoring the center, then concluding right before the last chapter.  Songs have to start at the beginning, but books aren’t tied to such rules.  Books can be whatever we want them to be.

Short, long, medium-length.  Dialogue-heavy or paragraph after paragraph of prose.  They can traverse galaxies, or stay in one small room.  They can cover eons, or a day.  They can focus on one or two characters, or a sprawling cast that needs a family tree to keep them all sorted.  They can…  On and on are the manners and methods a novel can incorporate.  All it takes is imagination, and courage.

I am blessed to not only write what I wish, but to publish it.  But it boils down to what Chris notes, obliterating the mosquitoes.  Rid all the pesky annoyances, then let the fictional truth fly.  Writing occurs because someone needs to tell a story, truth and varying degrees of falsehoods well mixed.  Rules speak of a modicum of honesty, tenets to follow.  Novels are made up, but under all that pretend hooey lies the biggest reality; someone’s heart.  My soul dwells in even the most fanciful plots, and at times I don’t see it until much later.

But it’s there, begging to be told, in my way.  My novel, my rules.  What truths are you waiting to unveil?

8 thoughts on “My novel, my rules…

  1. Jill Weatherholt

    Interesting….so the Camp is in April and July? I’ll have to check out the site. Thanks for the heads up.

    Oh yes, I watched The Graduate on TCM, last Thursday I think. I just love it! Every time I watch it, I’m surprised there was never a sequel. I think I’ll listen to the soundtrack tonight. 🙂

  2. Melissa Marsh

    Ooh. I get caught up in the rules all too often and think, “Nah, that would never happen.” Sometimes I really DO need to break the rules! And I love that poster. 🙂

  3. Jill Weatherholt

    I’ve never participated in Camp NaNo, Anna. How is it different from NaNo?
    Funny you mentioned, Mrs. Robinson, I just watched the Graduate for the 100th time last week. I love the soundtrack. 🙂

    1. Anna Scott Graham Post author

      Well, Camp is fairly new, just since 2011, I think; before it was strictly novels, 50K or bust. But since Script Frenzy has been retired, this year, or at least for April, it’s a flexible word count and scripts are welcome. Otherwise it’s the usual 30 days of writing, with another round of Camp coming in July.

      Did you watch The Graduate on TCM last week? We did. 🙂 Such a great film, oh my goodness. I know that’s why it was in my head, although right at that PBJ moment is still a curiosity; perhaps just to conjure Joe DiMaggio and a new short story plot.


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