Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Can I Write a Novel?

Several months ago a strange idea popped into my head - I decided that I want to write a novel. I tried to push that idea away - after all I have always been bad at writing. I am a math person - I enjoy logical subjects, where the problem has one and only one solution. No other roots to take, no alternative ways to measure. Simple. Black and white. Writing, on the other hand, is much more different. There is no right or wrong answer. You can write the most amazing story and still some people will love it, while others will hate it.

I follow the maxima The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it in almost everything I do. From that boy I liked over at the disco, through that dress I want so much but I can't afford right now, and finally to the novel I want to write. I resisted the temptation mainly due to the response I met from people around me. Most of them, to be honest, decided this was one of my crazy ideas, which will keep me excited for a few months and then will fade away. Like the time I decided I wanted a dog. Or when I said I was only going to work and study this summer. Or when I was almost ready to give up university and come back home.

However, this time it is different. Writing my own blog devoted to reading has been one of my biggest pleasures lately. I even started opening Read with Style even before Facebook (imagine that). I got excited when someone has been reading or commenting on my posts. So, this time my temptation is for real. And I am going to yield to it.

After all, let's take for example Paolo Giordano. A brilliant physicist, doing a PhD on elementary particles. Nothing to do with literature whatsoever. Still, his novel The Solitude of Prime Numbers (check my review) is indeed very good and inspirational. And what about Jordan Belfort. A Wall Street genius, a fraud, or a junkie, he wrote his autobiographie. Both The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street (again reviewed in my blog) became a huge success and even inspired Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio to film it. So, I figured, if a physicist and a financier can write a novel, so can a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious, and cutely weird girl.

I am realistic and I know that it will take me a while to write the novel. But unlike all other aspects of my life, towards which I am highly impatient, surprisingly I do not rush the novel. I write when I want to write and when I feel I want to say something. I do not have a time frame or a dedicated slot of the day when I have to write. Maybe that is how I differ from a real writer, who spends every day pouring his thoughts on a sheet of a paper.

To prepare myself for this task I even started reading some insights on how to become a good writer. I discussed the novel-to-be with a friend of mine, who studies Creative Writing. She gave me one of the best advice - do not try to tell everything you want to. It is simply impossible. Instead choose a topic and stick to it.

Understandingly, we come to the topic. It is still a secret and only a few people know what it is going to be about. I prefer it that way until I have a clear image of what and how I want to write. I just know what my first sentence is going to be. Quite a beginning but I am optimistic. Of course, I do not intend to be the next Carry Bradshaw or some bullshit of that sort. I just want to share some thoughts with the rest of the world. And if I am very lucky, at least one person will take the moral and benefit from my experience. And isn't that why every writer writes? At least, this is a big part of my motivation.


  1. As I understand it with a lot of the so called big named writers, their first few books tended to be atrocious and a complete flop (like the English football team at a world cup) but they persist, it’s a process of trial and error until they figure out the style that suits their capabilities and matrix of their imagination. It’s not a knock out completion, so don’t worry about the ticking clock or penalties. The beauty of the written word is that it can change how you see things without altering a single thing in the physical world, so choose your words wisely. Also Your friend is right, just give birth to one simple idea, let it grow legs and run around your imaginations landscape, peep through that window and see what it throws back at you. Soon enough one may even hit on the winning formula and shit out a best selling novel every other week, like Barbara Cartland use to do. If all else fails lol “infinite monkey theorem” you might want to wikipedia that one if you haven't heard the expression before. Keep up the good work :)

    PS I see you're quoting oscare wilde with the yielding to temptation and he would have said the same about the boy at the disco lol. He was quite funny for a gay!. My temption demon bleats at me into saying inappropriate things which gets me into big trouble :( and to throw rocks at windows:).

  2. I would have to disagree with you. I believe that most of the times the first novel is probably the best one because the author's ideas are still fresh and untouched. He doesn't have any fame to defend or to worry whether his novel is better or worse than the previous one. Critics cannot compare to anything he has written before and claim he has lost his talent. Hence, the pressure is off and the writer is free to express his ideas without fear of rejection. Well, at least that is my opinion :)

    On the subject of my novel, thank you very much for the support. I need it indeed to feel a little bit more confident in my abilities. By the way I also say inappropriate things and sometimes leave the wrong impression in people. Thankfully, this is until they get to know me and realize I am actually quite a nice person.

    Hahaha, you are the rocks person then. Nice.