The Daunting Thrill of Trying Something New

The Third Werewolf novel, which I’m slowly picking up after my NaNo aventure of 2019, marks a curious, intermediate period between my preferred old noveling technique—linear writing—and my beloved new approach of writing all the scenes, all of the time.

As of 2020, I have a hunch I’ll be writing fiction mostly out of cronological order. You know, non-linearily.* The last time I tried something like that on this big a scale—if you don’t count the NaNo 2019 novel—it was 2005 and I was writing by hand. (Fun times.) Which brings me to the wonderful bundle of mixed feelings I have regarding the future of my writing.

Just because it worked (awesomely) once doesn’t mean shit…

Because no battle plan survives first enemy contact, right? It might be plain ol’ writer’s doubt, but it might be regular human self doubt, too. The more I write, the more I believe writing novels is, actually, possible. The real issue is the times inbetween. What if it was a one hit wonder? What if it worked because of the general thrill of NaNo? What if I’m destroying my future stories by rushing with a new approach? What if the world ends tomorrow and we’re all just sheep dreaming of writing?

Everybody I hang with does it differently…

Which makes it harder to whine about it to my writing colleagues. (Which is why I’m whining about it to you, ha!) It also makes me feel… weird. As a person with a long, beloved history of going against the grain, you’d think I’d already gotten used to it by now, but you’d be severly mistaken.

I’ve failed while using the new technique before…

And I truly believe this time will be better—since I have a positive experience with the new technique, too, and a recent one to boot! The only problem is that the new technique requires a little more work and a lot more concentration than I’m able to afford, emotionally, most of the year. It could make or break the process for me as a whole—but I’m nothing if not an optimist.

The technique hasn’t been tested yet on novels with writing breaks…

And I sure hope it’ll work, because the break right in the middle of the Third WN was four whole months long, and I couldn’t force myself to read the novel all the way through from the start, since we’re not even close to the editing phase yet. Luckily, I’ve managed to pick up most of the plot threads—why the hell did there have to be so many?—and the first revision will, hopefully, take care of those I missed. (The problem is, as a matter of fact, that the break between writing and editing/redrafting of my first published novel ever was almost five years. It’s completely normal, then, that the process was a bit more painful than I would’ve imagined.)

I’ve been writing in this previous way for over two decades…

…wait a minute, what am I, eighty?

Long story short, I just need make sure to give myself time, see if this is something I want to continue doing, and adjust the technique if it doesn’t work as well as I hope it will—or if, at any point it stops working.

Because in writing, as in life, nothing is set in stone. Which does—indeed—make it altogether more exciting, doesn’t it?

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*Not sure that’s a word.

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Photo by Jordan Opel on Unsplash.