I am committed to my novel project but I have to admit that, being still in the beginning stage, it is coming along very, very slowly.  I mean S  L  O  W  L  Y.  The origin of the project was in early 2012, when I finally decided, after years of toying with the idea of writing a novel, that it was actually something that was within my capability and that I would, by god, do it and write a novel that year!  I made a few notes on characters and plotting and spent time thinking about it.  In fact there was a lot more thinking about it than writing it, although I did make a small start on the first chapter.  Then I moved from Ithaca to Cazenovia in the summer, then I taught two courses as an adjunct in the fall semester.  So it was kind of a crazy year.  But all this time the novel ideas were still fermenting in the back of my mind.

After the end of the semester I got back to it, and soon realized that I needed to have much clearer and more thoroughly thought-out  plans for the plot before I could proceed very far with the text.  I spent several days working on a summary outline of the plot of the entire novel.  Then, it was back to working on the beginning of chapter one!  It’s still something of a frustrating experience though, mainly because of the fundamental challenge, akin to the more familiar challenge of beginning a new poem, of trying to create something from nothing.  There is this kind of existential inertia at the beginning where you are trying to get going and create some momentum, like a plane going down the runway and trying to build up enough speed to take off.  But of course in a story, one has to be careful to develop this momentum early enough in the text that the reader is not bored with it right away.  So, although I do have some beginning text now, I am still trying to get this initial story-momentum going.  Nowadays I think a lot about this general principle of the underlying momentum in stories and how to, as a writer, be acutely aware of it and in control of it.  And I especially think a lot about how stories begin.  There is apparently a special art and craft to this, this business of beginning a story effectively.

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