As you may or may not be aware, I am an aspiring writer. Fiction writer, that is. I write essays here, but I aspire to write fiction. Last November I got an idea for what I thought would be a short story, but it soon became evident that, because of its scope, it would have to be a novella or a novel. Long story short, I've been kicking this story around, working on it in fits and starts, giving parts of it to my creative writing class and practically becoming sick with nervousness when it was time to workshop it, ever since. Frankly, it's been driving me a little crazy. Finally I said to myself, "Mary, I'm sick of your tortured artist act, and I'm tired of carrying this story around in my head. We are going to sit down and write a little bit of this story every day until the first draft is finished, or until school starts in the fall, whichever comes first. We're not going to worry whether it's good or bad or what other people will think of it, we're just going to get it out of our system before it gets moldy." Okay, that was a fictionalized and over-personified version of what I said to myself, but you get the idea.
I decided this on Saturday night; I took Sunday off because it was a holiday, but last night and tonight I have written on this story. It feels so good to finally just be doing it after all the planning and agonizing.
I don't know if the story will be good, but I do know that the two main characters are the most brilliant, well-developed, interesting, strong, vibrant, human characters I have ever created. I think that even if the premise of the story is flawed, (which I fear it may be), they may have the power to carry the story solely by the quality of their characterization. Every time I write about them I find out something new about them. They both have such different personalities and distinct voices, although I can hear my own voice in each of theirs. They are brilliant. They are the most wonderful things I have ever created. And it's such an amazing experience to bring them from the stasis of my imagination to live on the paper. I write the story with first-person narration, and they take turns narrating it, and it's amazing because whoever's point of view I'm writing from it's as though I am two different people living two different lives at the same time. It's weird and kind of scary sometimes, but it's so cool!
I feel so excited, so liberated. I have more faith in myself, in my ability to do this for a living, although probably not exclusively, at least at first. It's easier to just relax and let the words come, and not worry about whether or not it is good, and not compare myself to the writers I admire. Because even if this story is not good, I know it's not altogether bad. I know I'm doing something right, and even if this story never sees the light of day, I should be able to salvage those characters and use them in another story.
And I wanted to share this feeling with you, my friends, because it's just too good to keep to myself.