Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On ugly duckling new novels and the advent of the FNC.

Welcome to December, AKA DonnaMakesSeriousProgressOnHerNovelMo!

It's so intimidating to start a new novel. And exciting. And awkward. I've even compared it to a blind date. I remember wondering how our blog title, First Novels Club, would hold up after we've finished our first novels, and the answer I came up with was, "Well, every novel's a first novel."

Oh, how right I was.

But 99% of relationships in life that are truly amazing begin with long, uncomfortable pauses: True love. Best friends. And novels.

I have to believe that all 5,000 words of this new novel (it has a name, but I'm holding it close for the time being) will develop into something amazing. And I doubt, all the time. I convince myself that no way am I a strong enough writer to tell this story properly. I should give up. It's too hard.

And then I found something buried in my email archives that makes me believe that this gawky, blundering draft will become graceful and compelling: the very first emails between me and the other FNC ladies. From way back in December 2007, when our fiction class (in which we met) was ending.

The thread made me smile ... how green we were, how hesitantly happy. Primarily, we were exchanging contact information, discussing possible meeting times after finals, the usual. But I noticed one common element that I copied from the emails:

Me: I'm really happy about this group thing... makes me feel like a "real writer" haha.

Janine: I'm looking forward to this too!

Sara: This is way exciting--it'll be nice to keep getting feedback after the semester's over!

Frankie: I'm really excited to get together with everyone.

We were all excited. And that's all it took to get over the fact that we were practically strangers and had NO idea what we were doing. We would figure it out. And we did. There was no way we could've predicted everything that would happen in the next three years. No way to know we'd become best friends.

I'm superbly excited about this new novel, and those emails make me believe that it'll be enough to get me through the awkward beginnings to something I'll be proud of. I hope it gives you hope too!

How's your new (or NaNo) novel doing? What's your fave method of powering through the awkward phase? I prefer wine and my Steven Halpern channel on Pandora to get in the zone.


  1. Aw this was the cutest post ever! I remember those early emails and the threads would get to be like 100 emails long! EEEH! And I'm still excited everytime we get together. XOXOX Love you!

  2. DonnaMakesSeriousProgressOnHerNovelMo!

    Too funny.

    So glad the four of you found each other and started blogging. Great post, Donna!

  3. Thank you for this post, I found it so encouraging. Starting out in this field can be so overwhelming. I have often doubted my work and thought I must be crazy for pursuing my dreams. I think it's wonderful how you have each other for support. I wish you all the best!

  4. Frankie - XOXOXOXO right back!

    Joanne - I replied via email!

    Jaybird - So glad you found this helpful! I hope you find a crit group as amazing as the FNC -- I wouldn't be writing if not for them! Good luck, and keep writing!


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