Jul 12, 2008

Writing a novel

I am about halfway through the 12th draft — or thereabouts — of writing a novel. Whoever knew that writing fiction was such a long-distance slog? I thought that creative writing had to be about the lightning strike of inspiration, with much clutching of the forehead, pacing and gnashing of teeth. Instead it has turned out to be exactly like mowing the lawn: you go up one side, pivot, and come back the way you came. Then you repeat the exercise. Actually the thing it's most like is one of those electrons (?) that shoot across your TV screen, first one row, then the next, putting in a blob of light here, a blob of light there, until a picture begins to emerge. Except slower. And with occasional breaks to stand back from the screen and squint at the snow, to see if there's anything there. In this metaphor, note, the electron inside the TV is also watching the TV, which suggests that I should steer clear of ever writing poetry, or fixing televisions.

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