Finishing writing goals

When I was in second grade, my mother gave me a book called All About Me and consequently, I loved that book (my favorite topic, naturally). It included riveting details such as whether or not I had hazel eyes, how humiliatingly short I was for my age, and how many steps from my house to the nearest dry cleaner. Important, must-know kinds of stuff, obviously.

The end of the book had a section where you could write a story. I launched into that page with a pencil and second grade handwriting. My epic drama was about puppies and kitties, and don’t worry, they all lived happily ever after. Actually, they lived happily all the way through. Plot was not my strong point—zero story arc, no climax or conflict… but they sure cuddled and played alot.

My writing career continued in this vein for years. I wrote in diaries (about boys) and in notebooks (long winded unfinished stories about St. Bernards rescuing skiiers in Switzerland because I grew up next to Malibu beach with smog and surfers). Write what you know!

I sat on the corner of a busy intersection looking at roses in the median divider and realized for the first time in the universe: a rose is a metaphor for beauty and pain – look at those soft petals! Look at those thorns! Oh the depth! Oh the insight! Oh the cliche!

My personal writing has this unfinished, play in the mud quality to it. It’s not interesting to read unless you’re me, and then you love to read it. I like the sound of my own words, the themes and insights (Dali Julie Lama), the way one word can devastate a sentence, bringing the reader (that would be me) cheap thrills.

My “real world” writing (for grades or publishing) does get finished. I can wrestle the beast to the ground when I must. And there is nothing like having other readers besides this audience of one. Still, there lurks inside me a wild writer. I want to send plagues or overheat cars.

So yesterday was a HUGE day for me.

I completed my first novel. It is 51, 172 words and 180 pages long.

I wrote it while I was working on the high school book. Yes, I’m nuts.

It’s a freewheeling, wretched, sparkly piece of work. I won’t even let Jon read it. But after so many years of playing at the edges of writing a full length piece of fiction, and bringing it to completion, it is just fabulous to have done it. I had to share! (Note: I’m 43 years old… if your kids are under 43, you don’t have to make them finish their fiction until then.)

The book responsible for this transformation in me is a part of a national novel writing movement: No Plot? No Problem (Perfect for this puppy and kitty cat writer). The typical month for noveling is November, but that’s a bad month for me. So I picked August.

If you have a novel lurking behind your navel, this book will drag it out of you. Try it, you’ll like it (teens and adults welcome).

The book is written for adults. He uses adult scenarios such as business meetings, after work drinks and so on. I don’t recall any language issues, but just wanted to clarify for moms who want to know what they’re handing their kids. Flip through the pages and check out the website yourself first.

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