Dec 30, 2011

The First Failure

Once Humanism for Parents was published and I had done enough research on the novel to begin, I hit a wall. The problem was that I had no confidence in my own ability to write fiction. It just isn't the same as non-fiction. I'm a terse, to-the-point kind of writer and making shit up isn't really my way. On the other hand, the plot had developed quite a bit and I thought I had a great story on hand. It had completely changed from the time I started to the point where the original idea for the book had turned into a small amount of backdrop.

As I started talking to people about the story and the book I ended up finding a couple who aspired to be fiction writers, but they lacked that great story that would inspire them. We agreed to form a team where I would provide the plot, the research, and the back-story, and they would do the actual writing. It was perfect.

In order to share information anytime, anywhere, I added a wiki to my spiritualhumanism site (password protected :) and gave them access. Then I documented the past life and a profile for each of the main characters and started outlining chapter details. I also had to detail a timeline. Getting a feasible timeline for a historical novel seemed important and it was no small feat given the period of 30AD to 70AD. I broke each chapter into a summary, a general plot, and key points to get across. I left all the details to the couple, as I didn't want to stifle their creativity.

We had meetings after work (one of them worked with me) every couple of weeks for a while. They kept challenging me on the plot and on the motivation of the protagonist. This period was exciting as we were making progress and the novel, even though nothing had been written yet, was improving with each challenge and response.

After a few months of this, they finally had the first chapter for me to review. We sat down over drinks and they handed me the chapter. My adrenalin shot up at the mere thought of having the first chapter of this book in my hands. Feeling the paper somehow made it real. It had already been over two years since I had started and I knew it could be a real winner. I started to open it and one of them stopped me and said, “Before you start, we have to tell you that we aren’t going to continue.” I sat there with my eyes jumping back and forth between them wondering if they were kidding or not. Their eyes said “not.”

They explained that as interesting as the story was, they just weren’t into it and the chapter had proven very difficult to write because of that. Since they didn’t feel the excitement that I did, they felt they had to stop now rather than later. I didn't even bother to open the chapter.

What now?

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