Writing a novel is a huge undertaking and tends to take over your life. The process can have you awake and writing at 3 am, neglecting things like food and housework, and in a state of angst as you struggle with difficult scenes or the things that just aren’t falling into place. Once finished, people tell you what they think of it in a public forum, sometimes with brutal honesty, and for most authors, it provides little financial return for the time it takes to write it. You may wonder why anyone bothers.
Inspiration is the culprit. It drives artists, even without their invitation.
After completing my Diamond Peak Series, I could have written more books. I had ideas that would have made quite decent novels, but after six years of full time studying and practicing writing, I needed more balance in my life. I didn’t, and still don’t, want a book to take over my life like those four wonderful books did.
It was a heady time, and the result of that labour is something quite extraordinary—though people without a background in Vajrayana Buddhism are unlikely to fully recognise just how extraordinary it is. Add to that the fact that, despite me managing to do reasonably well in sales and income in comparison to many authors, both traditionally and self-published, the income per hour as it stands at the moment would probably work out to be equivalent to a factory worker in a third world country. On one level, that’s okay, because I never wrote it for praise or for money, but on another level, it’s ridiculous because I do need to put food on the table, and it is certainly a sobering thought when considering writing another. There is the potential for that to increase a great deal over the rest of my lifetime, of course, and I suspect that, like all of my artistic endeavours to date, the Diamond Peak Series is way ahead of its time, but that’s how it stands at the moment.
So I’m not writing another a novel.
I am writing a not-novel though. I didn’t mean to. It just happened.
Prunella Smith, author: Worlds Within Worlds (or something like that) is not a novel in the usual sense, and I am not writing it as I would a novel. It is, however, shaping itself into something that is looking like it could well be worth publishing. It will probably be too weird and possibly too confusing for many to become popular—due to the many strands which can’t be dispensed with because they are integral to the concept—but it’s such a wonderful idea that it will at least be noteworthy, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of authors will enjoy it.
Every Wednesday, I publish on this blog any scene that popped into my mind during the week with enough inspiration for me to write it down. I am not plotting anything, but a kind of parallel structure is emerging, and though not a plot in the usual sense, I have a sense of where the writing might go. I can’t say what its final form will be except that it will be in chunks of less than 800 words. That’s because each scene is blog post length.
The process is high in inspiration and low in angst due primarily to the fact that I am not writing a novel—or even a novella or short story. I have no expectations, no agenda and no time frame. And the writing has no category and therefore no requirements to meet. It doesn’t even matter if it never turns into anything with enough shape to publish. I am simply writing, and the writing is taking me on a journey, an exploration of the worlds within the worlds of a writer.
I don’t know what the end result will be and that’s a large part of its beauty.
Have you had a look at any of the Worlds Within Worlds posts? What do you think of the idea?