I’ve mentioned this before. It’s even on my About page. But now that I take the train, I’ve actually had time to sit down and do it.
I wrote the full draft of a novel once before, starting in freshman year of college and finishing in my first year of grad school, I think. It was awful. I mean, it had its moments, but it was sort of young-adult and sort of not. I realized almost immediately after finishing it that I wanted to address themes not really suited to YA, and that I wanted to end it with a greater degree of nuance and ambiguity than one normally finds in YA novels. I didn’t want to be JK Rowling at all anymore. But William Faulkner, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson? Dostoevsky? Yes, those are the names I want to be listed next to.
(I’m not knocking JK Rowling. I love the Harry Potter books and will share them with my children, if I have any. But it’s not what I want to write.)
This post isn’t even going to say much about the novel’s plot or anything. I’m just giving updates. I will say that when I read Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, I immediately thought, “Oh, this person could totally be Ivy/I.V. (my main character)’s cousin. Except said narrator is only very sexually attracted to women instead of vaguely aesthetically, romantically interested in men.” Then I chastised myself for the string of adverbs. It was interesting to me personally because a family friend had recently told me on the phone that I was very good at one-liners, and that’s what one Goodreads reviewer had recently said about the narrator in Written on the Body. Add in the gender ambiguity and a kind of similar voice, and the two characters are somewhat similar if taken out of context. I assure you, however, that Ivy/I.V. will never have to go to the NHS and worry about the word “pervert” showing up in her medical file. And not just because she’s American.
Anyway, expect vague novel-related posts along the way. I’ll probably post playlists (because of course I have a playlist for my novel. Several, actually — one for plot, others for characters). So keep an eye out for those, and feel free to ask questions. Or, post about your own writing projects in the comments — I LOVE hearing about others’ work. I’m also kind of curious what my writing reads like: do I sound like any writers in particular (or a mash-up of other writers)?