Wednesday, May 4, 2016
IWSG - A Novel by Any Othe Name
On the first Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group encourages writers to talk about their insecurities. So here we go.
As I near the end of my sci-fi novel's first draft (on the fourth quarter now), which I started in December, I'm starting to wonder if it's any good.
I feel weird even calling it a "novel," even though it's a novel by all definitions. It's a work of fiction, expected to be around 80k words, and has a plot from beginning to end.
But it's science fiction.
Now, I am not knocking the genre. If a movie or book doesn't have a robot, time travel, or a spaceship in it, I'm probably not going to watch it and I almost definitely won't enjoy it (with a few very rare exceptions; I was surprised to actually enjoy The Hurt Locker despite still thinking it would have been better if it was set in space).
But there's a certain gravitas (at least to me, though it's probably all in my head) to saying "I'm writing a novel." I feel like when people ask "what's it about?" they expect something big, an important book that will change the world or shine a light on some issue. "I'm writing about the injustices of a disabled woman trying to make a life for herself without relying on the government" or "It's a story of love and prejudice set against the backdrop of the African slave trade." You know, a novel.
Maybe I'm imagining it, but unless they're a major nerd like me, I think they're always a little disappointed when I say, "The freaks in an intergalactic carnival get superpowers and have to save the universe." You know, a book. A really long story divided into chapters.
If my book were made into a movie, it would be the kind to have colorful merchandise and geeks dressing up as the characters for the premier. Not critical acclaim and awards. And that's the way I want it. I would be lined up for days, dressed as Lily the owl woman and carrying Lego replicas of their spaceships.
I love my book. I don't care much what other people say. But it doesn't feel like a novel.