Writing for Yourself

I am trying very hard to write this novel for me.

You can easily Google hundreds upon hundreds of quotes about this adage: write for yourself; do not write for your audience. Write because you love the story, and write the story you love, because that is what will give you a truly unique story. That is where you will find true creativity.

Nanowrimo helps with this, in a way. It’s forcing me not to pause and edit – to save that for when the draft is finished. That is stopping me from having a lot of the inner monologue that comes from thinking about how the audience will react rather than writing the story that I, myself, would want to read.

When I finish Nanowrimo, I will be a little under halfway through the word count that I would like to aim for. As ever, I find it hard to properly estimate how long something will be. Sometimes a scene that I think will be just a few pages turns out to be four chapters, as ideas flow in to develop the plan. Sometimes what could have been lengthy is short and sweet. Generally, this evens out. But not always.

So I still have quite a long way to go. A long time to continue answering the question that comes into my head whenever I think about “writing for myself”: what kind of novel do I want to read? To write?

I have read a lot of different things, and continue to. I read and love novels, poetry, non-fiction, fanfiction, all different genres. Certainly there are things that I tend to prefer – fantasy and science fiction, stories with broken characters, stories with romance, stories with some kind of magic.

But how does that translate into what I would want to read? What is my perfect novel?

Well. 500,000 words of Shallan Davar being perfect.

But aside from that.

I don’t know that I could tell you in a few words what I want. I don’t know that I could tell you in a lot of words. I think writing a novel ‘for yourself’ is a process wherein you find out what it is you want to write.

I know that when I have been writing this novel, I have made myself cry. I know that my heart has hurt when I’ve been on some passages and that I have laughed, embarrassingly, at my own jokes in others. I know that it pulls together a lot of things and places and people that I love desperately and completely.

It is an amalgamation of everything that I am and have seen. So maybe, if there’s a definition of what I want to write – of the novel that is me and mine – then that’s it. It is everything I am. Or, at least, that is what I want it to be. That is what I hope that, several months from now when it’s finished, it will be.

And that is what I hope people will love.

That in many ways is more terrifying than releasing Mundane Magic was. I hit a point with Mundane Magic where…I let go of it. I accepted that I was done, and that it wasn’t going to get any better than it was, and that I was happy with what I had achieved.

There are many pieces of me in Mundane Magic, but it wasn’t all of the pieces. That’s the difference. I was showing parts of my mind and heart to the world, but not the entirety of them. That’s what Protos is, or will be.

It’s like tearing my chest open and spilling all of my secrets.

That.

That’s the novel I want to write.

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