NaNoWriMo Day Six

I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that I’m just not a writer of novels.

There is definitive proof that I’m not a writer of novels. On my hard drive, you will find countless half-finished (or half-started) books. I have never completed one. Like ever. The only book I have ever finished was my autobiography and that was easy since I didn’t have to make anything up.

The book that I have started for NaNo is a mess. I’m not just saying that to be self-deprecating. Really, It’s a total mess. There’s no structure. It hops around all over the place. It doesn’t even have a consistent time signature, let along a consistent plot structure. I’ve basically been writing whatever it is that comes into my head, which is a lot of words that don’t really go anywhere.

It could be a good book. It’s got good characters, an interesting world, drama, conflict, humanity, tragedy, unicorns. Alright, it doesn’t actually have unicorns, but it might if I keep writing the way I have been. Hell, my main character, was only added in the third draft. You read that right. I added the protagonist, only the most important person in the entire book, in the third goddamn draft. You don’t want to rush these things.

My horrible novel in picture form. This is now the third time I’ve managed to use this picture on this blog. MUTHAFUGGINWIN.

Sigh. The problem that I, goldfish of faulty memory, have with writing longer works is that I can’t remember what I’ve written. I keep having to refer to what came before. Inevitably, when I do, I find something I want to change. Sometimes, it’s just elaborating on something I wrote. Other times, it’s changing the entire plot.

Imagine that you are a normal person. I know it will be hard, but try. Now, imagine than your brain is crushed by a Tyrannosaurus Rex (or something equally capable of crushing). You survive, but your brain is about as useful for thinking as Swiss cheese. With what’s left of your cheesy brain, attempt to write 50,000 consistent, engaging words that relate to each other in a coherent narrative structure with multiple characters that do and say things the whole time in in a way that slowly builds to a resolution. See what I mean?

T-Rex v. Unicorn. FIGHT!
(Image from

With my memory, it’s almost impossible to write something longer than a few pages. I can’t just write with abandon. When I do, I end up with 5,385 words that have as much relation to each other as Tyrannosaurus Rex and unicorns. They’re both mythical creatures that are no longer extant on earth (maybe).

Perhaps I’m a short story writer and not a novel writer. I’m alright with that. Some great authors have written amazing short stories. I think I can handle the short story. I love the short story. Maybe I should just write a short story anthology instead.

I’m definitely not telling y’all this for encouragement. I know I’m a good writer. I know I can put together sentences with flair, drama, tragedy and unicorns. I know that, if I had all the time in the world, I could probably put together a proper book. It’s just not going to happen if I force it like I have been. It’s just not going to happen in a month.

There are 6 comments

  1. weebee

    the short stories of Carver changed my life. nothing wrong with short stories at all – especially considering the average attention span of readers these days! hail to the short stories!


  2. Melanie

    This is going to sound crazy, but that’s what makes it ok. Have you ever copied someone else’s novel? Ok. Go with me…
    I went to an author event and the answer to the “how do you write a novel” question was basically, start by writing someone else’s; take a short novel and copy it word for word. The theory was that you could prove to yourself that you could type that many words while gaining an understanding of the rhythm, characters, and overall trajectory of a novel length story. The author went on to talk about “the old days” (seriously, seriously old days) when scribes put the authors’ works to paper in order to learn the craft of composition.


    1. goldfish

      Interesting. I bet that would work for some people. My problem is, as always, memory. Even if I were to do that, I probably would just forget what other people wrote instead of my own words. It’s a fascinating concept though. I might try it some day.


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