Novel Writing and Schizophrenia

In my limited experience, these two things are well-paired.

I hit 60,000 words last night and completed Part Two of what could be a four-part book. I initially thought it would be three parts, but the characters are telling me otherwise. I’ve strayed so far from the outline I wrote four weeks ago that there’s no point in looking at it anymore. The characters are in charge and I’m doing my best to accommodate them. Like everything else I try to control, it has slipped out of my hands.

Last night’s bout of writing is a great example. I was skating along in a chapter, going where I was being led, when the scene suddenly ended. It didn’t end where I originally planned, but the character made it clear that it was time to stop and shift. So I did. (She’s a bit bossy.)

Likewise, my main character surprised me last night with a bold move and I let her roll with it. I couldn’t say no.

In other news, I’m on the verge of completing my last assignment for Literary Theory and I’m thoroughly relieved about it. It was a required class, but it couldn’t have been more out of my realm of interest and ability. You know what’s not well-paired? Novel writing and Literary Theory.

Have you missed the boys? I’ve not forsaken them completely. Here they are, all three of them:

Autumn day at the park

Scholarly Writing Bites the Big One

calvin-and-hobbes-the-purpose-of-writing(Click the cartoon to enlarge it.)

So I’m not enjoying Literary Theory. Not at all. Not even a little. My creative writing class is FANTASTIC AND WONDERFUL, and Literary Theory makes me want to gauge my eyes out with a hot poker. I want to throw Norton’s Anthology of Theory and Criticism in the back yard and let Major have his way with it.

How many times I read and re-read Edmund Burke’s “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful,” I cannot count. You didn’t even read that whole sentence, did you! You glazed over it. I know you did.

The only solace I find in Literary Theory is that we are required to outline our readings instead of summarizing them through long-winded drivel. We have to write application papers, but those are still better than summaries.

This is the last class I’m required to take for graduate school, which means the rest are at my discretion. THANK THE SWEET LORD. I will fill the remaining hours with exciting courses like Short Story, Genre Writing, and Studies in Fiction.

Ah, Fiction. I ♥ you. Let’s be best friends.