Writing a Novel: My Initial Experience with Serious Writing

Cambodia Death Fields

Like most people, I have always dreamed of writing and publishing my great novel. I imagined the fame and glory of winning critical acclaim for my unique world views and brilliant prose. I pretended that one day my writing would be recognized as a treasure to be appreciated by my countless fans on dark, winter nights. I imagined, but I never really found the catalyzing spark to write more than unrelated paragraphs and hackneyed plot structures.

However, the world has changed. I have changed. Suddenly, I have the wherewithal to work steadily on a project from start to finish, and it is now my intent to follow through on my dream of writing a full novel within a year’s time. Having written well over 360 blog entries in the past three years, my writing style has markedly improved and the ease with which I write is palpable for me. I want to write. One thing that sparked this desire on is that I have had strangers mention how well I technically write compared to other people; a rare compliment in a self-focused world. True or simple flattery, the nice words were enough to get me on the computer and writing out the words that filled my mind.

I will be the first to admit that I have no desire to write to win an award or to even publish a traditional novel. This novel will never be nominated for the Giller Prize, nor will I make it onto any CBC list of summer reads. This is a novel of magical realism in the genre of Haruki Murakami or Anne Rice. It is a novel that begins with fractured past narratives but builds towards a coherent present moment traditional structure. There will be violence, there will be sexuality, there will be witty reflections on the real world, there will be exotic locations for the protagonists, Roberto Valencia and Samara Florentine, to be set against as they flee from a thing only known as “he” at this point. My novel will reflect my mind, and perhaps serve as a way to siphon off the overflowing images that flood it daily. I have not prepared a plot line or character sketches, but am really enjoying letting the characters and their world come alive as I write.

I recently purchased Scrivener, a creative writing software, to enhance my interaction with the words that I write. I enjoy using this software. It makes it more enticing to write than Word does; I am not writing a business letter, but attempting to write a full blown novel, and the format views are highly useful and encouraging to see. Once I get further into the book, I will learn how to best use Scrivener‘s many features. For today, I am just writing and using it to format a PDF for reading purposes.

I decided this morning, after writing for an hour, that I would post the first 23 pages as a PDF for one week. I will only do this once, as I am not seeking an ego stroking or to build a weekly readership, then I will not post any more excerpts until the entire novel is complete in one year’s time. Still, I would value any commentary from anyone who has the time to take a quick read at this stage. The file can be read via the following link:

The Dehumanization of Roberto Valencia

[This link has now been removed one week later; many thanks to those who took the time to read the work]


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